Editor's note: The following is a guest article from Gabriel Martinez, a senior at AMS II, which is part of the New Visions Charter High School network. He completed an internship at Carve Systems through First Workings, a nonprofit that places high school students in New York City with internship opportunities.
I've been interested in technology ever since I was a child. I loved taking electronics apart and admiring their external and internal components. I was fascinated with how games, phones and computers functioned.
Now, as a high school senior, I'm seriously considering pursuing a degree in computer science. By the time I graduate in 2024, I'd like to see the tech industry deliver on a long-held promise to hire more employees who look like me.
While New York is working towards diversifying the state's tech industry, companies are still having a hard time attracting diverse talent. In a recent study, only 9% of college students graduating with a computer science degree were Black and 10% were Latinx.
In order for the tech industry to meet future demands, tech companies need to change how they recruit diverse talent.
One solution is providing internship opportunities to diverse high school students. What better way to ensure that you're able to meet future workforce demands than working with the next generation of the workforce?
Employment of computer and information technology occupations is projected to grow 12% from 2018-2028, faster than the average for all occupations and projected to add about 546,200 new jobs.
Tech companies can't expect to fill all these positions from their typical talent pool.
I had the unique experience of pursuing a tech internship this past summer at cybersecurity company Carve Systems. I was connected to this opportunity through First Workings, a nonprofit that places underserved and underrepresented high school students in New York City with summer internships in finance, medicine, law, tech and communication.
Opening up your internship program to diverse young people can have direct benefits to your company.
A recent McKinsey & Company study found that companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.
With Gen Z being the most ethnically and racially diverse generation, it seems like a great place to source diverse talent.
While First Workings helped train me on how to work in an office setting, Carve Systems gave me my first glimpse of what a career in tech could look like. At my internship, I was given tasks that I could complete but still pushed me out of my comfort zone.
Even though my internship was just two weeks, I had the chance to learn and implement a lot of important coding basics, like Python syntax and creating web applications.
Having gone through this experience, I have a much clearer idea of what my future career in tech could look like. I'm excited to enter such a growing and innovating industry.
The demographics of our country are changing and it's time big tech makes a serious investment to adapt to these changes. High school internship programs, like the one I participated in through First Workings, not only give your company a glimpse into what your future workforce will look like, but will give you a chance to help mold and mentor your potential future employees.
I know the connections I made at Carve Systems this summer will help me make the most of my time in college and beyond.