TL;DR Science: Getting Started in STEM
By John Sutor
June 10, 2020 · 4 minute read
STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. You've probably heard of this phrase from a teacher, a counselor, or even a parental figure in your life. Hopefully, they also mentioned how completely awesome STEM fields actually are without scaring you away from diving deeper exploring them with empty threats such as "you have to be a genius to even think about starting a career in STEM." If not, we'll show you why it's definitely worth your while to pursue a STEM career.
What is STEM?
STEM, simply put, refers to the subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Compared to other fields, STEM disciplines involve constant problem-solving, gathering and interpreting information and data, and making decisions based on the data you collect. This type of work is exciting because of the direct impact it can have on your household, your community, or even in a society as a whole. And when it comes to problem-solving, you can take our word on it that there's never any shortage of problems to solve at any level.
Why Should I Get Involved?
Save the world and make plenty of money doing so. End of story.
Okay, we're joking. Though that isn't far from the truth. In the United States alone, jobs in STEM are projected to grow by a million between 2018 and 2028 alone. Furthermore, whereas the average salary for all professions in the United States is roughly $40,000 per year, the average for all STEM careers is roughly $86,000 per year, or more than double the average for all professions. These careers almost seem to good to be true!
Well, maybe, depending on your interests in STEM. The majority of STEM careers now are computer or engineering related. However, theWhy Should I Get Involved? use of computer software is becoming a necessity in virtually every career inside or outside of STEM now. Moreover, the demand for all STEM careers, in general, is growing on average 10% per year, whereas non-STEM careers are only growing at a rate of 5% per year. Even if you don't directly pursue a STEM career, there are many careers that are related to and support STEM interests that are high paying. For example, Sales Engineers help to sell advanced technical equipment or software, and make on average $103,000 per year!
Perhaps instead of pursuing a glamorous lifestyle, you're more interested in creating a meaningful impact and creating a better world. Fortunately, a career in STEM is still the right path for you. If you're interested in medicine, you have the chance to save lives by creating new vaccines. In engineering, you can create new means for harnessing green energy or help to improve infrastructure in ever-growing cities. In computer science, you can create algorithms that help make others' lives easier through simple to use interfaces that can easily achieve what were once complex tasks. We could go on and on, but I'm sure you get the point by now that you have the chance to fix many of the world's biggest problems through a STEM career.
What if I Can't Afford to Get Involved?
Money can be a huge obstacle when it comes to participating in any activity. Fortunately, there's plenty of opportunities to get involved in STEM disciplines regardless of your income level. Many programs, especially summer research programs, offer scholarships that will allow you to get involved at virtually no cost. Some, such as the Florida State University Young Scholars Program, is entirely free! When it comes to STEM opportunities in your area, look to get involved with afterschool STEM clubs such as FIRST Robotics, Science Olympiad, or Mu Alpha Theta. Though these clubs may have dues, they'll likely be willing to support you if you're passionate about getting involved. When it comes to scholarship opportunities for pursuing higher education in STEM, keep a lookout for ones offered by big companies such as Google or Microsoft (through the Bill Gates Foundation). At scholarships.com, you can find a huge list of scholarships available to you regardless of the major you are pursuing. Furthermore, check out our website to explore resources that are available to you. Our other posts will help you get started creating a science project or even help you get started studying topics such as artificial intelligence. Furthermore, we have a huge comprehensive list of research programs available to you and plan to add even more opportunities and resources available to you in the near future.
STEM refers to the disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Pursuing these careers offer you the chance to change the world, receive a high salary, and the chance for great employment opportunities. You can get started now in an afterschool club, through a summer program, or on our site here at sciteens.org!
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