Whether they want to invent the next Google or maybe work for it, city students are attending a summer program to learn the skills needed to be the tech workforce of tomorrow. NY1's Money Matters reporter Tara Lynn Wagner filed the following report.
According to the mayor's office, there more than 900 tech companies in the city and the number is growing. But that great news has a glitch.
"There aren't enough New Yorkers to really fill these good jobs. There are good jobs that have a great salary that are attached to them, but there just aren't enough New Yorkers that are prepared and have the skills to do so," says Jordan Runge of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship New York Metro.
To fix that program, Runge is spending part of his summer in a classroom buzzing with high school students and laptops. It is the first phase of a program directed by Runge and run through NFTE New York Metro called GenTech.
"We are teaching students how to code which we see as the literacy of the 21st century," Runge says. "How can you be successful not having this? You become so much more marketable as a professional if you know how to code."
But this isn't just about getting a job. These students are also being taught how to create one. However, that doesn't mean GenTech participant Jayson Isaac, a student at Cardozo High School, sees himself as a future entrepreneur.
"No, not really. I just thought of myself as a programmer, an app developer, that's it," he says.
What Jayson is learning this summer, though, in addition to code, is how to take his concept and build it into a business.
"Research skills, getting out and talking to people, creating prototypes and getting feedback and iterating and improving. You know the process that actual entrepreneurs go through to make a quality product," says Runge.
It has been an eye opener for Karishma Maraj, a student at Brooklyn Technical School, who plans to major in computer science but now with a business minor.
"This program really showed me that since they do go hand in hand, it's good to develop both of those skills and I realized that I really love both of them," Karishma says.
Not all these kids will be entrepreneurs. Some will stay focused solely on the tech side.
"The technology sector right now is just ridiculously burgeoning every single day and I think I want to be part of that," says Elton Zhang, a student at Baruch College Campus High School.
Even so, Runge hopes they will be programmed for success thanks to the skills they have learned here.
"Having an entrepreneurial mind set and being able to innovate and recognize opportunity and knowing how to take advantage of that opportunity is useful regardless of what a student does later on their professional career," Runge says.
Boot camp may be over but the process continues. Students will work in teams throughout the summer, ultimately pitching their app to investors for a first-place prize of $5,000.