The generation after Millennials, “Generation Z” as we Canucks would call them, is two billion strong around the world. If you are looking for “Generation Zombie”, you are reading the wrong article. Some of the attributes credited to Gen Z’ers include:

  • Born digital, meaning they have grown up around the internet, computers, and have a high propensity for learning new tech – essentially “wired from the crib”
  • Very entrepreneurial
  • Place a higher priority on brains and mental achievement or creativity than appearance or being good looking


The generation born after 1995, sometimes referred to as “Screenagers”. They are viewed as the generation that uses YouTube and video streaming in place of cable television, send more video or images than text to communicate, and possibly the generation that needs to innovate better and faster than ever to save the planet. Rather than placing a high priority on profit and building up corporations, this generation is building e-commerce websites that donate to worthy causes. They invent environmentally friendly gadgets such as flashlights powered by the touch of your hand. Despite all this, they are also given the ungrateful moniker, “Generation Me”. More respectful thought leaders like Don Tapscott have dubbed them the “Mobile Generation”, as they are always connected on the go.

GenerationCRegardless of the name of this set of digital natives, the fact is that the sons and daughters of Canadian Generation X, or the “Baby Busters” will be a much smaller generation of university graduates, and ultimately, professionals in the workforce. From an economic perspective, helping today’s teens to write code will be necessary to keep our country competitive on the ICT world stage. Rescuing the world from the ecological abuse it has suffered over the past several hundred years will be no simple task. Though many young people are more interested in battling digital zombies than building business applications, harnessing their innovative minds for building a better world is the responsibility of every Canadian parent. As many as 11% of Gen Z is said to have ADHD, with statistics saying the human race in general is beginning to have an average attention span shorter than that of a goldfish.

Getting a Canadian teenager to code benefits them because of the nature of the world economy. Manufacturing jobs are much lower paying, and being centralized in areas of the world with lower education numbers. A Screenager generally can handle the “information overload” required to learn a programming language like JavaScript or Python. Getting a teen, who may really enjoy gaming, to learn how to code initially to build mobile games or productivity apps could set them on the more important road to building the integrated business systems of tomorrow. Teens who expect information to be available at their fingertips are motivated to make this goal a reality, whether it be on the public internet, or corporate networks.

coding-national-curriculum-computingHowever, there are skill gaps in the trades, and other professions. In many cases, the jobs that “Born Digital” graduates will be starting with are those that haven’t been invented yet, and will require the ability to write code. At the very least, graduates will need to be able to understand the structure of applications, and how software is developed. Many teens witness their older peers graduating from liberal arts programs at university, only to struggle with low paying jobs. Their parents may have battled through difficult times as well, while the information age propels technology professionals further forward than roles manufacturing, customer service or unskilled trades.

Some of the industries that are constantly seeking employees with technical skills, and likely will in future when Gen Z graduates:

  • Government
  • Information and Communication Technologies
  • Financial Services
  • Life Sciences and Healthcare
  • Media and Entertainment

Although the number of layoffs within manufacturing and aerospace and the perilous nature of the Canadian oil and gas industry have been well documented, the career stability of having a well-developed coding skill-set can help today’s teens to be successful at the start of their careers. The portability of software development skills and the demand for application innovation can put your young adult on to a much more stable career path than the risk of avoiding coding all together.

The Under the GUI Co-op and intern programs, the final step in our cycle of teaching kids to code, can help your teen find practical, hands on experience to build applications in the real world, and propel them forward into coding career!