STEM – the acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – is quite a sought-after field of study. For many, a STEM degree is the key to unlocking well-paying jobs and a meaningful career.
Despite the draw of STEM degrees at university and the vast number of engineers, technology majors, scientists, doctors, mathematicians and statisticians that graduate every year, there still seems to be a looming problem: not enough graduates to fill the roles that STEM companies have.
Each year, despite the thousands of students that graduate with a STEM degree, industry journals print the same stuff: there is a lack of STEM talent. There is no lack of STEM talent – STEM graduates just need to know how to succeed with their STEM degree with the right mindset and skills.
1. Develop strong research and study skills: You need to be able to look at things from many angles and cover all the bases and take the time to research. Don’t skimp on that part!
2. Take initiative: Elizabeth Holmes was able to launch Theranos because she made her way into a graduate research program during her freshman year at Stanford. Theranos’ and its failure aside, she was able to get her foot in the door because she took the initiative. That’s how you can start building a career.
3. Step up to solve problems: STEM requires critical thinking and problem solving. Even if things are not exactly in your defined role, it always helps to step up when there’s a problem that needs solving – that’s how we create better products.
4. Embrace failure: The first prototype will have problems, the first iteration of any product can always be improved upon. STEM will throw you curveballs, but you need to embrace failure and treat it as a learning experience.
5. Embrace collaboration: STEM products are not built in silos. You need to collaborate with other experts, fellow team members and even potential customers to build products that will work. In modern STEM companies, you are required to collaborate within teams and with other teams.
6. Don’t shy away from asking for help: Like we mentioned – it’s a team effort. If you are stuck, don’t be afraid to ask for help from your team or seniors.
7. Adopt a growth mindset: Every failed attempt is pointing you in the direction of the right and most effective solution. Adopt a growth mindset and tell yourself that your efforts are not wasted but give you the ammunition you need to come up with an effective solution that works.
8. Always observe: STEM is about research and doing, but also about observing what’s happening around you and trends within the industry and your consumer base.
9. Seek out mentors: STEM as a discipline involves hours of study, trial and error in the lab/production floor – it’s not exactly like going viral on the internet with a song or a skit. It’s best to learn from those who came before you and put in the hours. Ask professors, experts and senior STEM professionals to share insights and guidance as you work toward a STEM career.
10. Upskill: STEM is ever-evolving and in order to keep up with the industry, you need to gain skills that will keep you ahead of the game. That means staying in the know about the latest developments in tech and research, but it’s also about acquiring critical business, management and innovation skills that can help you manage projects and take new products and services from idea to implementation.
At NewLedge we run a course that does just that – takes your existing STEM degree and enhances it with an accelerated course that covers innovation skills, marketing, management and entrepreneurship. Once you complete the 100-day course (shorter sprints of the course are also available), you will gain skills that will give you the ability to work in different departments and roles, build a new product, or launch your own business.
Take the quiz and check your Innovation Quotient
1. Why are STEM degrees better?
STEM degrees offer students the opportunity to pursue a professional degree which allows them to seek employment upon course completion. In addition, studying STEM gives you critical and creative thinking capacities, teamwork and team-building skills, problem-solving skills and many other skills that help you at the workplace.
2. How does STEM education shape the future?
STEM is what drives our world, whether we like it or not. Even writers and artists have to use technology in some form to get their work noticed! STEM helps solve human problems for everyday living – from food and fuel to shelter and security. Since STEM is over-arching and contributes to everything from agriculture to entertainment, it shapes the way we live, which is why STEM education shapes the future.