STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths – graduates are in high demand. Not a week goes by without a story in the press about the UK’s need for more research scientists or computer programmers. STEM graduates might think they are in a strong position to be able to have their pick of career - there are endless possibilities! But what sorts of jobs employ most graduates from the STEM subjects?
In the past 30 years, software developing has ballooned from a niche profession employing a few people into something which dominates everyday life. Computers control all aspects of our daily lives, and clever coders and app developers are in high demand. This sort of career might allow you to explore your creative side too, by coming up with ways to do things differently. The good news is that there is a lot of money to be made in software development, and top software developers are headhunted for huge salaries. There’s also the potential to come up with your own website or app, and make your fortune.
Hand in hand with the rise of the computer software industry is the growing awareness of climate change. Graduates who have a background in civil engineering, alternative energy, chemistry or geography can help find new, more environmentally-friendly ways of doing things. As countries around the world become more ambitious in tackling climate change, the scope of what environmental engineers get involved in grows larger. Many people go into this field out of a desire to make a difference rather than for the large salaries, but if you are passionate about the environment, why not get paid for doing something you love?
If maths and numbers are your thing, you may be interested in becoming an actuary. An actuary is a type of risk manager who tries to calculate the costs or effects of something which might happen in the future for a company or client, and the role regularly features on lists of the best paid graduate occupations. Actuaries make forecasts using sophisticated computer models, and graduates in maths, statistics or finance are usually best suited to this sort of work. If you take professional exams and become a member of the Faculty of Actuaries, you may find it easier to move into similar positions with other employers. Starting salaries for graduate actuaries are around £30,000.
Biomedical engineers are the people who develop new drugs or come up with innovative ways of treating serious medical conditions. Graduates in Biology or Chemistry might be more suited to this sort of career. Many graduates take their studies further with a Masters qualification or PhD. Although in this branch of science, the salaries may not be as high as in other STEM careers, it’s one of the few opportunities which provides the chance to do serious scientific research and mix with colleagues who are as passionate about science as you are. Opportunities are often available within large pharmaceutical companies, health charities and large research organisations.
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