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How did you decide what you wanted to do after college?

I am a rising high school senior who is interested in STEM, and I would like to know more about the possible career paths in this field. #career #stem #careers #engineering #tech #medicine #technology #chemistry #math #economics #mathematics #data


Hey friend, I would suggest doing the following. Research includes looking at your passions and comparing them to the available studies and careers that exist. It takes a lot of time and it's important not to rush it. That's how people end up unhappy ten years into their careers. Part of your exploring includes taking classes, because you're interested in them, not just to meet requirements. Lastly, follow your instincts. Don't let anyone else tell you what is for you or what you should do. Make yourself happy above all else. Also, try dual enrolling in a class or two at your local college. Nya B.

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John’s Answer

Angelina it’s no secret that in today’s job market, STEM – or Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – is in demand. Graduates and school leavers are constantly being reminded of the importance of obtaining tech skills in order to be competitive, with many of the top-paying jobs in the world coming under the STEM umbrella.

SYSTEMS ARCHITECT • The average Systems Architect salary in the United States is $137,000 as of June 28, 2020
As one of the highest-paid roles in the IT industry, systems architecture is a very wise career to pursue. In most cases, systems architects act as a bridge between business and technology, designing, coordinating and implementing the architecture of entire IT systems to the specifications of their employer or client. As a result, the job requires not just a highly advanced knowledge of networks, structures and software, but also a strong sense of commercial awareness and the ability to lead time-sensitive projects. You’ll also need a degree in a relevant IT subject, as well as specific industry certifications and, most likely, a project management qualification.

DATA SCIENTIST • The average Data Scientist salary in the United States is $128,500 as of June 28, 2020
Once infamously dubbed as the ‘sexiest profession of the 21st Century’, there’s no denying that the availability and power of big data has changed the way that businesses work. This, in turn, has led to a huge increase in demand for skilled data scientists and analysts, who can crunch through the numbers and make effective use of the information within. Most data scientists have a degree in mathematics or statistics, although this isn’t a prerequisite; there are many postgraduate qualifications available in data science. As they can be found in nearly any industry that produces data, some knowledge of your preferred sector could help you land a job, too.

SOFTWARE ENGINEER • The average Software Engineer salary in the United States is $89,000 as of June 28, 2020
Software engineers are skilled programmers who design, build and maintain software applications based on the needs and requirements of their clients. They work on an enormous variety of projects across a wide array of industries, making them highly employable across the board, while the very best engineers go on to work for large tech companies like Google, Facebook and Apple, creating tools and apps that we use every day. To become a software engineer, you will require a strong knowledge of programming languages, as well as the ability to approach problems logically and systematically. Most engineers possess a degree in computer science, although this isn’t always a requisite for landing a job.

MECHANICAL ENGINEER • The average Mechanical Engineer salary in the United States is $85,000 as of June 28, 2020
No matter what discipline of engineering you pursue, your skills will always be in demand; mechanical engineers are particularly sought after, though, due to their flexibility and the wide range of environments in which they can work. It’s possible to get into mechanical engineering through an apprenticeship, although many choose to attend a designated engineering school, requisites of which include strong numerical skills, a creative mind, and the ability to reason and solve problems logically. You’ll spend most of your career working with moving parts, too, so an enthusiasm for how machines are built and operate is another must-have quality.

BIOMEDICAL ENGINEER • The average Biomedical Engineer salary in the United States is $83,500 as of June 28, 2020
Biomedical engineers work for engineering companies, hospitals, medical supply companies, and medical technology firms. Common duties of biomedical engineers include designing and evaluating devices and procedures, performing research, and evaluating treatment techniques. Many biomedical engineers specialize in related areas like medical imaging and biomaterials. A bachelor's degree is a basic requirement for entering the field of biomedical engineering; many biomedical engineers have a background in an engineering specialty, like electrical or mechanical engineering, in addition to biomedical training. Biomedical engineers also are required to be licensed in all 50 states; licensing generally requires completing an accredited bachelor's program, working for a set number of years, and passing a series of examinations.

Angelina as you can see from this career list, there are a lot of lucrative opportunities in STEM. These jobs are only the tip of the iceberg, too, with countless related roles also available. Moving forward, it’s almost inevitable that new jobs will be created as well – jobs that we can’t even envision yet.

Hope this was Helpful Angelina

John recommends the following next steps:

In the meantime, though, these occupations are a great place to start, so brush up on your calculus and maybe enroll in a Python course.

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Hui Jun’s Answer

There's a few things you can do to know more about the potential career paths that you can take.

