Factors Influencing IT Career Choice Behaviors of First-generation College Students

2020 Americas Conference on Information Systems / August 2020

Information technology (IT) field is a potential source of economic advancement for college graduates, but in the IT workforce the representation of minority student populations is disproportionally low. The underrepresentation of minority students in IT workforce is further compounded by their first-generation student (FGS) status, as Latino and African American students account for the majority of the FGS population. Our knowledge about these underrepresented student populations’ career choice behaviors is limited. This qualitative research adopts social capital theory as a sensitizing framework for understanding the influences and the resources valued by the minority FGS in their career choice decisions. A preliminary analysis revealed four influencing factors, including social capital, technical capital, perceived job opportunities, and interests. This research can contribute to expanding the IT workforce diversity and inclusiveness. The paper concludes with implications for IS careers of the FGS population and the next steps of the research project.