This post isn't cad/bim/fm specific, but, I feel the issue encompasses those fields so I'll go ahead and post my little opinion piece here.
As I've noted, I have been a student at Saint Louis University since 2008. I'd originally wanted to complete a degree in Mechanical Engineering, but, there were no engineering degrees offered through the night school. Instead I opted for a coursework in computer science and management. Half of my classes came from the computer science track, the other half have been organizational studies.
In the Organizational Studies courses I have had, I am used to helping out a little with the technology side of thing, either setting up the projector for the teacher or giving the other students advice on what tools to use and how to use them. It's sort of what I do in school, and, heck, even working in an office full of engineers, I'm called upon to do it.
Even in the Computer Science classes, the majority of students are women and the average age is probably 45.
At 28-31, I've definitely been on the younger end of the spectrum, just like I am at work and in my social group in our neighborhood. In other words, I don't have many friends my age or younger, except those that I've had for more years than I'd care to count, which should help explain my sense of shock.
I must have some misconceptions about the world today.
For my final course, I am working on an extensive group project that accounts for our grade. I suggested that we use Google Docs, for sharing efficiency and for breaking down the papers into manageable chunks, which we could divvy up amongst ourselves. I did not think it was a big deal that 3 of my 4 group-mates hadn't ever used it before, since Google Docs is so simple to use, if you've used a web browser and MS Office.
Evidently I was wrong.
I ended up bringing my laptop to class to demonstrate the use of google docs and make changes to our papers during class.
At one point, the oldest member of our group asked me if I could fix her computer. I advised her to take it to a professional since I hadn't taken apart laptops before.
Then, the youngest member of our group commented that I'm obviously one of those techy people, and how she hates it at work that all of the old people assume she understands how to use computers and software just because she's young, and went on to say that she was too busy being outside playing when she was younger to care about computers.
That's what techy people are? Adults who used to be kids who sat inside all day and didn't play outdoors?
So, the reason I am shocked here, is not because people in general have a misconception of those with technical skills, but, really, because someone around my age has those misconceptions. I mean, I can understand it from my Mother's generation a little, but, I really thought the world was more enlightened and accurate these days.
I posted about my guidance counselor back in high school advising me to put my math and logic skills to use as an accountant, but, again, she came from a different generation with the ideas of gender roles and as I had no real strong opinions myself ~shrug~. In the 10 years that the AUGI Salary Survey has been running, female participation has stayed steadily near 15%.
But, gender issues notwithstanding, I am really shocked to hear a young person imply that techy people aren't normal. I thought techy was mainstream enough these days?
But, no, computer geeks and engineers et al are evidently basement-dwelling oddballs.
Obviously, WE know that's not true, don't we, faithful reader?
We see the foursquare checkins from our fellow geeks at exotic locales and admire the flickr streams that show where they've been hiking, biking and boating, and follow the progress of their marathon training on facebook and google+.
We know that we're not just good with tech because we sit at home with nothing better to do, we are good with tech because it's something we're passionate about, just like all of our other fascinating hobbies.