Tag: Technology

Right on the heels of my quasi-op-ed piece on our president and how a lot of perspective can sure paint a very good (or very bad picture), I found it timely to land on this recent article from TechCrunch.

The article speaks to Obama’s commitment to investment in technology as a means to drive wage increase. You all clearly know my opinions on driving more technology education – so on the surface I’m all for it!

In short:

The White House sees this as an opportunity to boost overall wages, particularly in underserved populations. Obama has announced a plan to fast-track American earnings with a $100 million federal grant-funded technology jobs training initiative called TechHire. This initiative will work with community colleges, universities as well as developer bootcamps and other non-traditional skills training organizations to place Americans in 120,000 open software development, network administration, and cyber security jobs.

The only real issue I see is that the funding seems low. Far be it from me to advocate for more government spending, but $100M is spent as quickly as it is allocated when the government is involved (whether it’s a Republican or a Democrat at the helm in the Oval Office and in Congress). If you want to make this kind of investment, let’s go more directly to the private sector and get some real industry experts (i.e. not the Department of Education) involved. If you took that cash and bankrolled tens if not hundreds of technical skills programs in major metropolitan areas at both corporate leaders (e.g. Cerners of the world) as well as trade programs (e.g. DeVry), you would surely see more immediate lift.

Til Next Time,

Michael

A new non-profit called code.org has recently completed an “Hour of Code” benefit as part of the Computer Science Education Week (CSEW), whereby they attempt to engage as many students as possible to take a 1 hour tutorial on coding.  Endorsed by big names such as Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Chris Bosh, this is the first year that the CSEW has really hit the mainstream media with such big names thanks to the sponsored coding tutorial.  Big props to everyone involved for taking this step as I continue to believe this should be our single greatest priority for all education platforms of the future: continuing technical education for today’s youth.

So, apparently there are a few other people out there that believe the same way I do from my previous post on Technology in Society!  It  was actually really cool to see around 15 million students learn 1 hour of code.  Let’s hope that this may have captured even a small portion of those kids to pursue studies and careers in coding and technology.

Here’s the full story.

Til Next Time,

Michael

Be warned: this post may sound slightly complacent, mildly pessimistic, and altogether like a bit of a rant on the current state of our society in America.  But – hey – isn’t that why I started my own blog?  To allow myself an avenue to opine on real issues facing ourselves and the next generation of people to roam this great Earth?  I run the show around here; the choice is yours if you want to read it. :)

In short, I am wildly concerned about the state of technology awareness and technical intelligence in our American society.  And, no, I don’t mean the ability to use an iPhone or knowing how to start a group message on Facebook.  Because, last time I checked, there are only extremely narrow windows of opportunity to capitalize on those skills.  The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Facebook is already published, sorry.

What I’m talking about is our country’s seeming indifference towards teaching children the value of technical skills.  For instance, I firmly believe that everyone in their lives should be required to take at least one course on coding and engineering in their academic careers.  Not because I think we’re severely lacking coders in America (side note – we most definitely are), but because learning to code teaches someone several valuable skills that ultimately leave oneself better off and more marketable in their career.  Before you say it, it’s true, not everything draws back to your career; but I think we have started to undervalue people’s ability to provide for themselves and earn a decent living (maybe that’s the Midwestern blue collar seeping out of me).  I am not going to use this post or this site to go into any economic lessons or discuss the value of money and whether or not it buys happiness – but rather I do want to speak for a brief moment on the value of technology awareness and skills in 2013.

So why should everyone learn to code or start to brush up a bit on technology and spend more time in the Engineering building at school?  Simple:

  • Coding, at it’s quintessence, teaches people to be problem solvers: Whether it’s the process of debugging some “cranky code”, or following a process to create something as simple as “Hello World”, coding forces you to work through problems and setbacks.  Be it through consulting electronic/external sources (e.g. Google) or friends/experts – you will have to figure out a way to get past roadblocks.  This is a skill that I think we can all agree is highly valuable whatever your walk of life may be.
  • Technology is the wave of the future.  Everything is going mobile.  We are all strapped to our devices as is.  Why shouldn’t we embrace that and start to learn more about it?  It’s our only chance to remain viable in a global marketplace.  And, as Americans, don’t we generally like to win?
  • Engineering is all about how things are built.  It’s about process.  Starting with a rough concept, investigating feasibility based upon organic, material, or dynamic qualities, developing a design, prototyping a design, testing it, and eventually finalizing a buildout…  These skills are not only useful in buildings/bridges/cars/planes, but rather in your traditional life as well.  Think about the ability to build a relationship and take in/analyze information that is given to you to further enhance that relationship.  It’s all an exercise in engineering.
  • Technology and Engineering are what drives innovation and are uniquely responsible for most of the great inventions since the start of time.  Be it the automobile, the airplane, or the telephone – behind most of those great inventions was someone hopelessly dedicated to science and engineering.  And who doesn’t love cool new toys?

I could go on all day, I really could.  But I won’t.  I hope you get the picture.  And even if you don’t agree, I just ask that you consider the risk if we refuse to refocus our energy towards technology, engineering, math, the sciences.  I am incredibly alarmed at American society’s refusal to take these areas more seriously.  I love the arts – I really do!  I think having a portion of our population dedicate their time and energy towards creating wonderful works or art, literature, or performances for the rest of us to enjoy is a fantastic thing.  I would be lying though if I didn’t say I am worried that we have overcorrected in these areas over the past couple of decades.  In my personal opinion, spending six figures on a French Art History degree for most people just may not pay off.  Ever notice that in other developing countries (e.g. majority of Asia), the percentage of graduates with technical/skills training versus other language arts is substantially higher than here in the U.S.?  Wait, where are all of our technology jobs in America being lost or offshored to again?

Listen, I know it’s not all about what “pays off” from a financial perspective.  But at the end of the day, money makes the world go ’round.  You need it to eat, need it to sleep (comfortably), need it to get around.  So give technology a chance.  I think you’ll be amazed at what we are collectively able to create and how quickly we can innovate if we start to drive more of our talented youth (and even aging professionals – you’d be surprised at what great resources are available for out-of-school or on-the-job skills training!) towards technology, engineering, math, and science.

Til Next Time,

Michael

Remember all of that talk about the 1%?  Here’s a fascinating piece on the 0.07%…  I have always had an affinity for technology and venture capital.  Probably because when I was growing up, my father did venture capital, and I was interested in technology.  I think deep down, most of us are allured to one of our parents’ professions by nature just because we often idolize our parents and want to grow up to be like them (until we get old enough to realize the traits of theirs that we absolutely do not want to mimic – alas I digress again).  Regardless, I am fascinated to this day by technology venture capital and hope one day to be in a position in my career where I can contribute to this exciting community.  Maybe even one day consider myself part of the “unicorn club”.

Hope you enjoy the article!

http://techcrunch.com/2013/11/02/welcome-to-the-unicorn-club/

Til Next Time,

Michael

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