Just last week, students across the globe were being encouraged to get excited about the future of technology by participating in international ICT Day. The initiative, which has been around since 2011, is aimed at educating young people about the tech industry in hope that they’ll consider it for their future studies or career path. At Citrix, we got involved and were excited to welcome 30 students — daughters, sons, nieces and nephews of our employees — to our Chalfont UK office for a day of tech-focused games and activities.
The day kicked off with an introduction from our UK&I Managing Director, Darren Fields, who shared a bit about what our own vision for the future looks like: enabling innovative collaboration, where we’re connecting people and ideas using technology to bring work and life together through unified workspaces. The students also heard from more of the Citrix UK team, who shared stories on how — even with a non-tech focused background — they were still armed with the skills they needed to succeed in the industry. Kaleigh McKinney, a Corporate Account Manager, described how her time playing sports in school and university taught her about team collaboration and decision-making, two skills she applies to her job at Citrix every day. We know the positive impact that hiring employees from a variety of backgrounds can have on innovation within a business, and these kinds of stories only reaffirm that.
Jumping into the day’s activities, students were broken into groups to put their speed, design, and teamwork skills to the test. First, they had just 20 minutes to create a structure out of various craft materials, with the aim of protecting an egg from cracking when dropped from various heights. Next up, the teams raced against the clock in the network challenge to connect a mouse, keyboard, and network cables to a computer system. Within three rounds, setup times dropped from three minutes to just 30 seconds!
Everyone was also treated to a special presentation from Oliver Fields, a 13-year-old app developer and robot-building extraordinaire. Oliver shared with the group why technology is so important to him, and why he believes youngsters should be motivated to become educated in the industry: “Kids should get involved in technology because it’s changing our entire perspective on life,” he said. “Technology is changing everything we do from day to day, and if you can understand how it works fundamentally and can learn how to create stuff with it, you can change the future yourself – and it’s also fun to do!”
Oliver taught himself, with the help of YouTube, everything he knows about coding and building robotics. He created his most successful gaming app, Drone Attack, after seeing something similar online and believing he could build it into something even better — it now has over 270,000 downloads.
Oliver’s story is just one example of what’s possible when young people engage with tech — and we know there’s so much more to come! Hopefully our students left inspired and motivated to play a leading role in the future of tech.