The Download: Aug. 21, 2015 — the Back-to-School Edition

Happy Friday, everyone. It’s time for another edition of the Download, where we share some of the week’s tech stories that caught our attention.

This week marks the end of summer vacation for many students, and they’ve no doubt spent recent days hustling to get new clothes and school supplies for another scholastic year.

But what will they be studying once the books are cracked? Are today’s students preparing for the growing number of tech jobs out there? A study released this week by Google says maybe not: 

Jobs in computing are growing at twice the national rate of other types of jobs. By 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be one million more computer science-related jobs than graduating students qualified to fill them.

If any company has a vested interest in cultivating a strong talent pool of computer scientists, it’s Google. So the search giant set out to learn why students in the U.S. aren’t being prepared to bridge the talent deficit. In a big survey conducted with Gallup and released today, Google found a range of dysfunctional reasons more K-12 students aren’t learning computer science skills. Perhaps the most surprising: schools don’t think the demand from parents and students is there.

Maybe computer science isn’t action-packed enough for some kids. But a specialized area of computer science — IT security — might just pique their interest, and jobs in that sector are growing faster than they can be filled.

The secret to bridging the gap?  Dr. Arosha Bandara at IT Portal says it’s all about education: 

One thing that is clear is that attackers will not stand still and wait for the workers to catch up, so it is crucial that there is a competent and educated pipeline of individuals ready to enter the market. The industry will undoubtedly continue to grow, so it is necessary to have an education system that is responsive to industry’s needs. It would seem to be a no brainer that companies should look to prioritise training in order to mentor future graduates and provide internships for potential employees. By providing an avenue through which to mentor students, companies can create their own pipeline for the future and help entice students to the profession.

Keeping with our education theme this week, we found some solid online safety tips for students from IT security firm ESET: 

For kids, returning to school these days means using mobile devices and computers to stay connected to the Internet as their primary source of information. As such, it’s important that parents and teachers are aware both of the risks associated with the incorrect use of this tool and the way to protect themselves while surfing the internet in order to benefit from the technology in a safe manner.

Sharing photos, videos, status updates, messages and other types of information are part of daily life for children and teenagers, and when they return to school their smartphone usage is only bound to increase. As such, parents need to be more attentive to ensure appropriate use of the internet by their children, while teachers need to teach their pupils about healthy use of the technology.

And how about a little disruptive technology for lunch? Delivery app Peach announced this week it will be expanding. Instead of going to the school cafeteria for lunch, savvy students in the not-so-distant future might be bringing the cafeteria to them. The New York Times’ Bits blog breaks it down: 

Restaurants decide what selections they will offer through Peach in a given week, and Peach creates a weekly menu that it delivers to users via text message. Users can order all their lunches for a week, or they can order on the morning of the day they wish to have lunch at their desks.

That’s it for this week, thanks for reading. As always, if you see a tech story that you would like to share, please send it to blog@rackspace.com.

Rack Blogger is our catchall blog byline, subbed in when a Racker author moves on, or used when we publish a guest post. You can email Rack Blogger at blog@rackspace.com.

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