Millennials are NOT good at computers! I’m tired of hearing about how they grew up with computers and technology is second nature to them. Furthermore, the idea that being a Millennial automatically qualifies them for technology-related jobs is absurd. Once you here my logic, I’m sure you’ll agree.
They Grew Up With Computers
So kids born in say the mid-90s forward most likely had a computer in their house with access to an Internet connection. I know hearing dial up tones today gives me a wave of nostalgia. However, even in this primordial age of the Internet, operating systems were becoming very user friendly. At this point users didn’t need to know the details of how a computer works in order to use it.
I grew up in the 80s when my first interaction with a computer was through the command line. A command line interface gives you a sense of the operation of a computer that you just don’t get with a modern OS like Windows. You need to know the file system structure to navigate, access programs, and save data. With Windows you can just save files anywhere. I still see this today in cases where users save virtually everything to the desktop or their “documents” folder with no further organization.
This foundational knowledge of computers is no longer taught in schools unless students take specialized computer science classes. What is RAM, how does a hard drive work, how do you install an operating system? This is basic knowledge that every user should know akin to knowing how to change a car tire or drive a stick shift. Oh wait. Most Millennials don’t know how to do that either.
“Hey. Jackson is on the Internet all the time. I bet he could design our website!” OK. I have a confession. That’s exactly how I got started …. but that doesn’t mean it is a sound strategy to trust your business’s online presence to someone with no design experience or knowledge of even basic coding. Luckily, I had taken a web design course in college so I knew enough HTML to be dangerous. The rest of my knowledge came from a crash course in marketing via countless Google searches, reading books on marketing, and attending conferences and trade shows.
Just because someone is on social media (Facebook, Instagram, etc.) doesn’t mean they automatically know how to effectively market on those networks. Furthermore, there are policies for businesses that need to be followed on those sites and even laws that may apply in your areas. I see the CAN-SPAM Act being ignored by small businesses all the time. This can add up quickly if these violations lead to fines. Each separate email in violation of the law is subject to penalties of up to $16,000!
Don’t believe me that Millennials are not tech Jedi? Here’s some articles and studies to back up my claim.
- Nearly six out of 10 millennials can't do basic tasks such as sorting, searching for and emailing data from a spreadsheet.
- And millennials’ technology problem isn’t limited to functions like emailing and creating spreadsheets. Researchers have found that a lot of young adults can’t even use Google correctly. One study of college students found that only seven out of 30 knew how to conduct a “well-executed” Google search.
- A downfall to this technology immersion is impaired interpersonal skills. Although millennials are more globally accepting (thanks to multiple social media outlets), it can be hard for them to connect to the individual standing five feet away from them.
You might not agree with me on this, and maybe I’m just cynical. Depending on what study you read, I might even be classified as a Millennial (the horror!). I disagree with this mainly on the basis that the technology we generally associate with Millennials wasn’t readily accessible when I was growing up. There is hope. Millennials have it pretty rough compared to Boomers and Gen Xers. Rising costs of education, housing, etc. and stagnant incomes have led to a generation that is actually pretty good a saving money and budgeting. Hopefully, that will translate into the business skills they need to succeed.