The High Demand for STEM Careers

March 08, 2016 mokeefe

One of the most significant employment trends over the last couple of decades is the rise in demand for positions within the aggregate field of STEM, an acronym for science, technology, engineering, and math. The expansion of this field has drastically influenced the evolution of educational curriculum and has set the trend for the most common programs of study in colleges and universities. Because of the raid and continuous expansion of the field, more jobs than ever are now available within the STEM disciplines.

Why the rise in STEM?

The STEM field is at the forefront of innovation, which is to say, it is has the biggest impact on the progress of the future. In today's digital age, nearly all industries have been globalized, which drives both the pace of and competition for advancements and breakthroughs. Additionally, the speed of progress in a drastically changing world demands that many large-scale issues be explored immediately and thoroughly: climate change, population patterns, disease control, etc. In short, STEM-related jobs are in such high demand because they are the jobs that most immediately and significantly impact how the future will unfold.

What types of jobs are available?

Not surprisingly, the STEM jobs in highest demand are in the computer sciences, with applications software developers, computer user support specialists, and computer programmers at the top of the list. Jobs that call for complex data analysis are also on the rise, including market research analysts, cost estimators, and informatics specialists. Engineers (chemical, electrical, industrial, mechanical, etc.) have always been and continue to be in high demand, but environmental engineers specifically are in increasingly high demand as of recently. Likewise, while jobs in the health sciences have always been easy to come by, newer positions such as dietetics technicians, microbiologists, and health and safety engineers are also on the rise.

What are the best STEM-related programs of study?

Data across the board suggest that earning a degree in Information Technology, Computer Systems Networking and Telecommunications, Computer Programming, Computer and Information Systems Security, or Commuter and Information Sciences will ensure both job security and a competitive salary. These programs typically require a four-year Bachelor's degree, but sometimes an Associate's degree is sufficient for entry-level positions. Engineering still dominates the degrees being earned within the STEM field and new jobs are still being created for engineers rapidly. Biological and Physical Science is also a solid four-year degree to pursue in preparation for a future in medicine, research, or data analysis, but most jobs within the realm of biology do require advanced degrees. Biotechnology or Laboratory Technology, Horticulture, Chemical Technology, and Physics are all degrees that consistently lead to employment within the discipline.

Why is a STEM background an immediate resume booster?

STEM careers directly boost the economy because they emphasize progress and results, and therefore candidates with STEM-based education and experience on their resumes are attractive to companies aiming for economic success. The United States is looked to and must set the standard for global leadership, which means prioritizing employees who can make companies and organizations more competitive and relevant globally, a central aim of many STEM industries. And, of course, on the simplest level, STEM fields emphasize critical thinking, empiricism, meaningful data analysis, and production--skills relevant to just about every job imaginable.

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