First and foremost, find out what are your strengths and which areas of subject are you interested in. STEM's definition is very wide ranging and the potential job scopes are very diverse in nature. Find out what subjects you like in school and which you are strong at. Usually people tend to fare better at subjects they're interested in. With that knowledge, look into what roles require that specific type of knowledge. If you are having difficulty in identify the relation between subjects and career prospects, look at university/college course applications and see what subjects they take in. You can also approach your school's career councilor/advisor.

Once you have a rough idea of which areas you are keen in knowing more, I strongly recommend following David Brottman's advice on speaking to people you know who are in these roles. Ask them what are they doing and what parts of their jobs they love and hate. Hearing to them speak will give you an idea of what it's like to be in a particular profession. If possible, apply for internships so that you can watch professionals up close. That experience will invaluable.

Lastly, know that even when you do make an eventual choice in applying for certain degrees in hope of pursuing the career path that you have chosen, know that it is not the end of it. There's always the possibility of making a switch at all stages of your career or education. I myself studied Chemical Engineering, started out as an Engineer in a pharmaceuticals company but switched to Software Engineering by taking on a Masters degree. I have a colleague who used to be a line cook and made the switch to Software Engineering after signing up for a few Computing courses. There's always that flexibility and sometimes you only know what you want when you've been there done that. So don't worry too much and keep exploring!

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Melanie’s Answer

I took different classes, had an internship, and figured out what I didn't want to do. It's ok to pick something out of college that eventually you want to pivot out of. In fact, that's completely normal! :) Just because you went to school for one thing doesn't mean that's what you're locked into for the rest of your professional career. You have the freedom to explore and learn new things at every stage in life. Take risks and see where it can take you.

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David’s Answer

A great way to explore careers in HS is to meet with your College and Career advisor. There are many online career exploration tools you can use. Formal testing for skills and strengths are also available but they can be pricey.

Talk to your parents friends. Ask them what they do for a living? Most people love to tell you aboyt themselves. If it seems remotely interesting. Ask them if you can shadow for a half day to learn more. During this pandemic, you can also find online virtual shadowing experiences.

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Leslie’s Answer

Hi Angelina!

I know at this time in your life you are thinking about your future and career path, but always remember what you decide now and what your first job may be, is not something you have to stick with your whole career. Your journey will surprise you and doors will open up with opportunities that you never expected. It is great that you have an interest in STEM and I would aim to find a job in that space when you graduate college as your first step. You may love it or it may not be what you expected, but it will be an experience that you will learn from. I always found it difficult to know exactly what I wanted to do for my job/career. For me, it is much easier to know what I don't want to do rather than what I do want to do.

I graduated from college 15 years ago and I have had 5 very different jobs since. While I did not "love" all 5 jobs, they all taught me something that has helped in my career and life. I first got hired out of college in a leadership development program so I had direct reports right out of college which was a learning experience in a field that necessarily was not what I saw myself doing in the long run. I was there for 2 years and started my MBA with a finance concentration that brought me to my next job in Investment Management. After that I went into Investor Relations, Marketing and now Corporate Venture Capital. If you would have told me in my first job that I would end up in Corporate Venture Capital, I would not have believed it.

Your career will take many paths and always appreciate what you learn along the way. I wish you the best of luck!!


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Sarah’s Answer

A lot of people hear STEM and immediately think "engineer" or "application developer". There is so much more to STEM than that! In fact, there are elements of STEM in nearly every field out there!

The best thing to do is figure out what your passions are. What do you like to do for fun? What excites you? What are your strengths?

If you're organized and like to be involved in projects from beginning to end, IT project management might be of interest.
If you're very detailed, a good communicator, and are able to explain technical concepts to non-technical people, you might look at Business Analysis or Systems Analysis.
If you are a problem solver and can take a big concept, break it down in to a solution and figure out how to design it, you might make a good architect.
If you're good with people and are often told you're a natural leader, you might think about team management.
If you like to dig in deep, work on the details of something and have a working product by the time you're done, think about becoming a developer.

Also, you can study just about anything in college and relate it to a STEM career. I received a degree in Art (Photography and Computer Graphics) and applied that to a career in web design and development. I have friends who studied medicine/nursing and later ended up in IT, designing medical systems. The skies the limit!

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Abby’s Answer

Hello! I just started my job out of college within the Supply Chain industry and one thing I make an effort to remind myself is nothing is permanent and everything is a learning experience. It's important to take the time to try and align your values and passions with your job out of college but don't put so much pressure on yourself to find the "perfect" job right out of college. It will take time to find the right fit for all aspects of your life, especially because your life is constantly changing. Think of everything as a learning experience and move forward from it. Try and set yourself up for success right off the back but be open to change and accept the fact that it's okay to move around or create opportunities for yourself even after you start your job out of college. It's more likely than not that you will soon after change out of the role anyway.

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Sarah’s Answer

A lot of people hear STEM and immediately think "engineer" or "application developer". There is so much more to STEM than that! In fact, there are elements of STEM in nearly every field out there!

