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Are STEM jobs more financially safe than jobs involving art?

I want to be an author, but would it be more financially safe to pursue a job in STEM and instead keep writing as a hobby?

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Nicole’s Answer

Hi Tristan. Thanks so much for this awesome question.

I agree with the previous answer provided, specifically that STEM careers have longevity and there is almost always something new to learn. And for sure, one's ability to convey their STEM work in a relatable way is priceless. These things combined can lead to a pretty stable financial future.

One additional thing I will call out, specifically with respect to STEM is this idea of being innovative. I use the word "innovative" because, really, there are many ways, in the current environment where STEM and art intersect. Are you familiar with NFTs? Many fantastic artists are creating beautiful work either on canvases or in a digital space and utilizing STEM skills to share that work.

I am highly biased in that I think that STEM can be used to create and enhance just about any form of work and/or life activity. I see the creative space of art as just another amazing space where STEM can play a role. All of this to say, I don't think you necessarily have to choose between art and STEM. There is lots of room for both. That said, as you take in financial considerations, your work in STEM may require a bit more "care and feeding" to keep your knowledge and skills fresh and relevant.

I hope you find this answer helpful and I wish you all the best on this journey.
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Brian’s Answer

In a word, yes. Demand for STEM skills is still strong, and you can get an actual job with a predictable paycheck and benefits (health insurance might not seem like a big deal now, but trust me, it will loom much larger in a decade or two). Frankly, planning to be an author as a career is kind of like planning to play in the NFL as a career -- yes, there are 1,000-plus who do it, and they're all rich and some of them very rich and famous, but for every one who makes it there are 10,000 who would have liked to but couldn't. Besides, you can work in a STEM field and still be an author, and even use the knowledge to inform your stories (just ask Michael Crichton).

What I've also observed -- as a writer now working in data analysis -- is how narrative permeates everything. Nature is all about causes and effects, accidents and impacts and disasters and triumphs, leading to results that might be good and might be... not good. I think having a sense for those stories can help you be more insightful in almost any work.
Thank you comment icon Thank you for the advice! I can see how having knowledge of a STEM field can help with writing. Tristan
Thank you comment icon I agree, these are practical jobs because the work is critical. We need clean air, clean water, safe homes and roads, energy to move the world forward and STEM careers do exactly that. You will always be in demand if you have these SKILLS Elisa De La Peña, E.I.T., ENV SP
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Elisa’s Answer

You don't have to choose one or the other, you can do both. STEM Skills are valuable because they take time to gain, but writing is a great skill to have within STEM as well. Technical Reports, Concept Reports, there is no shortage of technical writing in STEM, but being able to translate very technical concept to a lay person is incredible valuable and an important job. Don't be afraid to explore your options.
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