Creating Tech Career Pathways in Higher Ed

Here’s what we know about the future. Seven million jobs we had in 2016 will disappear by 2020[1]and 85% of jobs in 2030 have not yet been invented[2]. Many of those jobs will involve technology but they won’t be purely tech jobs. They will be communication, engineering, manufacturing, medicine and hundreds of careers which will be critically interwoven with our ever-more app and mobile technology driven world. 

We are at a critical juncture in higher education. Computer Science is a vast field that encompasses programming, cybersecurity, and much more.  It is an important theoretical field that has traditionally mapped to an educational pathway spanning into masters and doctoral level work. 

Coding and App Development are different and it is essential to separate these areas, thinking about them as different career pathways. 

Organizations like are doing work to bring coding to students while companies like Apple can quantify the impact of the app economy on job growth.

Once upon a time, coding was a skill for the computer scientist and programmer but had very little value for other professions. In contrast, technology and mobility so saturate our current world that coding is best understood as an essential language which permeates all aspects of our lives. It is how we ask questions, search for answers, connect, share, and communicate. A base-level understanding of computational thinking and simple coding languages, like Apple’s Swift language, is a powerful skill that spans across disciplines.  In an educational pathway, a basic knowledge of a coding language gives any professional the power to solve problems in their chosen field.  

App development is one of the newest fields in the world of technology. Created by anyone who has a passion to harness the power of mobile technology to solve problems or create new things, Apps can be powerful tools that can change the world.  As we look to higher education catch up to the demand for App-development skills, we are exploring what skills and knowledge make a great app developer and what app development educational program models exist across the world.  What we do know is that more and more professional fields are finding app development to be a powerful part of their business and critical to their success.  

We also know that a “developer” is more than just a coder or computer scientist.  Developers must understand business, entrepreneurship, design thinking, collaboration, human behavior and much more.  In sum, a successful developer rests at that intersection of creativity and technology.  Those who find themselves in the creative fields are just as likely to be a developer as someone who has traditionally been in the sciences.  

By making coding and app development more accessible across disciplines in higher education, we will be building a workforce of individuals more prepared with the creative and technology skills to engage in a mobile, app-driven world.

[1]The Future of Jobs: Employment, Skills and Workforce Strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, World Economic Forum, 2016

[2]Emerging Technologies’ Impact on Society & Work in 2030, Institute for the Future, 2017