Young Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs

By Russ Levanway, CEO

No degree? No problem.

You’ve most likely heard stories about famous people in technology who didn’t excel in a classroom setting: Bill Gates attended Harvard for two years before dropping out to found Microsoft and Steve Jobs left Reed College after just six months. Traditional school just wasn’t where they did their best work.

Right now, technology is the fastest wage growing across any industry – whether that’s in IT support services, engineering or software programming and design – but many of the most in-demand tech jobs don’t require higher education.

Pace of Obsolescence

It goes without saying that an advanced degree is necessary for most people working in healthcare, engineering or law, but the technology field moves and changes at breakneck speed. By the time an aspiring techie finishes two years of graduate school, for example, the technology he or she has been studying could already be obsolete.

That’s not to dismiss our amazing universities like Cal Poly (whose motto, by the way, is “learn by doing”). But we have to acknowledge that the technology field of tomorrow requires a different type of learning process, and that the sooner people are accustomed to that learning process in their educational careers, the better.

Expectations for technological savvy are very high for the next generation entering the workforce. They will be required to do much more than type at a keyboard, open a word processing document or write an email. Their tasks will require a development of understanding over time: engineering solutions, developing new applications, and integrating different complex systems together.

Tools for Techs

At TekTegrity, we have a deep understanding and love of technology for technology’s sake, but ultimately, computers are just tools in the workforce that can help businesses, organizations, and individuals succeed. We always return to our mission to enhance productivity and enrich the lives of those we serve.

It’s never just about technology – it’s about application and business savvy, too. For startups with a great technological idea but who need help preparing to run a business or honing their message, there is the Hothouse program in San Luis Obispo and Bitwise in Fresno. Both incubate new businesses, mentoring new innovators through the business process to ensure their effectiveness in the real world.

Stewards of the Future

This summer, TekTegrity sponsored a 17-year-old student named Will through a course in Fresno at the GeekWise Academy, “an accelerated training program for current and aspiring technologists.” Throughout the program, Will and his fellow students built robots which they then demonstrated at the end of the session. For Will, the GeekWise Academy was a game-changer that helped inspire him to carve out a career path in technology.

In San Luis Obispo, through Softec, “the Central Coast Technology Alliance,” TekTegrity has sponsored multiple robotics programs throughout the area. Each year, Softec generously donates thousands of dollars to youth robotics programs on the same premise: that when you immerse people in technology early – as early as elementary school – the stage is set for them to enter a bright technological future. By starting children early, I don’t mean sitting in front of an iPad or playing video games; I mean tinkering, hands-on problem-solving, and creativity like designing programs in Basic or building simple robots. These projects can lead to a healthy, lifelong love of technology that brings solutions to problems and improves people’s lives.

If you’re passionate about technology and want to help students at the high school and college levels succeed, I highly recommend getting involved in Softec or the GeekWise Academy. If you’re a budding entrepreneur with a great idea, but you need advice on how to get your business off the ground, check out the Hothouse or Bitwise.

And if you’re a future Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, get out there and hone your skills! Soak up every learning opportunity and become part of history’s most exciting technological era yet.

Russ Levanway, CEO
// Russ is a sought-after public speaker, technology expert, and community leader. As the CEO of an ever-growing managed services provider with offices in both San Luis Obispo and Fresno, Russ’s goal is to sustain and grow an IT company that provides incredible value for clients, and a great workplace for his team. When not charting out the future for TekTegrity, Russ serves on several non-profit boards, volunteers at the People’s Kitchen and travels the world with his wife and two daughters. More on Russ>>