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Why are STEM courses most sought after?

You must be often hearing the word STEM and must be wondering why so many people, particularly high school students, are talking about it. So, what is this STEM?

The word STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. All subjects related to any of these areas, and that is a huge list, fall under this STEM category.

The US Department of Labour estimates that by 2020 there will be more than 1.2 million job openings in STEM related fields and not enough graduates available to fill these positions! STEM graduates work in a wide range of fields right from Life Sciences and Computer Programming to Civil Engineering, Accounting and Statistics. Even some areas in Economics and Psychology that are mathematics intensive and involve quantitative experiments fall under the STEM purview.

STEM is widely considered as tough and challenging and so some students tend to avoid these courses. However, for those who like challenges and are prepared to work hard in the present for enjoying excellent fruits of their labour in the future, STEM is the perfect option. Students studying STEM subjects acquire a strong hands-on approach to problems supported by a rigorous and in-depth knowledge of the theory involved. This naturally makes STEM graduates a most welcome addition in top organizations across the world. Skills like data analysis, critical thinking, problem solving, creativity and communication are a hall mark of the STEM graduate. Such skills make these graduates attractive in even non-STEM organizations.

The course itself is highly flexible. Students of STEM can move from one branch to another much more easily than non-STEM students. For example, a student of Computer Science can move on to environmental science without much difficulty. Similarly, students on Biology can opt for graduate studies in pharmacy school or medical school.

STEM skills are cross-marketable too. Studying technology and science give students a strong foundation in mathematics, research methods, problem-solving, and so on, which in turn allows them to switch careers with ease.

Additionally, at the rate at which technology is in a constant flux these days, Stem knowledge is vital to remain updated with the latest advancements. Students of STEM are are invariably working on the cutting edge of innovation in a cast array of fields and are continuously challenged to be innovative in their thinking. The degree gives them the tools to transform ideas into inventions that can have a hugely beneficial impact on society.

STEM graduates are among the most rapidly growing work force in the world and enjoy very high initial salaries. They earn much more than non-STEM graduates according to the American Engineering Association, even if they work in non-STEM fields. A STEM degree promises assured employment, job satisfaction, freedom from student loans and financial security. Continuing developments in science and technology mean that job opportunities will also continue to be high globally. According to Career Cast, a job-ranking site that releases an annual list of “best jobs” based on certain parameters, in the past several years their list has been dominated by jobs in STEM fields only. Graduating in a STEM field opens up opportunities for working and interacting in a diverse environment considering the vast application of STEM knowledge.

To summarise, studying STEM offers job certainty, financial security, career growth and flexibility, job satisfaction and the opportunity to impact society positively. Thus, it comes as no surprise that STEM related courses and degrees are highly sought after today.

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