I manage a hospitality IT team.
Teamwork... seeing a problem, the team coming together and fixing the problem. Then celebration of the team for fixing the problem. Working with the business to determine how IT can help. Whether it is helping increase revenue, making someone's job easier, or just getting someone excited about a new feature. Watching the team take ownership of their areas. Being proud of what they do and enjoy doing it.
Here's the first step for middle school students
Math, Science and Technology passion. If you love doing math problems - that is what information technology is all about.
"Why wouldn't you stay with that job that pays you so well? You are going to quit and do what? Do not walk away from graduate school - you are just foolish. You have no experience in that --why would you ever be a success at it?"