Your university degree will play a big part in helping you get a job; but it is possible to add more skills to your
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In today’s tech-driven society, STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) have never been so important. It’s thought that the UK will require 100,000 new STEM graduates every year until 2020 – so it’s clear that the demand for graduates in these subjects is at an all-time high.
If you’re a current Science, IT, Engineering or Maths student, or you’ve recently graduated with a STEM degree, you’re statistically more likely to benefit from better job prospects and higher pay than if you had studied any other course. But if you think you know exactly what graduate job your degree will lead you into, think again.
We spoke to UK Tech News Editor, Yessi Bello Perez, about how STEM degrees (in this case, tech-related degrees) can actually be used in a number of different ways:
“I think people think of tech and they generally think of coding, but the truth is that you don't have to be a hardcore techie to embark on a successful career in the industry. In my experience, I think people need to be good at problem-solving, creative and thrive under pressure. All the founders I speak to say they are after passionate, relentless and bright employees, who care about technological change and disruption.”
Because STEM subjects tend to teach these kinds of highly transferrable skills – problem-solving, persistence, the ability to work well under pressure – they will be valuable in many different graduate jobs – meaning that you can do a lot more with your STEM degree than you might ever have thought.
Research scientists design and undertake laboratory-based experiments in order to collect evidence. They have the option to work in many different areas of science, like medical research, pharmacology or stem cell research, and tend to have an even more focused area of specialism within one of these fields – so a passion for science is essential. Research Scientists also record and analyse data, so they need to be great with numbers – ideal for a graduate with a Science-based degree.
A very different way to utilise a STEM degree, a job as a science or medical copywriter would be ideal for someone looking to use their Science degree outside of the lab. They research and write material for businesses, journals and the media, taking complex scientific information and transforming it into articulate and engaging content. Because of the level of scientific knowledge required, a job as a Science or Medical copywriter would be perfect for a graduate with a Science degree (and a creative flair!)
An obvious choice for a STEM graduate, Software Engineers are needed to create, maintain and improve operating systems and software, as well as write and test code. Working to resolve complex problems, software engineers often specialise in one or a few areas of development, like networks, systems, databases or applications, so a highly technical degree in something like Computer Science will almost always be required.
Chemical Engineers are responsible for the processes and machinery used to transform raw materials into products like food, oil and gas – so they develop simulation software, test new processes and collect data in order to make improvements. Although a Chemical Engineering degree accredited by the IChemE is often the path to becoming a chemical engineer, a STEM degree - especially a degree in biomedical sciences, chemistry or biotechnology – can also land you a highly rewarding graduate job in engineering.
An Engineering degree teaches skills like attention to detail, the ability to manage expectations, as well as balance quality and speed – all skills which can be utilised in other roles. A project manager, for example, is responsible for planning and co-ordinating projects on-time and within budget, ensuring that resources are used efficiently and that quality standards are met. A role that requires such meticulous planning and a thorough understanding of cost, quality and speed would be ideal for a graduate with a detail-oriented degree like Engineering.
A data analyst sets up and maintains automated data processes, uses business analytics reporting tools, and gathers and evaluates big data. As the role requires excellent numerical and analytical skills and the ability to produce graphs and data visualisations, a job as a Data Analyst would be ideal for a graduate with a Maths degree.
A degree in Maths teaches highly transferrable skills such as investigative, analytical and IT skills, which can be utilised in many different kinds of roles. A market researcher’s job is to collate and analyse data and information, assess future trends, and co-ordinate research projects, so the kinds of skills taught in a Maths degree would make them the ideal candidate for the job.
STEM degrees teach highly transferrable skills which will open up the door to many different graduate job opportunities - so whether you’re a Science, Technology, Engineering or Maths graduate, you’ll have the scope to work in a range of rewarding, stimulating and very different graduate jobs.
And best of all? Continuous advances in technology and scientific research mean that you might not even know what is around the corner for your STEM career – in fact, your dream job might not even exist yet.
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