By Maureen Ryan Thorpe
Photo courtesy of Unsplash
So, you’re an accomplished STEM student with lots of awards and coursework to prove it. Now what? Whether you’re a college student deciding upon your major or a recent college graduate, it’s a bit overwhelming to select the discipline that’s best for you. The good news is that the STEM field offers a wide range of exciting and lucrative opportunities. Here, we explore 12 of the hottest STEM careers in high demand right now.
1. Cyber Security or Information Security Analyst
Cybersecurity Analysts protect computer networks and systems from cyber threats, develop security measures, and conduct risk assessments to ensure data privacy and prevent cyber attacks.
Education requirements: Bachelor’s degree or higher in a technology-related field, such as computer science.
Examples of jobs: Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), Network Security Engineer, Penetration Tester, Incident Response Analyst.
2. UX/UI Design
UI UX Designers create the user interface for an app, website or other interactive media. Their work includes collaborating with product managers and engineers to gather requirements from users before designing ideas that can be communicated using storyboards. They also develop user flow and sitemaps.
Education requirements: Bachelor’s degree and graphic design, fine arts or computer applications. Familiarity with coding, including HTML and CSS.
Examples of jobs: User Researcher, Wireframe Expert, Content Strategist, Information Architect (UX designer), Usability Tester.
3. Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality (AR/VR) Developer
AR/VR Developers create immersive digital experiences by blending virtual elements with the real world. They design and develop applications for gaming, education, training, and simulations, pushing the boundaries of interactive technology.
Examples of jobs: AR/VR Content Developer, Content Strategist, User Experience Designer, Animator or Sound Artist.
4. Software Engineer or Software Developer
A Software Engineer or Software Development Engineer is responsible for developing software programs or systems that align with user needs. Their duties include meeting with clients or business professionals to strategize ideas for beneficial software, coordinating with other IT professionals to design software and running tests to catch coding errors. More about software engineers.
Education requirements: Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience in software engineering, computer science, information technology or a related field. Familiarity with programming languages such as Java, Swift, or C#.
Examples of jobs: Software Engineer, Mid-Level Software Engineer, Senior Software Engineer.
5. Biomedical Engineer
Biomedical Engineers combine engineering principles with medical sciences to design and develop innovative healthcare solutions. They work on developing medical devices, prosthetics, and imaging systems, as well as researching and improving healthcare technologies. More about biomedical engineering jobs.
Educational requirements: Biomedical engineering programs help you gain specialized knowledge in the area, but general engineering majors with biology coursework are suitable.
Examples of jobs: Software Developer, Hardware Engineer, Medical Scientist, Genetic Engineer, Rehabilitation Engineer.
6. Renewable Energy Engineer
Renewable Energy Engineers design, develop and optimize renewable energy systems such as solar, wind, and geothermal, aiming to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and combat climate change. Careers in renewable energy include those in solar, wind, hydroelectric, biomass, geothermal, and tidal power generation.
Educational requirements: Bachelor’s degree in engineering, preferably in renewable energy or a related field.
Examples of jobs: Solar Project Manager, Renewable Energy Projects and Operations, Solar Energy Systems Engineer, Renewable Energy Consultant, Biochemist, Wind Technician.
For more information about the various engineering (and career) fields, read NSTEM’s blog article: https://nstem.org/2021/10/8-stem-majors-for-students-interested-in-engineering/.
Photo courtesy of The Muse
7. Data Analyst
Data scientists extract insights from large and complex datasets. They use statistical techniques, data analysis and machine learning algorithms to identify patterns, make predictions, and drive data-informed decision-making for businesses in a variety of industries–including technology, healthcare and manufacturing. Here are 8 types of data professionals in high demand.
Educational requirements: Entry-level analysts often have a bachelor’s degree, while senior analysts may have a master’s degree or higher in their respective fields. Senior analysts are often competent in different programming languages, such as R and Python. They often have experience with Tableau and SQL.
Examples of jobs: Data Analyst, Data Scientist, Machine Learning Engineer, Business Intelligence Analyst, Logistics Analyst, Data Architect, Business Systems Analyst, Marketing Analyst.
8. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI Engineers develop algorithms, create intelligent systems and design AI models for various applications like robotics, natural language processing and computer vision. Mathematical topics like vectors, matrixes, functions, gradients, and information theory are all topics that help you develop AI programs.
Educational requirements: Bachelor’s degree with an emphasis on statistical and analytical skills, such as math or computer science.
Examples of jobs: Data Analyst, Data Scientist, Machine Learning Engineer, Robotics Engineer, Marketing Analyst, Business Intelligence Analyst, Logistics Analyst, Business Systems Analyst.
Actuaries investigate and interpret the financial costs of risk and uncertainty for businesses. They use tools from mathematics, statistics and financial theory to help companies to assess specific risks and help them develop strategies to alleviate that risk. Some work in healthcare to help insurance companies and medical facilities identify costs related to risk and investments.
Education requirements: Bachelor’s degree in mathematics, actuarial science, statistics or another analytical field.
Examples of jobs: Actuary, Business Analyst, Risk Analyst, Chief Risk Officer (CRO).
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A microbiologist is a scientist who studies microorganisms, such as viruses, algae, fungi, bacteria and parasites. Through their experiments and research, microbiologists attempt to understand how microorganisms behave and interact with their environment and how they cause disease. They work in pharmaceutical, agriculture, food production and environmental-science vertical markets.
Education requirements: Bachelor’s degree in microbiology, while more advanced work and independent study require a Ph.D.
Examples of jobs: Biotechnologist, Clinical Lab Scientist, Immunologist, Mycologist, Cosmetic Scientist, Food Scientist, Pharmaceutical Scientist, Marine Biologist.
Epidemiologists study and plan for the spread of infectious diseases that can become epidemics. They conduct studies by observing people, interviewing them or collecting bodily samples, analyzing data to predict and plan for epidemic events, and discussing their findings in reports to policymakers and the public.
Education requirements: It’s common for epidemiologists to have a master’s degree in public health.
Examples of jobs: Clinical Lab Scientist, Public Health Nurse, Infection Preventionist, Data Analyst.
12. Physician Assistant (PA)
Physician Assistants perform medical duties under the supervision of a physician. They are responsible for conducting patient exams, diagnosing and treating illnesses, ordering tests, interpreting test results, assisting in surgeries and prescribing medications.
Education requirements: Bachelor’s degree in science or health care and a master’s degree from a graduate-level physician assistant program.
Examples of jobs: PA in a hospital, physician’s office or outpatient clinic.
TIP: Our friends at PBS and Nova Labs offer an amazing database of career descriptions and resources for further exploration of the STEM disciplines. Check it out here: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/labs/opportunities/resources/
NSTEM also has a wonderful database! Its vast resources provide thousands of STEM resources that are searchable by category, school level and state. This comprehensive library includes info on enrichment activities, curricula, internships, scholarships and more. Check out a free sample here. Or get an NSTEM membership today to unlock the complete list.
When a college/university student achieves membership in the National STEM Honor Society, the recognition, like many colleges, is in a Greek letter format. For the National STEM Honor Society, Epsilon Theta Mu is the designated recognition for members at the college/university level. Students are distinguished and stand out as a result of this recognition, increasing appealing employment and educational opportunities.