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These Are The Fastest Growing STEM Careers Right Now

Jobs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) are among today's most sought-after fields. In a world where artificial intelligence has penetrated every industry and nations recover from a global pandemic, STEM careers are set to change the world.

Keith Peterson
Keith Peterson
Dec 13, 20236.7K Shares111.2K Views
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  1. Why Pursue Careers in STEM?
  2. 6 STEM Careers Worth Exploring
  3. STEM Careers Always Pay Off
These Are The Fastest Growing STEM Careers Right Now

Jobs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) are among today's most sought-after fields. In a world where artificial intelligence has penetrated every industry and nations recover from a global pandemic, STEM careers are set to change the world.

STEM covers wide-ranging industries, from environmental science to digital marketing to medicine. Yet, only a handful have the fastest job growth. Here is a closer look at why you should pursue STEM and which roles are rapidly shaking up the economy.

Why Pursue Careers in STEM?

The progressing fields of science and technology make STEM careers among the most exciting for discoveries. Imagine finding the cure for cancer, developing new vaccines or engineering the next mechanism for renewable energy. As a STEM professional, you devote your life and careerto advancing and positively impacting society — no day is the same as the last.

Jobs in STEM also pay well. A 2023 National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics report says these workers earn a median salary of $64,000compared to $40,000 in other industries. Of course, this differs among the various STEM sectors — earnings for science and engineering occupations are highest at $90,000.

People in STEM careers reap the rewards of transferable and highly desirable skills, such as the following:

  • Inquiry and research design
  • Data analysis and interpretation
  • Technical skills based on STEM specializations
  • Computer science and technology
  • Problem-solving
  • Creativity and innovation
  • Communication and teamwork
  • Analytical, critical and logical thinking

A college education will provide foundational knowledge for your degree. However, skill sets are acquired through practice and field experience. No matter what you decide to concentrate on, many STEM fields extend into unexpected career paths.

6 STEM Careers Worth Exploring

You are bound to find success in whatever aspect of STEM you choose. Certain eventsin recent years have caused some fields to rise exponentially, though. Here are six of the fastest-growing occupations in STEM for a lucrative and rewarding career.

Data Scientists

You may have heard about algorithms — sets of instructions one must follow for computers to solve problems or complete computations. The geniuses behind such innovations are data scientists. They utilize different tools and analytical techniquesto collect and gain insights from large datasets for machine learning.

Typically, data scientists specialize in a sub-niche like coding, engineering or research. They often present their findings through visualizations like charts and graphics. This enables them to communicate insights to non-technical audiences, and recommend decision-making and process improvements.

Epidemiologists

Epidemiologists are among the fastest-growing STEM careers worldwide as the health care community grapples with emerging diseases. The COVID-19 pandemic surprised the public, but experienced epidemiologists were the masterminds behind the global population's mitigation methods.

These health professionals are more critical than ever, searching for disease patterns, synthesizing data, and reducing public health risks through research, advocacy, community health education and policy-making. Many specialize in chronic conditions, environmental health, or genetic and infectious diseases.

Typically, epidemiologists work for government health agencies at the federal or state level, universities, or private enterprises. Some research and investigate data for pharmaceutical or health insurance companies.

Information Security Analysts

Cybercrime is becoming increasingly complex, posing widespread threats to businessassets and the release of sensitive information. In particular, financial services, health care and professional services are among the highest at risk for such attacks. Likewise, cybercrime poses serious threats to national security.

The Identity Theft Resource Center reported 2,116 data compromisesin the first nine months of 2023, surpassing the previous record of 1,862 cases in 2021. Among those, cybersecurity attacks impacted an estimated 233.9 million victims.

Information security analysts are in high demand across all industries as companies and governments seek to clamp down on network vulnerabilities. These individuals monitor and investigate potential threats, implement digital security standards, and document vulnerabilities and breach attempts. They also stay abreast of information technology and cybersecurity developments, make security suggestions to management, and develop protocols for preventing and handling data breaches.

Industrial Engineers

Industrial engineers are adept in all aspects of STEM, enabling them to work across various sectors. They devise new systems and revise existing processes to improve efficiency and productivity. Some refer to them as the "people's engineers," as they seek ways to make everyone's lives easier using materials, technology, energy, data and laborers.

They typically oversee production, workflow, specifications and other engineering activities, strategizing new, forward-thinking ways of doing things. Enhancing management systems and ensuring quality assurance are also part of their job description.

In the coming years, industrial engineers and other engineering specialists will play a prominent role in the rise of smart cities — a $679.5 billion-per-year investmentin technology infrastructure across built environments. Smart cities integrate human, digital and physical systems to improve connectedness, public services, and quality of life.

For example, the Internet of Things allows those in STEM occupations to collect and analyze public data, such as high traffic flow or poor air quality. Engineers can then reconfigure and improve transportation systems, emissions mitigation, and waste management.

Actuaries

Those with superior analytical thinking, math, communication and computer skills might want to explore actuary occupations. Actuaries use statistics and estimations to weigh the financial risks and impacts of uncertainty, such as a natural disaster, accident or death. They then communicate their assessments with businesses and clients and strategize ways to minimize financial losses.

In addition to mathematics, actuaries are adept in database, statistical, and modeling programs to gather data and make estimates. They may consult with accountants, data scientists, and financial analysts to create pricing or forecast trends.

Actuaries often work with insurance companies, including health insurance, life insurance, property and casualty insurance, pension beneficiaries, and enterprise risk insurance. They will set premium prices based on future loss and expenditure predictions. Others work independently as consultants.

Physician Assistants

The pandemic took a toll on medical professionals across the world, causing burnout, trauma and a mass resignation of 3.3%of the nursing workforce. This has left several openings for health care specialists to fill their shoes, especially physician assistants.

Physician assistants can do many of the same things as doctors, including examining patients, ordering diagnostic tests, diagnosing conditions and prescribing treatments. However, while they may presume a primary provider role at clinics several days a week, they do so under the supervision of a medical doctor or surgeon.

Physician assistants work across several specialties like cardiovascular health, family medicine, pulmonology, psychiatry and emergency medicine. Their specialization ultimately determines the scope of their roles.

STEM Careers Always Pay Off

Whether you pursue a career in data science, industrial engineering or another field entirely, you can never go wrong with STEM careers. There will always be openings for those with the most desired technical capabilities. STEM is and will always be the future of work.

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