Draw a picture of someone who works in a STEM field. If you were a kid and someone gave you those instructions, what would your picture look like? You might get pictures of someone hunched over a desk, of someone in a hardhat, or of someone in a white coat and safety glasses.
So what does a STEM job look like, anyway? What kinds of jobs are out there for someone who majors in a STEM-related field of study?
This may not surprise you: the most popular STEM major and career choice for students is mechanical engineering. According to US News and World Report, more than 20% of STEM students want to design, develop, build, and test various tools and devices.
Along with other expected career choices we associate with STEM studies — like aerospace engineer, computer systems analyst, or construction manager — there are plenty of unexpected and exotic STEM job possibilities. Consider, for example, a list of 10 awesome STEM jobs that Mashable recently shared. Among those listed were Legoland amusement park designer, music data journalist, and – for you sports lovers – ESPN statistician. Now we’re talking!
Want to see the world and travel to beautiful places? Become an EA Environmental Scanner for Electronic Arts. You might work on something like the Tiger Woods PGA Tour games, scanning and capturing images of famous golf courses.
My personal favorite from that Mashable list is NASA Curiosity Driver. What’s not to love about helping navigate that amazing little robot who touched down on Mars in August and was nominated to be Time’s Person of the year? I’d love to be a STEM scientist driving Curiosity over that bumpy Martian landscape. One of the drivers, Vandi Tompkins, holds a Ph.D. in Robotics, M.S. in Robotics, M.S. in Computer Science and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering.
For Christmas our three sons gave us a LED lighting system that allows us to change and mix the colors of the bulbs lighting our family area, and to dim and brighten those individual bulbs. I can control and adjust the lighting with my smartphone or my tablet. The coolest gift ever! And I owe it to a STEM scientist.
Want to be a food chemist and create the perfect piece of sugar-free candy? What about a professional storm tracker who specializes in severe weather disturbances? Or, maybe you’d like to create an animatronic dinosaur for an amusement park as a robotics engineer. Those may be the STEM jobs for you. Read about those possibilities on BlackEnterprise.com.
Do you like spy stories?
Or you might want to be a professional hacker who spends your time breaking into computers, but for a good reason. You help companies protect their systems from people who are trying to hack into them by exploring the vulnerabilities in their computer systems and recommending ways to plug the holes that allowed you to get inside.
If you’re willing to pass on the more exotic STEM jobs, the STEM jobs projected to grow the most through 2020 (according to the WorkBuzz website) include biomedical engineer, software developer, medical scientist, biochemist, database administrator, and network administrator.
Edie Fraser, CEO of STEMconnector, writes at the Huffington Post that STEM industries are found everywhere, spanning everything from biotech to humanitarian relief to robotics, gaming and sports, and even the arts and culture.
Now tell me, what other career path can claim as much variety as STEM? What are some surprising STEM careers that you’ve discovered?