Young adults with a passion for discovery are often naturally attracted to a STEM related career. Yet how do you sort through the sea of STEM majors to ensure you end up landing a job that you really love?
STEM, short for science, technology (and technical applications), engineering and mathematics is incredibly broad in scope. These fields attract a wide diversity of students from all walks of life. Choosing a STEM branch may seem daunting at first, but asking yourself objective questions can help ease the selection process. Remember, you do have time to explore your options, as your first few years of coursework will be rather general in scope. Additionally, working as an intern in whatever STEM field you most gravitate towards can provide a significant degree of clarity in selecting the major that best suits you.
A Career Based on Passion or Profit?
Although STEM careers do indeed pay higher salaries than most non-STEM related occupations, salary alone is probably not a good enough reason to pursue a career within these fields. Studies clearly link job dissatisfaction with a decline in physical and mental health, so unless you have a passion for discovery in one form or another, you'll probably fare better on another career path. That being said, STEM careers can be incredibly stimulating and quite profitable for those with a passion for the work. And with such a wide range of options, STEM provides opportunities for a diverse population of young adults preparing to enter the workforce.
Which Branch of STEM is Right for Me?
Sorting through the myriad of career options within science, technology, engineering and mathematics may feel like searching for a needle in a haystack at times. Looking at your preferences objectively can help narrow down the options. Which branch of STEM are you most attracted to? Ask yourself the following questions:
Make the Most of Those First Two Years
All STEM students are required to take similar college courses during their freshman and sophomore years. Your initial coursework can be helpful in narrowing down the STEM field you are most attracted to. In particular, the degree to which you enjoy (or don't enjoy) higher order math will be important in determining a career path. Additionally, work as an intern can be invaluable in choosing the path that's right for you.
As an intern, you'll have the opportunity to experience real life, day to day activities that occur in whatever occupation you're exploring. You'll make professional connections and are likely to discover whether you're hot on the trail to the career of your dreams or if your path needs some refinement. Some internships are paid (like ours) and many are available to undergrads even during their first year of college. Internships help clarify your career options and give you the opportunity to adjust your major accordingly. In turn, you're likely to streamline your path to graduation and end up with the STEM degree that best meets your needs.
Follow our blog for more great tips on refining your STEM career options. In upcoming weeks, we'll highlight each of the four STEM branches to further aid in the discovery process which leads to a college major that will best prepare you for the job of your dreams. You can stay up to date with all of our programs and opportunities by scrolling down to the bottom of our site and signing up for our newsletter (click the link beneath "Follow Us"). Don't forget to leave us a comment below!