The Google Blog recently had a post about what they are looking for in an applicant's educational background. Their answer to "What are we looking for?"
At the highest level, they are looking for non-routine problem-solving abilities.They want people with the following skills: analytical reasoning, communication skills, a willingness to experiment, team players, passion and leadership.
Their advice for what a student should take in school is:
It's easy to educate for the routine, and hard to educate for the novel. Keep in mind that many required skills will change: developers today code in something called Python, but when I was in school C was all the rage. The need for reasoning, though, remains constant, so we believe in taking the most challenging courses in core disciplines: math, sciences, humanities.Point your students to this page when they ask what classes they should take. (Maybe your school counselors too.)
And then keep on challenging yourself, because learning doesn't end with graduation.
[Image: Flickr: "365:Prarie Dog":Uploaded on April 9, 2007 by Speshul Ted: http://www.flickr.com/photos/speshulted/452968691/: Creative Commons]