Confessions of a Digital Native
Fall 2018 | By Erin Fender
Anuj Patel is a true digital native. Anuj is part of Generation Z, the first generation to grow up with technology in ways that no previous generation has had before. A generation that has always known the internet and smartphones. A generation to grow up with tablets and screen time from toddlerhood. It’s no surprise that Patel has a passion for technology and a dream to work within this field.
“I chose this major because of the idea of how I can help the world with technology. I tend to help others before myself and with my passion for technology, I can help others with technological advancements to make their everyday life easier and more efficient,” Anuj says.
With parents having backgrounds in medical and textile engineering, choosing computer science as a major and math as a minor was a much different path than his family took.
“At first, my family (except my sister, who’s currently pursuing a medical degree) wasn’t too fond of me pursuing a degree in computer science, but once they realized the vast number of things I can accomplish with this degree, they soon accepted my choice,” says Anuj.
Anuj’s curiosities in technology formed at a young age when a chance opportunity to help build a digital footprint for his town’s local high school that allowed him to experience web development first hand.
“I was sparked by technology at the end of my eighth-grade school year,” Anuj shares. “I realized that I was already ahead of the crowd when it came to building and maintaining websites.”
Now in his junior year at Clayton State University, Anuj’s interests are focused on data analysis and software development. With internships on the horizon, he hopes to continue to build on his experiences that have shaped his career path.
“A goal of mine through internships is to build my skills while also building my network for future job opportunities and for others,” Anuj says.
In addition to his fascination with technology, Anuj also enjoys connecting with others through service.
“I volunteer my time to keep myself busy. In the past, I have worked with Habitat for Humanity, as well as spent a vast amount of time with my local community back in my hometown, Cochran, Georgia,” Patel says. “For the past seven years on my birthday, I have also devoted my time to volunteer for at least half of the day.”
Besides academics, Anuj’s schedule is packed with extracurricular activities. He is a student athlete for Clayton State’s cross country and track teams, a Presidential Scholar, Honors Program participant, Student Athlete Advisory Committee member, and works as a tutor in the Center for Academic Success.
For this tech guru’s future, Patel’s not sweating the little things and is just taking one day at a time.
“Ultimately, my dream is to be successful, by starting my own empire,” Anuj says. “I want to learn and do as much as I can just to become a better role model to those who look up to me.”
Up and coming Generation Z was born between 1998 and 2016. With the oldest members at age 20, they are quickly becoming the change agents influencing how we interact with technology and each other.
1 Realistic vs optimistic
Seventy-seven percent of Generation Z expect to work harder than previous generations. Generation Z will be realistic thanks to their skeptical and straight-shooting Generation X parents and growing up in a recession.
2 Digital natives vs digital pioneers
Forty-percent of Generation Z said that working Wi-Fi was more important to them than working bathrooms. According to Pew Research, only 14 percent of U.S. adults had access to the Internet in 1995, but by 2014, 87 percent had access. Millennials were pioneers in the digital age. Generation Z did not witness these innovations, but rather, they were born into it.
3 Face-to-face vs digital-only
Seventy-four percent of Generation Z prefer to communicate face-to-face with colleagues. Equipped with their experience communicating using full sight, sound, and motion over Skype, FaceTime, Snapchat, etc., Generation Z is positioned as the ideal generation to finally strike the right balance between online and offline workplace communications.
4 - Role-hopping vs job-hopping
Seventy-five percent of Generation Z would be interested in a situation in which they could have multiple roles within one place of employment. Generation Z won't want to miss out on any valuable experience and will want to flex their on-demand learning muscle by trying out various roles or projects (marketing, accounting, human resources, etc.) inside of the organization.
5 Global citizen vs global spectator
Fifty-eight percent of adults worldwide ages 35+ agree that "kids today have more in common with their global peers than they do with adults in their own country." Generation Z interacts with their global peers with greater fluidity than any other generation. As more of the world comes online, geographies will continue to shrink causing Generation Z to view themselves as global citizens.
Data pulled from Business Insider magazine.