The growth outlook for these fields is excellent, the work is interesting, and the jobs tend to be very well-compensated.
If you’re considering these careers, it’s important to prepare as much as you can for the rigors of the curriculum. You will want to have some essential foundational skills that will serve you well and prepare you for your major.
Here are 5 courses you’ll need to take during your educational journey so you can be prepared for advanced coursework and the demands of a job in STEM after you graduate:
Both engineering and computer science are heavily math-based. If you hate math, these probably aren’t the fields for you!
Generally, you will need to take a variety of math classes throughout your college career to prepare for other courses or as a graduation requirement.
One of the most important branches of mathematics for engineers and computer scientists is calculus. It is the branch that deals primarily with change.
Some students struggle with calculus initially, as their background in algebra does not adequately prepare them.
However, it is likely to be a requirement for any engineering or computer science program and you may find you need more than an entry-level class to satisfy the requirements.
Depending on your eventual career path, you may never need your knowledge of physics, or you may find that you use it all the time.
Regardless, it is a foundational course that every STEM student should take.
Physics is concerned with the study of matter and how it behaves. Engineers use physics when they are designing projects, whether that’s a bridge or a circuit board.
Even computer science majors, who may never do much work with hardware, should understand the basics of physics and how they apply to computing.
3. Computing in Engineering
Engineers may not be computer scientists, but with the large role technology plays in the field, they must be extremely tech-savvy.
This course may have different names at different institutions, but it’s an important foundation that allows students to understand how the two fields interact and rely on one another.
Again, with math being such a critical component of STEM careers, it’s very important for students to be well-versed in different branches.
Statistics are extremely helpful for building data analysis skills that will be expected in nearly every engineering or programming job.
Precision is important in STEM. Statistics can provide insights that guide new projects or improve existing ones. In computing, data analysis is frequently a major component of daily work.
Additionally, STEM professionals may need to use statistics to create models for mitigating risk or attracting investments.
5. College Writing/English
Although writing isn’t considered one of the top skills for engineers or scientists, it’s still critical for any STEM professional.
Communication with others is required in any job, and engineers often need to be able to explain their work so that it makes sense to their colleagues, managers, investors, and sometimes, the general public.
Computer scientists and engineers don’t need to be incredible writers. But they do need to be able to write clearly, concisely, and correctly.
Skills in reading comprehension and writing will serve any professional who works with other people (so, pretty much everyone!).
Special Opportunities for Female Students
For many years, there has been a huge gender gap within the STEM fields.
Today, only around 28% of STEM jobs are held by women. Women face many cultural challenges in these fields and often face discrimination in the workplace.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that there are more opportunities than ever for women who want to work in STEM. There are many scholarships especially for women in fields like engineering and computer science.
There’s no reason not to apply for a scholarship if you qualify—reducing debt will help you reach your goals faster. Resources and support are available, so don’t give up on your dream!
Create Good Study Habits to Succeed and Prepare for the Future
Preparing to start your degree program? It’s important to be organized and diligent about your study habits from the beginning, to ensure that you don’t fall behind. Make a schedule and stick with it so you can stay consistent and organized.
It’s no secret that getting an engineering or computer science degree is challenging. Both fields require top-notch technical skills that must be learned and understood in the classroom before they can be applied in the real world.
Many students get discouraged, overwhelmed, and burned out before graduation is within reach.
Still, persistence pays off. If you can pass your classes and become an engineer or computer scientist, you’ll know that all your hard work was worth it.
Believe in yourself and realize that these challenges will help prepare you for your new life in a career you love!