One great thing about the tech space is that anyone can enter it from anywhere. Whether working with a developer or picking up a coding language yourself, you can truly create something new to either boost your current startup or disrupt the entire industry for the better.
However, the “entry fee” into such a space can be quite substantial. As adopting such complicated and constantly changing knowledge takes time, the range of caliber between virtual seminars and in-class certifications can vary—just like their price tags.
I asked a panel of successful young entrepreneurs the following question:
How should tech education (formal and informal) change to keep pace with business’ growing technology needs?
Here are the ideal tech lesson plans and class schedules they suggested:
1. Teach Some Curiosity
Within a single course structure, It would be impossible to address the myriad technologies available today, across diverse verticals. Instead, tech education within and outside of the classroom should focus on encouraging all people to have a robust interest in technology tools and applications. We need to create more early adopters — being excited about trying technology is the first step.
2. More Practice, Less Theory
I want students to be playing with technology — using it, finding out what they like, what they don’t like. Get their creativity started and they’ll come up with ideas how they can improve technology. At the very least, they’ll speak the tech language and be willing to try to work in a tech company.
3. Emphasize Projects in Education
Technology changes too quickly for curriculums and even for informal education to keep pace. But by assigning practice projects, rather than reading or follow along homework assignments, we can let students find their own way to get something done with whatever the latest technology might be. It’s necessary to point students towards resources, but it isn’t always necessary to choose tools for them.
4. Technical Meets Business
Educational outlets need to look at what Mark Zuckerberg has done with Facebook and understand that our economy needs this single founder model on a much smaller scale to prosper. In other words, teaching business/marketing to web engineers is vital. Additionally, business executives or marketers in the tech space should learn the basics of web development.
5. Simulated Situations Work
I owe a lot of where I am to taking a class in my graduate year of school that was strictly a real-life class project. We had to build a website, and promote it without spending any money. This opened my world to social media and its impact on business. This is the type of education students should have. Force them to discover the technologies of the time, adapt with them and then learn to apply.
6. Progressive Formal Learning
Every elementary school student should learn the basics of computer programming. Every middle school student should be exploring different coding languages. Every high school student should be building product. It really should be part of the standard curriculum.
7. More Doing, Less “Instructions”
The best way to learn is to actually do something. Your education should be tied to dealing with new technologies and getting your hands dirty with trial and error. If someone tells you (teaching) the solution, then all you are required to do is regurgitate that solution (college). The real learning comes from doing and creating your own solutions.
8. A Little Bit of Liberal Arts
A great developer can build anything. The next step is being able to do creative analysis of complex problems, particularly those in business. Beyond teaching technical skills, a developer’s education should teach empathy, opportunity recognition and deep strategy. Successful techs have the skills to partner with the “business” people.
Image Credit: Adam Berry/Getty Images