The 21st century is the age of unprecedented growth, discovery and advancements in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Consider this as proof: In the last year alone, we confirmed water exists on Mars, we created the first laboratory-grown muscle and we tested drone-delivered burritos.
The future of STEM is bright and brimming with possibilities, and the next generation of students will play a pivotal role in how these fields take shape. Below are four STEM careers in which students can transform high school hobbies into lifelong passions.
Students Interested in Robots: Consider Machine Intelligence
From intuitive spam filters and plugins that analyze emails to powerful virtual assistants like Siri and Cortana, machine intelligence is no longer the plot of a science fiction movie. It’s here, and it’s growing rapidly.
According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, we’ve only seen five percent of what artificial intelligence – or machine intelligence – is capable of doing. For students, this means machine intelligence is a world full of promising career growth and entrepreneurial potential. From face recognition software engineers to robotics specialists – and even career paths not yet developed – the machine intelligence industry needs professionals who can work through complexities to build machines that surpass human capabilities.
Students excited about the way robots, computers and technology are reshaping the world should consider a future in machine intelligence. Because machine intelligence requires a deep understanding of computational systems, many universities offer computer science degree programs with machine intelligence as a specialization.
Students Interested in Medicine and Science: Consider Nanotechnology
Who knew that by manipulating and building objects at the molecular and atomic level we could revolutionize health care? From pinpointing and eradicating cancer cells to building artificial kidneys, advancements in nanotechnology have enabled scientists and doctors to make incredible medical progress. Although a relatively new field of work, nanotechnology is a hot topic because its potential is remarkable – and companies are taking note. The nanotechnology market has received billions in federal investments; The U.S. market value of products using nanotechnology is estimated to be $1 trillion, or five percent of GDP by 2020. In health care specifically, demand for nanotechnology engineers is rising, with 15,000 jobs expected to be filled by 2018, according to Recruiter.com.
Students interested in the intersection of technology and medicine should consider a nanotechnology degree. Since it is an emerging field, many universities offer nanotechnology as a concentration of physics, chemistry and engineering programs.
Students Interested in Innovating Solutions: Consider a Career in Engineering
The next few decades will present unique challenges we haven’t seen in any other point in history. Energy, sanitation and the world’s food supply are a few of the obstacles we will need to overcome to support a global population of 7 billion. But for engineering students, these challenges are seen as opportunities to develop safer, faster, more efficient and environment-friendly solutions and systems.
According to Forbes, job demand for engineers has grown seven percent yearly for the last four years. More specifically, the geological, biomedical and industrial engineering fields are growing because renewable energy, water management and bioengineering are an increasing concern worldwide. Students interested in logical problem solving and systematically devising solutions have plenty of options to explore in engineering. Most universities offer a variety of engineering degree programs that allow students to specialize in a specific engineering field as their curriculum progresses.
Students Interested in Analytics and Statistics: Consider a Career in Big Data
The steep increase in internet-enabled devices means an incredible amount of data and information is being created and transmitted worldwide. Global organizations are realizing they can improve their businesses if they properly understand and use insights from this “big data.”
The demand for data scientists outnumbers supply by 60 percent. From retail to health care to the public sector, there are big data career opportunities in nearly every industry and job growth is promising. Students interested in using statistics and mathematics to transform organizations into well-informed decision makers have ample opportunity to do so in the big data industry. Universities offering big data analytics degree programs provide in-depth courses that teach students how to identify correlations, trends and patterns and use them to make informative business decisions.
Bold ideas move the world forward, and in STEM, there’s endless opportunity for innovation. Whether it’s using big data to guide business strategy, or using nanotechnology to eradicate disease, there are countless ways for students to transform the world with a STEM career.
Kyle Martin brings 11 years of storytelling experience to the content coordinator position at Florida Polytechnic University. In this role, Martin develops original content showcasing the University experience as a way to attract new students and faculty. He also lends editorial direction to University departments launching new projects and campaigns.