Why the World Needs More Geeks

We live in the age of the tech-savvy user. They may know how to use their smart devices and the multitude of apps they contain, but do they fully understand the technology behind them?

The answer in a lot of cases is no. As a result, many of us spend time using technology that may be popular, but is not secure, efficient, or productive. Worse, it may expose us to unwanted advertising and even security threats.

The world needs more people who can not only use technology, but really understand how it works and benefits users. The people behind some of our most popular technology products – Uber, Facebook, Instagram – know this. Innovation truly happens only when people ask “Why don’t we do it this way?” or “Wouldn’t it be better if we did this instead?”

When I started my formal education and professional career in IT 25 years ago, there were very few females around me. What saddens me is to fast-forward to a new millennium and see this has changed very little, and according to some stats may have worsened. The numbers of women (and men too) studying and choosing careers in the so-called “geek” fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) are down across the board.

Studies in Australia, where I live and work, have shown a 20-year decline in students studying math and science and there is a clear gender imbalance; boys are far more likely to study STEM subjects than girls.

I am very proud to call myself a geek. The word “geek,” in most cases these days, applies to technologically oriented people. But originally it referred to those in research or laboratories, so the term “geek” fits the whole “STEM” arena.

I see at least five reasons why we need —> Read More