The best thing to do is figure out what your passions are. What do you like to do for fun? What excites you? What are your strengths?

If you're organized and like to be involved in projects from beginning to end, IT project management might be of interest.
If you're very detailed, a good communicator, and are able to explain technical concepts to non-technical people, you might look at Business Analysis or Systems Analysis.
If you are a problem solver and can take a big concept, break it down in to a solution and figure out how to design it, you might make a good architect.
If you're good with people and are often told you're a natural leader, you might think about team management.
If you like to dig in deep, work on the details of something and have a working product by the time you're done, think about becoming a developer.

Also, you can study just about anything in college and relate it to a STEM career. I received a degree in Art (Photography and Computer Graphics) and applied that to a career in web design and development. I have friends who studied medicine/nursing and later ended up in IT, designing medical systems. The skies the limit!

Hi Sarah: I like your response to Angelina's question. You are correct. Almost any element of study could relate to STEM. Sheila Jordan

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Elizabeth’s Answer

Hi Angelina!

There are so many amazing career options in STEM. I recommend reaching out to the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) groups at local colleges to see if they have information sessions. I was invited to a SWE event at Princeton when I was in high school, and that's where I was introduced to some different STEM careers. I also recommend looking at college websites for the alumni highlights section (most colleges have these). There, you can see the profiles of some of the successful alumni and their career paths.

Another piece of advice, don't feel any pressure to decide exactly what you want to do now! The world is changing quickly and there will be careers available down the road that aren't even thought of today. Pick something that sounds interesting to you now and go with it. If it's not interesting to you after some time and energy, you can pivot to something else. Many of the skills learned in STEM degrees prepare you for many different jobs.

Good luck!

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Amy’s Answer

I was able to narrow down my STEM specialty in the 3rd/4th year of college. You'll know when you really enjoy the course and wish you can take more courses like that or wish you can do that for a living. College gave me a sense of what I want to do. Reality kicked in during my first job after college then I realized what I needed. It takes time but it will come to you.








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Sneha’s Answer

Hi Angelina,

I have decided to go into research after my college as I am very passionate about biology and applied sciences. However, after a while I felt that the work I did is not going anywhere and slowly started learning other technologies like SQL/SAS. I got an opportunity in one of the health care companies and found the job challenging, well paid . I found that my research skills helped me in my career growth.

Thank you,
Sneha.


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Matthew’s Answer

Hi Angelina, a lot has been said already so I don't want to repeat the abundant advise. One thing that I would like to add is the potential for a rotational program once you figure out what general area you want to be in. For instance, if you are interesting in chemistry find a company that offers a rotational program that will allow you to explore multiple roles within the industry.

Best of luck!

Matt

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Nick’s Answer

Success in a STEM education is more than just learning in a particular technical field. It is evidence that you are capable of learning and applying new knowledge to solving new problems in a challenging environment. This in itself is crucial to succeeding in any career. All employers know this. Be alert to opportunities that may come along where you would be recruited for a job outside of "engineering".

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Linda’s Answer

Hi Angelina - That is a terrific question. You may find yourself asking yourself that many times throughout your life. Remember, just because you are starting in one area, doesn't mean you cannot change. Your life and your career(s) will evolve as you grow older.

Best wishes in your future.
Linda

Linda recommends the following next steps:

I would suggest searching online to find career choice assessments such as www.careerexplorer.com/. Answer the questions truthfully, and not how you think they want you to answer. The results can give you some interesting options.

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Amanda’s Answer

STEM skills can be applied to so many topics, so I would suggest the following as possible options to dig further:
- Decide which aspect of STEM you find most interesting and maybe even down to the specific type of math within the "M."
- See if there is a company or organization you really respect or enjoy shopping at or they build stuff you think is cool. If you find one, look at their job posting to see how they talk about a given position and the education desired.
- Since STEM can be applied to so much, explore a topic you love and then follow a similar path. If you care about climate change, or love video games or food science, see what options come up with you search these terms with engineer, analyst, data scientist, programmer, inventor.

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Tejas’s Answer

Dear Angelina: This is a great question. I was a STEM student myself and always had this uncertainty in my mind.
As I reflect back - few things makes clear sense and I jotted them down for you.

- Start with what makes sense to you or What you truly believe can make difference in the world versus what's "Buzz word" of the day. e.g. During my high-school years I was convinced that Computer Science, Internet technologies and Knowledge democratization will truly impact the world positively and make improve people's lives, especially under/less- privileged world. that's how I ended up taking CS major in my graduate.

