“Just Do It,” Generation Z!

just-do-it-0316Being introduced to this “secret” industry just over a year ago, I am able to get the feel for where it currently is and where it can be. Granted, I am new to the AV world and still have a lot to learn as to where it was, I do recognize it has many open spots for the generations to come. This wonderful industry should not be “stumbled upon,” as many have admitted to me, but should be brought into the spotlight more especially to the generation with technology born into their veins. To clarify and with many loose definitions on the web, I define Generation Y to be born between 1977-1994 and Generation Z to be born between 1995-2012. Speaking as a half Gen Y and half Gen Z-er (technically part of Gen Y), I can attest to Gen Z’s ambition for their future and success in technology. As the last of my fellow millennials have already found their career pathways and are finishing their studies, the next runner up would be the kids of iGen. It would not be a bad idea to keep us millennials in mind, particularly the ones ready to work in the field, but iGen has a lot to offer to an industry they are not aware exists. With their innate tech savviness, Generation Z can be the ones who work just as fast as the “speed of light” technological changes. We need to recognize this, embrace it and educate them on their potential to succeed in this industry.

From my personal experience in the AV world, I have seen the experts in the field doing a tremendous job of bringing awareness to not only the need for the younger generation, but finding genuine ways as to how to bring a talented group of kids into what I feel is a hidden gem of an industry (Many thanks! Sincerely, Gen Y). Where the AV industry lacks presence is in high schools. These digital natives are not afraid of technology, so do not scare them away with boring PowerPoints! With live music becoming more visual over the years, having the need for the biggest baddest video walls and most impressive sound, we need to realize most of the younger generation will find its way into this industry if not through us than through the festivals they crave for. Generation Z are willing to sacrifice an arm and a leg to experience the technology we already work with in person. Speaking as one of those who has not only been able to experience these fast years of technological change but also become attracted to it prior to knowing my path of studies, I find that this market place needs to be more tapped into in order to spark Gen Z’s current passion about technology as a career.

The trending topic to tackle is the how. I myself focus on finding the answer to this question and would like to keep the conversation rolling. Reading through the Star Wars Guide to Recruiting New Talent, I pay close attention to the why’s and the how’s. A statement that I could not agree with more is to get Gen Z’s attention. Why? Because they are used to the instant feedback of technology and do not settle for anything less. With information at their fingertips, their expectations for instant feedback are high. This can be a blessing or a curse. Through my experience in my computer science and web development classes, I also paid attention to the reasoning behind this strong value my classmates had. They know if their webpage does not respond in three seconds, there is technical problems that need to be fixed ASAP. Gen Z (and Gen Y) understand the value of the technological process behind it and if they can not get this instant feedback, some argue they would be able to do it better and faster. Their “short attention spans” do not just stop at their personal impatience, because Gen Z knows if someone else cannot do it, they will gladly take it into their own hands and morph it into something better. Of course this can translate into having impatience in other work related traits, but most are starting to realize not to fall into this pit hole of anxiety. And do not worry about the slackers who are truly lazy, sitting behind their smart phones obsessing over YouTube… Shia LaBeouf reminds them to “Just Do It.” The sloths will stop dreaming up of their success and go work hard at it. “Nothing is impossible.”

I stand by the fact that this generation can use this technology to their best abilities if the AV industry continues to show them what can actually be done. 76 percent of Generation Z wish their hobbies would turn into full-time jobs, so why not fuel that desire? The young generation has to the tools and the current generation working in the field has the knowledge; we might as well merge them.

Feel free to comment in the section below to help us brainstorm the best ideas to attract Generation Z into our AV industry!

Victoria Barela

About Victoria Barela

Victoria Barela is a recent graduate of Columbia College Chicago with a degree in Live and Installed Sound. Her interests consist of just about anything audio and coding. After enrolling in an audiovisual course taught by Jeremy Caldera and experiencing InfoComm 2015 at Orlando, her love for audio and coding merged. Even though she is new to the AV industry, this does not stop Victoria from being a CTS holder and being recognized as one of SCN's 2015 Class of the Nine. Ambitious and ready to represent the new generation coming into the industry, Victoria is ready to share her AV experiences and findings as a new Crew member of the AV Power Up! rAVe radio podcast. Tune in and reach her at victoria.barela3@gmail.com or on Twitter @barelAVictoria_.