When you choose a career path in the STEM fields, you’re picking one that has a higher level of difficulty than just about any other. STEM, of course, stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, and that acronym alone should tell you just how difficult things can be for these types of jobs. There are seemingly endless hours for some, but many feel it’s worth it as STEM employees make a difference in the world and earn high wages.
If you’ve been considering a STEM career, are just getting started on your journey, or are looking for ways to enhance your career, there are some things that you need to know. Here are five keys to a successful STEM career no matter what specific field you’re in.
In a lot of career paths, people feel that their education is done the very second that they get a diploma. If you’re in a STEM field and want to make sure that you have a successful career, though, you need to continue learning every day. Whether it be online courses or traditional classes to advance your knowledge, you’ll want to keep adding to your database.
There is a lot of on-the-job training when it comes to STEM jobs, as well. Once in a while, you’ll run into a problem that you don’t know how to solve. Once you either find a solution to the problem or ask for help, you’re going to learn something new that you can use down the road. See what types of courses you can have your job pay for, too, advancing your education.
Perhaps the most important thing that you can leave at the door when walking into a STEM job is any grain of narcissism that you might have. Just like in any job, you are going to make mistakes, but in STEM fields, they are going to happen a lot more often. The sooner that you recognize these mistakes, the better off you’re going to be for your entire career.
There are two different things that can happen when you make a mistake. You either learn from it and use it for future knowledge, or you point fingers and don’t accept that you were wrong. Anyone that chooses the second path won’t be in the STEM field for very long. The most brilliant minds in the world have made countless mistakes but became better because of them in the long run.
Learn People Skills
There are many of us who would prefer to work alone for the rest of our lives and not have to bounce ideas around in large group meetings. However, if you want to work in STEM, you’re going to have to learn how to be part of larger teams. Unless you’re thinking on an entirely different level from everyone else in the world, working as a team is the only way to come up with advancements.
It’s much easier said than done to acquire the people skills that you need. If you don’t know where to start, try interacting with your colleagues on topics that don’t involve work at all. Get to know them and see how well you could potentially work together. Your interview for your STEM career will tell you much of what you need to know about where you’re at.
We already mentioned that you need to learn from mistakes, but you can also learn a lot before you even make that mistake. By taking notes and getting ideas from other people on how to perform tasks, you’re setting yourself up for success in anything that you do. Talk to others or simply shadow them (with their permission, of course), and see how they operate.
It will become pretty apparent who the top-level people are in your field, and those are the ones that you should be watching more carefully. See what they do on a daily basis that makes them so unique and talented, and continue learning from the best.
Another thing that we mentioned is to continue to further your education while you’re employed. One of the biggest reasons for this is that you’ll need to adapt in the future as every field in STEM is ever-changing. We’re not just talking about a yearly or even monthly basis, either, as these fields change daily.
Those who are more equipped to adapt to changes in procedure are going to be more valuable and will have longer careers in STEM. Those who want to do things in their own way are going to be left behind. Learn all you can, and apply that knowledge to future changes.