I attended the 2008 Intel Science Talent Search Awards gala as Intel’s guest last evening (see the STS page, here http://www.intel.com/education/sts/ ). I can’t begin to describe what an inspiring event this was. These are America’s brightest high school seniors. All but a few of their projects were beyond a layman’s comprehension (that includes me.) Nonetheless, I had the sense that this was very creative work and these were very bright minds. I was lucky enough to sit next to one of the honorees who I understood (mostly.) She studied the effects of public and private funding for small town libraries and confirmed that donors follow the crowd behavior that Professor John F. Nash discovered and for which he won the Nobel prize. (See his 1998 biography, A Beautiful Mind, by Silvia Nasar http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Beautiful_Mind_%28book%29 and the 2001 movie by the same name, starring Russell Crowe.) I asked the student for a copy of her paper so that I could inspire my 14 year-old who is also a budding mathematician looking to push the limits.
The student who won the Glenn T. Seaborg Award addressed the audience with a speech that was articulate, witty and wise. He quoted Einstein, one of my heroes, as saying “If A equals success, then the formula is: A = X + Y + Z, X is work. Y is play. Z is keep your mouth shut.” (See a list of Einstein quotes, here: http://www.quoteopia.com/famous.php?quotesby=alberteinstein ). I love that play is a part of success. And shutting the mouth means opening the eyes and ears. It also means humility; to discover what is and be open to have your hypotheses proved wrong.
I tell this story for two reasons: first, the need to encourage students to pursue studies and projects in the fields of science, math and technology; second, to make the point that student are our future indicators for technology.
There is a widening gap between the growing demand for IT workers and the pool of qualified candidates. Estimates put unfilled IT positions at about 190,000. The Office of Technology Policy concludes that evidence “suggests that job growth in information technology fields now exceeds the production of talent.”  Anecdotal comments about business school students’ interest in IT Management suggests the same gap.
I believe part of the issue is that the off-shoring phenomenon in IT in the last decade was largely misunderstood by students as an indicator that IT was not a career growth sector. No one looked at which IT jobs were going off-shore. These were typically the more commodity IT positions like telephone-based IT support desks. Higher skilled positions, like network engineers are listed by the U.S. Department of Labor as a high growth area for the next decade. In fact, Network Systems positions are expected to grow 53.4% from 2006 to 2016, the highest growth of any of the categories singled out by the Labor Dept.
My conclusion is that we need to do far more to encourage students to pursue careers in technology--hence, one of the strong motivators for me spending a term at Tuck/Dartmouth.
As for students as the future indicators for technology, tune in next time for thoughts on this.
 I was also reminded of Steve Jobs quote of The Whole Earth Catalog during his Stanford University commencement address” “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.,” here: http://news-service.stanford.edu/news/2005/june15/jobs-061505.html
 See the “America’s New Deficit: The Shortage of Information Technology Workers” report at http://www.technology.gov/reports/itsw/itsw.pdf
 The Bureau of Labor Statistics table of occupations with the largest job growth forecast, at http://www.bls.gov/emp/emptab3.htm