What I wish I could tell every parent…
For many years in the U.S., many parents wanted their kids to be doctors or lawyers. They were well-paying, high-prestige jobs. The world has changed and as technology in the form of smartphones and the social web has swept the world, the new job every parent should want their child to have is engineer.
Engineer doesn’t place as highly in most parents minds as doctor or lawyer even today. But while doctor and lawyer are great professions, the demand is growing linearly, whereas demand for engineers is exponential and insatiable. The average college computer science major living in San Francisco, 25 or 26 years old, is making between $100,000 and $150,000 per year. As they gain experience, they make much more. Older companies like Google and Facebook have figured out that they can double those salaries to attract engineers away from startups. In other words, it’s totally insane.
So here’s the advice I would give every parent. Teach your child to code. There are camps they can go to, clubs they can belong to, teachers they can hang out with, friends who know how. Do whatever you can to get them exposed early, middle school is ideal. Push them to learn more, to persist when it is frustrating in high school. When they go to college, tell them they can major in anything along with computer science. Seriously, art and computer science, philosophy, political science. As long as they have computer science in their pocket, they will have a backstop in life. This is exactly what being a doctor or lawyer used to be, only now that opportunity goes to engineers.
And when a young person has computer science in their pocket, if that’s not what they want to do, it opens them up to dozens of other high-paying jobs in tech companies which would be very hard to get into without knowing how to code.