Less than a third of US students feel prepared to use AI (28%) or cybersecurity (24%) in their life and career, despite four in 10 (42%) being keen to pursue a career in the sector, a newly-published report from IBM and Morning Consult has found.
Analysing the impact of AI in the classroom, the study found that more than half (54%) of respondents are interested in emerging technologies such as AI, cybersecurity and cloudd computing, while approximately half would like to learn more about AI (50%) and cybersecurity (47%).
Those who cited interest in pursuing these technologies professionally owed it to the pervasive nature of tech in our society and economy (53%), while 46% said their interest was because these jobs pay well.
On the other hand, four in 10 (42%) US students have no interest in emerging tech fields, claiming they don’t find it exciting or engaging, while almost a quarter (24%) said they do not understand these fields of study.
AI was the subject in which students claimed to hold the most comprehensive knowledge, but they generally reported not having received much or even any training in any emerging tech. While 35% said they had received a great deal or some technical training in cybersecurity, just 23% said the same for AI and 20% for cloud technology and services.
This particularly resonates because 60% of students believe that AI and cybersecurity will have a significant impact on their lives, but that many do not feel properly equipped to use it in a professional sense or otherwise.
Grace Suh, VP of IBM Education, commented: “Many well-paying, competitive jobs are in growing STEM fields; jobs that will soon be filled by Generation Z who are currently teenagers and are very aware of how important it is to know about technology. But our findings show that many of these young people feel vastly under-prepared to work with emerging technologies like AI, cloud and cybersecurity, which is why it’s our responsibility to ensure both students and teachers – especially from those under-resourced schools – have the opportunity to build their skills in these growing careers.”