It’s never too early to be on the hunt for the right educational program to ensure a proper future for yourself or your child. However, if you’ve stumbled upon a term of a STEM degree while surfing different college and university programs, you may have gotten confused. Don’t worry, we wrote an article that breaks down the meaning behind STEM and why it attached so much popularity in recent years.
What is STEM?
STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. It’s a broad scientific term that caters to high school graduates with interest in science, engineering, technology or another natural discipline. It catered a lot of attention and interest over the last few years, but it wasn’t always like that.
Over a decade ago, educators, as well as industry analysts, noticed that high school graduates weren’t attracted to STEM fields and that many college-entering students showed interest in artistic and social studies such as business, law, economics and more. It was a similar situation in the field of jobs. There was no strong workforce interest in STEM areas. Eventually, the problem required so much attention that it reached legal fields.
That led to the adoption of the America COMPETES Act of 2007, which aims to provide support for educational and workforce development and promote STEM disciplines. In this article, we’ll cover all of those degrees, as well as scholarship opportunities and preparation necessary to enroll in one of these programs.
Types of STEM programs that are high in demand
There are various types of STEM degree programs, and as such students and parents may notice they don’t have equal requirements. Most of the STEM programs may be extremely tasking for students, but some subjects stand out in being more challenging than others. More importantly, there are some STEM programs that offer better career opportunities and development.
When we look at the job offers and deals, we will see that the computing, engineering and IT-related programs are the most in-demand, also more favored by employers than the others. Specifically, many companies and organizations are looking for students who’re well-versed with computer networking, database administration, system administration and analysis and more. Aside from that, software engineering, which combines Technology and Engineering aspects of STEM are also high in demand.
That said, students who successfully complete and graduate majors from computer science, informational technologies, and software engineering have the best career opportunities as opposed to other STEM disciplines. It’s worth noting that majors like mathematics, physics, life sciences, and other natural sciences usually lead students to embark on the journey of researching and working at academic institutions instead.
That can get extremely difficult because there are so many people looking for a research job that it can be really hard to choose and conditions aren’t as great as in the technology sector. Mathematics, chemistry, physics and other natural science graduates have a tough time competing with one another to get the job position at a research center.
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Breakdown of STEM disciplines
Despite the difficulty in finding a job for researchers, the jobs are extremely high-paying. If you can’t decide which discipline you should pick, we’ll breakdown the acronym into small units and explain what each of them represents.
The “S” in STEM stands for sciences, particularly natural science and formal science. Natural science stands for biology, chemistry, physics, environmental science, while formal science refers to maths, probability, and statistics. There are many jobs related to these disciplines and most of them are connected to academic and research institutions. People employed within fieldwork as lab technicians conducting experiments and more. They also work as teachers, teaching assistants, researchers, and more.
The field of technology is broader. It focuses on producing goods via computer or hardware, as well as making software and completing various technological milestones. The most popular forms of technology are information and computer technology and it continues to grow exponentially. The technology is a wide field, there are information technology, computer science, computer networks, cybersecurity, digital forensics and more. Most of these jobs work with exploring the network for exploits, crafting and testing code, project software architectures and more.
There’s a bit of engineering in every field, it refers to the design and development of various items like buildings, roads, infrastructure, machines, computer and even software in combination with technology. It in a way is science applied practically. Mechanical engineering is one of the most popular fields as well as electrical engineering. There’s also biomedical engineering which comes with great salary and development opportunities. Biomedical engineering is an ever-growing methodology, due to the development of robots and nano-doctors.
Mathematics doesn’t have a universal definition, but it’s essential to all the aforementioned fields for optimal functioning. There are different fields in mathematics like analysis, linear algebra, arithmetic, the study of numbers, geometry, trigonometry and more. Currently, the most popular field of mathematics is applied mathematics which also brings forward other fields of STEM. Jobs in mathematics are mostly revolving around teaching and statistics. The latter is especially popular because of the rising trend of Data Science and Business Intelligence.
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How to prepare for a STEM education program?
To enroll in the program, you need to be a successful candidate. Many high schools today are geared in a way to enable students to prepare for a STEM degree. Students should engage in extracurricular activities in math, engineering, science and more and consult with their tutors. Summer activities and workshops could also enhance their chances of being accepted.
The final decision may be hard if a student is particularly interested in multiple scientific activities. However, by the time it’s time to enroll in a postsecondary education program, the student should already know what degree they want to get and what kind of job they want to do in the future. We hope this article helped distinguish different fields within STEM and prepare for admission.