The 9 year old and the future

Over the weekend our 9 year old expressed an interesting in getting Google Reader setup on his PC as he wanted to read stuff like Dad. This got me thinking again about what he and his generation will expect in a technology sense from their employers when he enters the workforce in 10-12 years.

His world today:-

  • He has had broadband Internet in his bedroom since he was 5. I know some people are against PC’s in kids bedrooms but I feel with the right controls and open communication there are no issues.
  • Doesn’t know what a modem is, or care
  • Has multiple domain’s
  • Knows how to do a podcast, in fact he even has his own favourite
  • Is beginning to understand how to produce online video
  • Prepares PowerPoint presentations at school
  • Love seeing pictures on Flickr
  • Thinks the answer to all of life’s questions can by found through Google, if only it was that simple 🙂
  • Thinks and believes the internet should be accessible everywhere
  • Has used email to communicate with friends and family for 4 years, admittedly he
  • Uses Google Docs, Spreadsheets, GMail and GTalk to collaborate at school and be able to work on school projects at home
  • Thinks Twitter is cool and wants to participate, Dad won’t let him 🙂
  • Loves watching online video, almost as much as regular TV, if only the Simpsons were still on YouTube

In 10 years what will his expectations be? How will an employer be able to entice him to work for them? What work/cultural environment will he want? Will he even work for a single employer?

The answers to these questions should concern employers of all sizes.


Recruiting is marketing. Try jobcasting.

10 thoughts on “The 9 year old and the future

  1. Dude, I’m a little older than your son. I like doing those things too. I just wish I had more time to learn about the video blogging. What’s the point? When fax became generally available everyone got them. Email, same thing. Collaboration, same thing. Here’s the most significant difference these tools will make in your son’s life. Someone in another part of the world can do his job cheaper because the exchange of information is so easy.

  2. Animal agree work moving to low cost countries is an issue that will need to be addressed. My point is how things are changing and changing faster than ever, however organisations still tend to adapt very slowly. Not to mention I am proud as punch that he is so interested in the online world 🙂

  3. Similar situation in my house, 7 & 8 y olds, both with PCs and broadband, browsing to whilelists only. Not quite so advanced on online stuff but using office apps well.

    Want to know why they can’t go on MySpace …

    What will these kids be like by the time they are 21?

  4. Michael, definitely agree with the sentiment about people vs. corporations in terms of speed of adoption…. We have a nice business helping organisations ‘engage at the edge’.. but the number of employers actually using PPC / Blogs / MySpace / Second Life etc probably represents a tiny percentile of the whole; the rest are still struggling to get their heads round the concept of sourcing CVs from Monster..

    – Recruiting Animal, that’s a pretty extreme / pessimistic view? Yes, of course the world is going to be a completely different place (a good think if a bit of the wealth is shared around, in my view) but I would reject the idea that *all* jobs will be determined by lowest daily rate. Knowledge always = power, and “pure” knowledge-based businesses (consulting, professional services) understand they’ll always be a market for expertise delivered locally – hence the reason companies like PWC lead the charge online… Anyway, certainly in the UK for every offshoring success story, there’s a bank bring their contact center home.

  5. Michael,
    While employers may need to adapt the way in which they attract new staff, I think the power of ” generation ” is over hyped.

    I too marvel at my children’s command of the information technology, but we should remember that they are “digital natives”, they will have to have advanced computing skills just to compete with their peers. It will be the norm.

    When our kids grow up they will need to earn a living. They will need a job. Maybe they will be fortunate enough to be looking for their first job in an economic climate like today, or maybe there will be a global recession.

    Perhaps as parents we should be focussing on what are good bets in terms of careers paths and making sure they are equipped to enter a profession which doesn’t have a “use by date”.

    Being able to blog and podcast is unlikely to help them get a job in Medicine, Law, Engineering, Science, or Finance.

    It might help them get a job in media, but who can say what the media industry will look like in 10-20 years?

  6. Kevin you are right on, as parents we should be equipping our children with the skills to enter a profession that does not have a used by date.

    Yeah blogging and Podcasting might not get you a job but they are great experiences along the way.

  7. Kevin, you’re kidding, right? Excuse me a moment while I choke on all your bullsh*t.
    You don’t think that kids of today wanting to get into the ‘Medicine, Law, Engineering, Science, or Finance’ occupations won’t need advanced computing skills? You’re very wrong indeed, if you think that.
    I honestly personally think in the years to come there will be no way to get away from technology — especially when it comes to careers; and indeed, especially the ones you mentioned… computing skills will be blatantly necessary for those occupations.

    Perhaps blogging and podcasting won’t be that important; but I doubt a 9 year old will only do those things on the internet in years to come — he’ll advance onto more.. well, advanced things. That is the part that is necessary.

    Plus, blogging and podcasting improves social skills — that’s a good thing regardless of careers.

  8. zzap wrote:

    Kevin, you’re kidding, right? Excuse me a moment while I choke on all your bullsh*t.
    You don’t think that kids of today wanting to get into the ‘Medicine, Law, Engineering, Science, or Finance’ occupations won’t need advanced computing skills?

    I didn’t say that, did I ?
    I just don’t rate blogging and podacsting as important “computing skills”.

    Plus, blogging and podcasting improves social skills .

    Why? how ?

  9. #

    zzap wrote:

    Kevin, you’re kidding, right? Excuse me a moment while I choke on all your bullsh*t.
    You don’t think that kids of today wanting to get into the ‘Medicine, Law, Engineering, Science, or Finance’ occupations won’t need advanced computing skills? You’re very wrong indeed, if you think that.
    I honestly personally think in the years to come there will be no way to get away from technology — especially when it comes to careers; and indeed, especially the ones you mentioned… computing skills will be blatantly necessary for those occupations.

    Perhaps blogging and podcasting won’t be that important; but I doubt a 9 year old will only do those things on the internet in years to come — he’ll advance onto more.. well, advanced things. That is the part that is necessary.

    Plus, blogging and podcasting improves social skills — that’s a good thing regardless of careers.

    Posted 02 Apr 2007 at 9:57 pm ¶
    hey keep down the arguing.its not your question is it?

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