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STEM, or Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics, touches every aspect of our lives. From the news apps we go through every morning, the roads and bridges we take to work, the computers we build projects on, to the food we eat at dinner. Because our social and economic lives are so heavily influenced by technology, universities around the world are putting more and more value on STEM courses and the benefits of STEM education. Let’s take a look at them one by one. But before that-
What is STEM?
STEM education is a collection of all the courses that fall under the fields of Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics. Since the subjects you learn under these fields are interrelated and require a similar educational background, they are called STEM.
For example, majoring in Astronomy or Actuarial science will require that you be good at mathematics and problem-solving. Learning Nuclear science or Cybersecurity will need you to have great critical thinking skills.
On the other hand, History or Music will not fall under STEM. Learning those subjects requires a different set of skills. I hope this answers your question about ‘What is STEM?’ Now, moving on to the benefits of STEM education.
1) 21st-century skills
With our economies growing and technology taking over everything, the 21st-century job market has changed. Now, companies are looking for graduates who are curious, innovative, love to experiment with new things, and are good at solving complex problems.
STEM education departs these skills in students at a very early stage in life. It teaches them how to think critically, be resilient in the face of rejection, and show them how adapting to new situations in life can help.
These qualities not only make a person more skilled but also showcase a good character.
2) More job opportunities
Several countries across the world, including the US, Ireland, and New Zealand, are making it easier for STEM graduates to get a job. For example, in Ireland, you can stay back for 2 years after graduation and work. And after that, you can apply for Permanent Residency!
Even the universities in the countries are helping STEM students in many ways. Students have the opportunity to learn from amazing teachers, use the latest technology, and intern or work with industry leaders like Google, Tesla, and Netflix.
3) Higher pay
If I say that STEM students are trained in 21st-century skills and find it easier to get a job, it follows that these students are offered higher pay. This means that, if you are a STEM graduate, you will be earning anywhere between $87,258 to $128,000 per annum. This is more than any of us know what to do with at the age of 24.
It’s important to keep in mind, though, that if you are graduating from a well-known university with a degree in Nuclear science, you will have the potential to earn more than someone who is studying Mechanical engineering at a lesser-known institute.
So, before you start to dream of repeating the benefits of STEM education, look at this STEM majors list, and decide which STEM career interests you the most.
4) Live anywhere in the world
Getting a STEM degree from a world-renowned university will make you a great candidate for citizenship in any country around the world. New Zealand, for example, has an exclusive website for foreign immigrants skilled in certain areas.
Be it Canada, the US, Singapore, Australia, Ireland, Switzerland, or even Norway (which is beautiful), you will have better chances of getting citizenship. And if not that, the kind of job you take up might take you on adventurous journeys around the globe.
So, if you’re taking up a STEM course, be prepared for an amazing ride!
5) Equality at work
According to UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), access to STEM education for girls is a human right. Nations across the world are working tirelessly to promote equality in both STEM education and the workforce.
Be it the US, Australia, the Netherlands, Dubai, or Ghana, more and more female students are being encouraged to take up STEM majors and work in the fields of Science Engineering Medicine Technology.
6) Be at the forefront of new inventions
One of the primary reasons students choose to study abroad is to get access to the latest developments and learn from a world-class faculty. And these are some of the most amazing benefits of STEM education.
Universities make sure that STEM students get access to the latest lab equipment and encourage them to work with their teachers. This gives you the global exposure you need to skyrocket your career.
Even the job you get after graduation will be at a company that is working on innovative, ground-breaking technology, putting you at the forefront of your field!
7) Giving back to the community
Our generation is not without its challenges – climate change, fake news, depression, corruption, and whatnot. When you’re in STEM, you have a chance to address the issues we’re facing on a global scale.
If you’re creative enough, your contributions might have the power to save entire ecosystems, educate children, reduce urbanization, or even reduce poverty. Look at Tesla, for example, and see how its contributions are on the way to reduce space junk.
No matter which STEM field you choose, you will always find that there’s a way to give back to society.
8) Retire early
Or start your own business! As a STEM graduate, your entry job itself will earn you over 80-90 thousand dollars annually. Over the years, as you rise within the ranks, you will be earning more and hence, saving more.
With years of experience and all of your savings, you could retire early and travel the world…or even start something of your own – like a think tank or another groundbreaking technology-based startup.
But…is STEM for me?
I will be honest with you – STEM is not for everyone.
Speaking from experience, I can tell you that I enjoy writing more than I liked developing trading applications (which was my previous job).
Both STEM and non-STEM majors require different kinds of skills. And even if you have the skills to finish a STEM course, you have to see where your interests lie and what you want to do with your life.