Generation Y set to break tech-ethnic barriers

Summary:With better education, greater access to a borderless Web and culturally aware Generation Y'ers, the next generation of IT worker is set to break through cultural and technical norms of today.

Some may think the Generation Y are underdeveloped and lack knowledge of the paths before them. Didn't the older generations feel the same at this age?

An article published yesterday from December's Kiplinger Letter suggest the Generation Y have more to offer than the older generation credit them with.

Technology

The Generation Y, defined as aged between 18-30, make up nearly a quarter of all Americans, and that technology is the very lifeblood keeping us afloat. But more interestingly, the broken down demographics show a major shift towards a greater, more diverse population of culture, ready to breach the workplace in a few years' time.

"90% of Gen Yers over the age of 18 use the Internet. 75% use social networking [...] 60% of them access the Web wirelessly while on the go. 83% keep their cell phones nearby, day and night, awake or sleeping. Two-fifths don't even have a land line."

Ethnicity and nationality

Equally, the cultural side to the younger generation is stark. The United States is a culturally diverse and exotic blend of different ethnicities and nationalities, and today's Generation Y are diluting the 'them and us' attitude of US born and non-US born identity.

"For now, Generation X - the small cohort between the Baby Boom and Gen Y and now aged 30-45 has the highest share of foreign-born Americans, largely because they are the same age as most new immigrants. As Gen Y moves into that age bracket, its share of non-natives will swell."

Culturally aware

Another snippet goes on to explain educational values applied to Generation Y'ers or Millennials, combining the knowledge of technology and more interactive learning experiences for school students today.

"One in five Millennials over the age of 18 have already graduatedfrom college; one fourth of them are working on graduate degrees. Another fourth are in college and about 30%, though not now in school expect to earn a degree [...] Gen Y'ers are also well travelled. About a quarter of a million Gen Y'ers study abroad each year. They're culturally aware thanks in part to their foreign studies and to the diversity of their peer groups."

In my experience, university environments are often a blend of different ethnic makeups, nationalities and cultural identities, and technology helps to increase social inclusion.

Well-traveled and transnational students seem to engage with technology less than those who have been brought up with one culture alone. Mobile computing for one example is used for various reasons, like checking train times and maintaining social networks on the go -- the more diverse students engage better on a personal level using their mobile as a tool, rather than a necessity.

Yet for little England-types like me, technology is a primary source for getting in touch with others to then meet in person. The two lives, both online and offline merge with each other and act in parallel.

In short, technology ultimately brings people together, regardless of their social background. The hope is these values will progress into the workplace to create exciting new opportunities for those who believed they would not have had the opportunity, creating a far more diverse and aware workforce.

Topics: Browser

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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