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How to (and Why You Should!) Pursue an Incredible STEM Career

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Read Time: 6 min

Whether you’re looking to launch a career in STEM, are considering retraining, or are here to work out what the acronym even means, you’re in the right place! Read on as we share five top tips for pursuing a fruitful 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’s an opportunity to help people (including young children) focus on advancing in STEM subjects.
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The STEM Employment and Gender Gap Today

Among the 50 million employed college graduates aged 25-64 in the U.S. in 2019, 37% have taken a bachelor’s degree in science or engineering. 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 a STEM job.

What’s more, there is still a very real gender gap within STEM. Only 35% of people taking core STEM subjects are women and the breakdown per specific disciplines is even more male-dominated. Just 19% of students taking computer science and the same number taking engineering & technology subjects are women.

This disparity lives on within the workforce, with only 24% of the STEM workforce being women. This figure is even more damning within senior leaderships positions, with only 5% of CEOs in tech start-ups 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 boys are better at science and maths.
  • Research has found that 92% of boys and 97% of girls will lose interest in STEM if they’re not immersed before 5th grade so if early experiences fall short, it can have a long-term impact.
  • Although times are changing, there are still perceptions in some cultures that education is still more important for boys than girls.

Why Pursue a STEM Career?

1. You Can Earn a Killing!

A STEM career can have a positive impact on your bank balance! Although majoring in science, technology, engineering, and math does not guarantee you’ll secure a career in the same disciplines, it can mean you’ll get a higher pay packet than if you majored in other subjects.

STEM workers who majored in a STEM field in college typically make an average of $101,100 per year vs $87,600 made by those who didn’t.

2. Flex Your Creativity

STEM subjects may not usually be considered as creative as more humanities-led topics, but that doesn’t mean they’re not!

If you enjoy being creative and you excel in STEM, there are plenty of career choices that would be perfect for you. For example, being a product or graphic designer, an architect, or a sound engineer could be a natural fit. If your child is at school and beginning to think about career choices, then speaking to a careers advisor can really help.

women in creative engineering jobwomen in creative engineering jobwomen in creative engineering job

3. Change the World

If you’re interested in working to combat climate change and support sustainability, then a STEM career may be the one for you. For example, you could learn how to create new technologies that offer alternatives to plastic, design electric cars, or research sustainable energy sources.

The subjects can give you a different outlook on the world and the tools to respond to real-world challenges that affect all of us.

4. Growing Job Demand

Even in an uncertain economy, STEM careers seem like a pretty safe bet. The Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics (BLS), looks at the fastest growing occupations. Each career is given a percentage score outlining the expected growth rate between 2021-2031. Many STEM careers feature within the list of the top 20 fastest-growing jobs, including:

  • Nurse practitioners (46%) - Median $120,680 per year
  • Wind turbine service technicians (44%) - Median $56,260 per year
  • Motion picture projectionists (40%) - Median $29,350 per year
  • Data scientists (36%) - Median $100,910 per year
  • Information security analysts (35%) - Median $102,600 per year

5. Learn Transferable Skills

Of course, although it would be tricky to jump from being a mathematician to a product designer with no additional training, there are often core principles that can be transferred. For example, problem-solving and technical skill. STEM subjects also tend to be universal languages that enable teams from around the world to collaborate.

Tips For Pursuing a STEM Career

1. Look Out for Learning Opportunities

Here at Envato, we’re passionate about doing everything we can to get more people into STEM subjects, and abolish the harmful gender gap! It’s why we launched our Apprentice Developer Program back in 2017, which aims to carve out career pathways for women in tech and help female engineers to build long, successful engineering careers.

“At Envato, we’re training up engineers who will serve as role models to future generations. It’s a big investment for Envato, and so far has produced some excellent engineers who have graduated from the program.”

Mario Visic, Program Mentor

So, what actually is the Envato Developer Apprentice Program? It offers apprentices the chance to take on a high-quality, hands-on experience, with a focus on real-world tasks.

This includes contributing to Envato teams and projects within their first six weeks and eventually becoming a junior developer. If you’re a woman thinking about entering the tech industry, check it out!

You can also explore our available career positions here.

envato team imagesenvato team imagesenvato team images

2. Take Free Courses

As an alternative to a university degree (which isn’t realistic or feasible for everyone), there are a multitude of free and paid coding courses online.

Whether coding dojos, hackathons, or weekend study and coding groups are your bag, there are loads of ways you can test the water and learn as you go.

You can find courses to match your current skillset too and go at your own pace while learning from home.

3. Try To Beat Imposter Syndrome

An incredible 70% of people feel insecure and unworthy of their accomplishments, according to the International Journal of Behavioral Science. What’s more, this feeling is even more common among women in STEM careers.

It’s easier said than done, but overcoming imposter syndrome can start with understanding these feelings are very normal but try to reframe your thoughts—be aware of your imposter syndrome but don’t let it rule you.

4. Think Outside The Box

If you’re considering a career in STEM, remember that your job of the future may not even exist yet! If the more traditional roles don’t fill you with excitement, then instead try to make a list of all the things that do and match them to your own skills and strengths.

A few decades ago, you may not have thought jobs like Robotic Engineers, Green Power Creators, or Smart Home Designers would have entered the mainstream. Now we don’t batter an eyelid!

5. Look for Role Models

Whether you’re already working in STEM now or have your sights set on a career, try to find someone who is senior to you and ask them how they did it or if they’d be a mentor to you. Learning more about their journey can help influence and guide yours.

Happy National STEM Day Everyone!

We’ll be celebrating on November 8th but will also continue to do everything we can to close the gender gap on every day of the year! For more information, check out how to get more from women in STEM and how to map out a career in engineering.

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