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Technical boys and creative girls: The career aspirations of digitally skilled youths

Digital technology is increasingly central to our lives, particularly among young people. However, there remains a concern from government and businesses of a digital skills gap because many youths, especially girls, tend to be consumers rather than creators of technology. Drawing on 32 semi-structured interviews with digitally skilled teenagers (aged 13-19), this article investigates their digital career aspirations and examines how identities and discourses of gender can interact with the type of digital careers that are of interest to these youths. While it was found that digitally skilled young people still articulate traditional gendered discourses of digital competence, especially around technical abilities, the growing importance of creativity as a career pathway into digital technology is highlighted. Implications of the findings are discussed in relation to the new computing curriculum in England, which prioritises technical computing skills, and the discontinuation of information and communications technology (ICT), which facilitates a broader usage of software and digital productivity.