15 years ago, the world of work was a very different place. In regards to IT back then, there was nothing like the integration and relationship that today's businesses have, with there computer systems and whatnot. Believe it or not, the clichéd views of TV shows such as the IT Crowd weren't actually that far from the truth!
This all changed with the birth of 'sexy' gadgets, like the iPhone and iPad. People began to sit up and take notice of technology's increasingly prevalent role in day-to-day life. From storing files in the cloud to watching TV on the bus, new technology was the enabler to enhance many different aspects of people's personal lives. This has had a knock-on effect on people's professional lives too, with many demanding more from their IT department, overall company and themselves.
With the mass explosion of mobile devices, and through a huge array of cleverly designed applications, people started using technology to help solve their own problems. Satellite navigation in the palm of your hand, banking on the go, ordering your shopping on the train - apps became the norm, and whilst there was always the 'part-time geek' who'd find their way around a corporate system or build their own bespoke solution to their problem, these people were in the minority.
We're now about to head into another major state of flux and transition. With the recent introduction of coding to the school curriculum and great ongoing initiatives like National Coding Week, the Raspberry Pi generation is starting to mature, and apps are being firmly established as cool bits of software. In time, we hope that the creative use of technology will become as simple as putting pen to paper.
There's no doubt that easy-to-use software with a friendly learning curve will become a great enabler for the younger tech-literate generation to get into creating real solutions to real problems. Our observations of developers have shown that practical application is where the learning opportunities really lie. With coding in the curriculum now in full swing, a child seeing their efforts materialise as a moving piece of hardware or something visualised on screen will give them an immediate sense of achievement.
It shows the value of creativity and application in a way that many other more traditional disciplines can't. If they have these basic skills they can then go on to create something of real business value when they go into the workplace without having to speak the language of 0s and 1s.
If the UK carries on getting this coding initiative right, it won't only be an investment in the future of our economy, but also in the future of the next generation and beyond. These children can certainly have the digital world at their feet, with an unprecedented choice about how they develop their careers. Yet despite that, even if they have no interest in a technology career after school, they will still be part of a future workforce made up of talented problem solvers, and that will be an excellent attribute to take into any industry.
Kieran Saunders is a product specialist at FileMaker (opens in new tab)