Choosing a major can be one of the most challenging aspects of your college experience. While many students enter post-secondary education with a clear preference for a science, arts, or business path, narrowing down the selection and outlining a career can be tricky.
Choosing a career in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) has many benefits. Still, STEM is a large umbrella that encompasses several factions, specialties, and career options.
If you’re trying to determine which STEM major is right for you, use these practical tips as a guide.
Benefits of Choosing a STEM Career Path
As you explore your career options, you’ll discover several benefits to choosing a STEM major, including always having opportunities for employment – there’s little competition and plenty of demand.
Many STEM roles are recession-proof as well, and there will always be a need for these roles in our technology-driven world.
If you feel passionate about STEM, you’ll have the privilege of working in a job you love. Furthermore, these paths tend to have competitive pay rates, regardless of which field you choose.
In recent years, there has been a push for getting more women into STEM positions. Women hold only 27% of STEM jobs, as of 2019. This push has created new employment initiatives, grants, and scholarships for women pursuing STEM paths — another reason to consider this option if you’re eligible.
The key to finding which STEM major is ideal for your goals is to understand what path will help you feel the most fulfilled in your career. When you choose any STEM major, you can’t go wrong.
1. Consider What Interests You
First, start by taking the time to reflect and understand what interests you the most. As all STEM careers tend to be profitable, you don’t have to negate passion for profit. This freedom allows you the freedom to choose something that appeals to your interests.
Start by considering which factions interest you the most. If engineering and technology appeal to you, explore those paths.
If you’ve always had an interest in working in healthcare or with animals, explore the sciences. There are a lot of transferable skills in STEM, so you always have the option to pivot.
2. Consider Your Feelings on Math
Math tends to be a polarizing subject for people; they either love it or loathe it. Strong feelings against math often deter people from pursuing careers in STEM specialties.
While you’re likely to have some form of math in your STEM education, certain factions have more mathematics than others.
If you feel strongly against math, you can start by eliminating the M from your STEM major options. Then, explore the various career paths to determine which prospects have an acceptable amount of math based on your preferences.
3. Do You Prefer Ideas or Tangible Things?
Another consideration when choosing a STEM major is whether you prefer to work with ideas or objects. Many of the maths and sciences work with formulas and theories rather than hands-on, physical work.
While all STEM majors require hard mental work, only a few translate those thoughts into action.
If you prefer hands-on work, consider engineering, technology, or some of the sciences. If you prefer more theoretical work, math, chemistry, and physics are likely better options for you
4. Do You Prefer Creating or Discovering?
Another consideration when choosing a STEM path is whether you prefer to create things yourself or discover new things within the world.
Are you a creator or an explorer? Both can be exciting, and there’s no wrong answer, it’s simply a matter of personal preference.
If you prefer creating, technology and engineering will give you the option to plan and build. If you like discovering new things, maths and sciences are better options.
Whichever major you choose, know that it’s not set in stone. There’s always an option to change your mind and change to something else within the STEM world. Consider your preferences and work style, then evolve and grow.