If you are looking to start a career in STEM, are you thinking about retraining or you are here to understand what the acronym means, you are in the right place! Read on as we share five tips for pursuing a profitable STEM career, as well as five reasons to seriously consider a STEM career path.
What is National STEM Day?
- It’s a day to celebrate STEM subjects, otherwise known as science, technology, engineering and math.
- It falls on November 8th.
- It is an opportunity to help people (including young children) focus on progressing in STEM subjects.
STEM employment and the gender gap today
Of the 50 million employed college graduates aged 25-64 in the United States in 2019, 37% earned a science or engineering degree. However, only 14% worked in a STEM-based career, according to the Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey.
Less than a third (28%) of STEM-educated workers actually have STEM jobs.
Furthermore, there is still a very real gender gap within STEMs. Only 35% of the people taking basic STEM subjects are women and the breakdown by specific disciplines is even more dominated by men. Only 19% of students studying computer science and the same number taking engineering and technology subjects are women.
This disparity survives within the workforce, with only 24% of the STEM workforce being women. This figure is even more overwhelming within senior leadership positions, with only 5% of CEOs in tech startups being women.
Why the STEM gender gap?
- There are many reasons for this, but harmful stereotypes within schools and at home can lead to the expectation that kids are better at science and math.
- Research has found that 92% of boys and 97% of girls will lose interest in STEM if they are not immersed before fifth grade, so if early experiences aren’t enough, it can have a long-term impact.
- Although times are changing, there is still a perception in some cultures that education is even more important for boys than for girls.
Why pursue a STEM career?
1. You can earn a murder!
A STEM career can have a positive impact on your bank account! While your bachelor’s degree in science, technology, engineering, and math doesn’t guarantee you a career in the same disciplines, it can mean you’ll earn a higher paycheck than if you graduated from other subjects.
STEM workers who graduated from a STEM field in college typically earn an average of $ 101,100 per year versus $ 87,600 earned by those who did not.
2. Show off your creativity
STEM subjects usually can’t be considered creative as more humanistic subjects, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t!
If you enjoy being creative and excel at STEM, there are many career choices that would be perfect for you. For example, being a product designer or graphic designer, architect or sound engineer might be a natural choice. If your child is in school and starting to think about career choices, talking to a career counselor can really help.
3. Change the world
If you are interested in working to combat climate change and support sustainability, then a STEM career might be the one for you. For example, you could learn how to create new technologies that offer alternatives to plastics, design electric cars, or research sustainable energy sources.
The subjects can give you a different view of the world and the tools to respond to the real-world challenges that affect us all.
4. Growing demand for work
Even in an uncertain economy, STEM careers seem like a pretty safe bet. The Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the United States Department of Labor Statistics (BLS), examines the fastest growing occupations. Each career is assigned a percentage score that outlines the expected growth rate in the period 2021-2031. Many STEM careers feature on the list of the top 20 fastest growing jobs, including:
- Professional Nurses (46%) – Median $ 120,680 per year
- Wind Turbine Service Technicians (44%) – Median $ 56,260 per year
- Film Screeners (40%) – Median $ 29,350 per year
- Data scientist (36%) – Median $ 100,910 per year
- Information Security Analysts (35%) – Median $ 102,600 per year
5. Learn transferable skills
Of course, while it would be difficult to go from being a mathematician to a product designer without additional training, there are often fundamental principles that can be transferred. For example, problem solving and technical skills. STEM subjects also tend to be universal languages that allow teams around the world to collaborate.
Tips for pursuing a STEM career
1. Look for learning opportunities
Here at Envato, we are passionate about doing everything we can to engage more people in STEM subjects and abolish the harmful gender gap! That’s why we launched our Apprentice Developer Program in 2017, which aims to carve career paths for women in the technology industry and help women engineers build long and successful engineering careers.
“At Envato, we are training engineers who will serve as role models for future generations. It’s a big investment for Envato and has so far produced some excellent engineers who have graduated from the program. “
Mario Visic, mentor of the program
So what is the Envato Developer Apprentice program actually? It offers apprentices the chance to have a high-quality hands-on experience, with a focus on real-world activities.
This includes contributing to Envato teams and projects in the first six weeks and eventually becoming a junior developer. If you are a woman who is considering entering the tech industry, check it out!
You can also explore our professional positions available here.
2. Take free courses
As an alternative to a degree (which isn’t realistic or doable for everyone), there are a multitude of free and paid programming courses online.
If dojo scheduling, hackathons, or weekend study and scheduling groups are your bag, there are plenty of ways you can test the water and learn as you go.
You can also find courses that match your current skills and follow your own pace as you learn from home.
3. Try to defeat the impostor syndrome
A staggering 70% of people feel insecure and unworthy of their achievements, according to the International Journal of Behavioral Science. Additionally, this feeling is even more common among women in STEM careers.
It’s easier said than done, but overcoming impostor syndrome can start with understanding that these feelings are very normal, but try to reframe your thoughts: be aware of your impostor syndrome but don’t let yourself be dominated.
4. Think outside the box
If you are considering a career in STEM, remember that your future job may not exist yet! If more traditional roles don’t fill you with excitement, try instead to make a list of all the things they do and match them to your skills and strengths.
A few decades ago, you may not have thought that jobs as robotic engineers, green energy creators, or smart home designers would enter the mainstream. Now let’s not blink!
5. Look for role models
If you are already working in STEM now or have your eyes on a career, try to find someone who is older for you and ask him how he did it or if he would be a mentor for you. Learning more about their journey can help influence and guide yours.
Happy national STEM day everyone!
We will be celebrating on November 8, but we will also continue to do everything we can to close the gender gap every day of the year! For more information, find out how to get more out of women in STEM and how to chart a career in engineering.