- Next you want to zero down on few things within your chosen path to be absolutely awesome at! Clear stand-out. e.g. (not as per any plans but accidentally) I became pretty good at databases (DBs), querying, analyzing large data sets. This secured me a scholarship for my Masters "Management Information System (MIS)" with the professor working on knowledge mgmt (rough predecessor of Data Science or Big Data Mgmt.)

- Try to look for extending your expertise to the real world- i.e. The application of your knowledge to the real world functions which can make different TODAY. e.g. During my masters I ended up taking Operations/ Finance courses to see how I can apply my data analysis skills. Also, I was a unique guy who knew writing code/ Data Science with knowledge of Finance. A project which got me some good fame was analyzing data of Online Finance Forums for insights. This secured me an internship offers from 4 different Tier-1 companies and I accepted the offer to work in a treasury dept of a top IT company.

Post that I have been fortunate enough to have different managers, mentors and peers who helped me through 6 different jobs and today I am back to my passion - leading product engineering teams who are building technology to help world a better place. A good and old 'circle of life'.

I am sure you will chart some awesome path and wishing you a great luck in your journey.

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Leslie’s Answer

Hi Angelina!

I know at this time in your life you are thinking about your future and career path, but always remember what you decide now and what your first job may be, is not something you have to stick with your whole career. Your journey will surprise you and doors will open up with opportunities that you never expected. It is great that you have an interest in STEM and I would aim to find a job in that space when you graduate college as your first step. You may love it or it may not be what you expected, but it will be an experience that you will learn from. I always found it difficult to know exactly what I wanted to do for my job/career. For me, it is much easier to know what I don't want to do rather than what I do want to do.

I graduated from college 15 years ago and I have had 5 very different jobs since. While I did not "love" all 5 jobs, they all taught me something that has helped in my career and life. I first got hired out of college in a leadership development program so I had direct reports right out of college which was a learning experience in a field that necessarily was not what I saw myself doing in the long run. I was there for 2 years and started my MBA with a finance concentration that brought me to my next job in Investment Management. After that I went into Investor Relations, Marketing and now Corporate Venture Capital. If you would have told me in my first job that I would end up in Corporate Venture Capital, I would not have believed it.

Your career will take many paths and always appreciate what you learn along the way. I wish you the best of luck!!


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Fan’s Answer

Hi Angelina, your question reminds me of those days when I was still a student. I had the same kind of questions at a certain stage in my life. Even after I had a study/career plan, I still got worried sometimes like what if I don't like the things in my plan when I am actually doing them. So, I tried to share my experience when I see similar questions.

I guess I am lucky because I had a very high-level plan when I was 15 and it worked out fine. But like I said, I got concerns along the way. To check on my ideas, I tried seizing every opportunity to implement them and learn the truth. Math can be very different in middle school and in college. Coding can be very different as a major and as a job. It is not rare that people like one form of a thing but hate other forms of it.

So, experience tells you the best if something is what you want or like. Do not hesitate because you think it is too early to try. If you think you like something, take advantage of your spare time and find chances to actually do it. If you want to be a programmer, apply for internships or work on small projects by yourself. If you want to be a designer, design something for a topic and send it out. When you work on something, you see the goods and bads about it. You know you like something when you go through the troubles but still like it and desire to learn more.

Of course, time is limited and you can have too many interests to try out. That is why you need priorities. Spend time to experience the ones on the top of your list and talk to people to learn about the rest. It is very helpful to extract information from other people's experience. Social network is so developed today and you can find people doing all kinds of jobs easily. Reach out to them and learn what they are doing everyday. Although different people can have different feelings about one thing, you can still collect the common parts that will show you the reality of it if you talk to more people.

In a word, the result will show up itself as long as you collect enough information. So, don't just imagine stuff. Learn it.

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John’s Answer

A great way to help define a career path down the road is to experiment while you are still in school. Because you are interested in STEM, which encompasses a very broad number of disciplines, you have lots of opportunities. The college you plan on attended probably has a lot of courses in wide a variety of STEM majors. I would suggest looking through your schools academic catalog and just finding STEM courses that interest you, especially during your freshman and sophomore years when it is still easy to change majors. As you experiment with different courses, you will get an understanding of what really interests you and what you will want to do in the future.

Some course suggestions:
- If your school has a bioinformatics class, take it. I took this course at my school and I loved how it combined technology with biology.
- Intro to web development: this is a fun and easy course that will teach you the very basic aspects of web development. Perhaps you might be interested in front end development after this course
- Take some math courses like calculus or linear algebra. Not only are they foundational courses if you want to pursue a math major, but they are also the precursors for further education in machine learning
- Intro computer science class: this will help you understand if you are interested in software engineering
- Physics and Engineering courses
- Information management: this course will lay the foundations for business information systems. It will give you a better perspective of how a business utilizes data. This is still STEM but more focused on the business side of things. This kind of knowledge is very high in demand (business insights)

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