How I Spent My E-Summer

The summer of '99 may be remembered for being hot and dry. But it was also the time we first started hearing about teenagers landing lucrative summer jobs in the high-technology industry.

Their numbers are still small among the 6 million students who work between school terms. But accounts of 16- or 17-year-olds earning $15,000 for three months of programming, or devising marketing plans for new Internet products, tell us something about economic trends.

It's easy to get carried away and predict that somewhere among these super-motivated kids is the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs.

But let's step back for a moment. With the "e" prefix becoming ubiquitous, one could wonder whether the era of computer pioneers is already over. But it's just as easy to wonder whether we haven't seen anything yet.

Certainly the very fact of computer-savvy youngsters landing high-paying summer jobs is another indication of how commonplace digital technology has become - "My kid's programming for the summer, what else is new?"

The lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer seems a distant refrain amid the hum of processors and the click of mouses. Will the day come when the teen flipping burgers or mowing lawns will grab our attention as a novelty?

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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