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The Importance of STEM for non-Technical Careers

In an increasingly technology-focused world, educating the next generation is an important task for those of us in the engineering world. We frequently talk about STEM, an acronym that stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. It provides a shorthand to denote the importance that these subjects have become for our young people.

STEM Project

There used to be a time that these subjects were just for geeks. When home computers and video games were new, they were only the enthusiasts and often dismissed by the mainstream. The subjects taught in school did not cover these topics, for understandable reasons. Only the most visionary or ambitious science fiction authors would have predicted the role that technology plays in our lives today.

These subjects can no longer be regarded as purely for the enthusiast or the student who has dreams of being the next Jobs, Musk or Gates. Almost every aspect of our lives is suffused with the latest technology, and so providing our young people with the skills necessary for them to navigate this new world is vital.

Schools today already present a huge range of opportunities for young people to get involved with technology. Technology and design are familiar subjects for today’s students – computer studies are a key part of their school day, and there are many organisations that expand on the topics that kids are learning about in school. One example can be found in an after-school club called Code Ninjas, which teaches children how to write code and create their own software. Even the Scouts and Guides are providing opportunities to get involved alongside their more traditional activities.

This is vital for the next generation. I asked my own children to think of the professions that need STEM as part of their jobs. We went through all the obvious answers – scientist, computer programmer, teacher – but we then started talking about other paths. Do we need to know something about STEM, even if our career is not in a technical field?

The fact is that almost everyone can benefit from exposure to STEM education. From nurses to lawyers, technology has impacted our lives and will continue to do so. Whatever our career goals, we can always learn something that will help us in our professional lives.

The experiences that children are gaining during their STEM-based studies, or even when creating computer games, are helping to develop other skills. Planning and forward-thinking, the ability to analyse and test a solution objectively, and learning how to communicate clearly in a technological world are all skills that future employers will cherish.

We want to break the old-fashioned view that “tech is for geeks.” Technology can be fun for everyone, and there are plenty of ways to get involved. Typing “STEM toys” into a search engine will provide a wealth of gift ideas, and they don’t all need to be for children.

DesignSpark has always been a firm believer in the power of STEM education. We are proud to be involved with a range of thought-leaders that celebrate both the fun and the business opportunities that STEM can provide. We have a range of podcast series for you to enjoy, the latest videos from Ruth Amos and Shawn Brown, and Shrouk El-Attar's inspirational series as she talks to some of the best engineers on the planet.DesignSpark has a whole host of content that will inspire everyone, from the casual listener to the dedicated engineer, and there are plenty of ways you too could get involved.

This is the key message of this article: STEM truly is for everyone. We cannot simply ignore or dismiss technology, just because we feel it is not relevant to us. Technology will continue to advance, and we need to keep pace with it. Whether you want to be at the forefront of these developments, or you simply want to take advantage of the latest time-saving devices, STEM is most definitely for you.

Connector Geek is Dave in real life. After three decades in the industry, Dave still likes talking about connectors almost as much as being a Dad to his two kids. He still loves Lego too. And guitars.