Do you remember when your parents, maybe a teacher or some other “old person” would ask for your help with something like programming the VCR, showing them how to “move the sentence over” in a word processing letter they were typing or needing help with some other ludicrously simple task? [Sarcasm].
All tongue in cheek. I accept being born in 1986 still makes me a baby on the grand scheme of things. But, one of the interesting things I’m fascinated and intrigued by is how bazzar the feeling is when I find myself in the moments not dissimilar to those mentioned above.
I’ll be the first to admit that the kids of today are hands down living in one of the greatest periods in the current evolution that is mankind. This generation (born post 2000) are a really cool bunch and have an incredible amount of resources available, literally at their fingertips. And the thing that’s even better… they know it and are taking advantage of it!
I was listening to an episode of The Creative Exchange podcast the other day by Sara Dietschy where she interviewed a number of teens who are making massive moves in the tech/app and not-for-profit spaces. I was blown away by their maturity, resourcefulness and creativity, leaving nothing much to chance when it comes to going after what they wanted. One girl in particular, who is 16 now, chose instead to learn how to code across her summer break instead of attending camp. These teens quickly learned, outside of traditional educational institutions, programming languages such as Python, C, Swift and html and are applying their skills to real life problems with an impressive amount of creativity.
Having been born in 1986 I was fortunate enough to have been conceived prior to the official launch of the world wide web. This, by a stroke of luck in the history of time, rendered my exposure to the good old days of 28.8kbps of dial up using an extension telephone cable from the lounge room to the kicthen – cause’ wi-fi wasn’t a thing back then. I remember in my very early teens, opening up Microsoft Notepad and starting the string <html>. Having a cheat sheet of codes was exciting as you progressed the skills of web development, moving to scrolling text marquees and a mouse that acted as a clock with some Java script.
The difference between now and then? The internet has progressed so far that kids these days are quickly capitalising on these skills and creating impressive little side hustles. For us back then it was a Saturday of fun with friends seeing what you could design up.
The thing that struck me to write this here post however is the increasingly common feeling of seperation from this generation, and not by personality, maturity or choice but rather and inherent difference in what I’m quickly seeing could very well be an evolutionary difference in brain development. Where we learned the a-b-c, kids now days are quickly learning the IF, THEN and hello world.
I fear that even at the ripe age of 32 I will quickly get left behind should I too chose not to ride the programming train, the Alexa skills space and develop a practical understanding of the python language. As I sit here, device in hand, my son sits aside me at 6 on an iPad. His brain is developing vastly different to mine and if I’m to keep up with him and avoid asking him how to setup my new VR headset in the years to come, I think us 80s and 90s babies best be getting up to speed.
The world is a very different place and the cooler, younger generation is building it, their way, for the greater good.