Millennials in the United States ranked absolute last when 19 countries were tested on problem solving in technology. While this might be bad news for us, it’s an opportunity for you.

Getting yourself an education in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) is now—and will continue to be—vital to securing a career in digital technology, which is advancing faster than ever. STEM education is not only crucial to landing a science and tech job, but to thrive in one as well. Becoming qualified to work a STEM-related career makes you indispensable to some of the most in-demand jobs on the market, including architecture, journalism, industrial design, software development, nursing and—possibly most importantly—the pharmaceutical industry.

Pharma necessities

The contents of your medicine cabinet originate with clinical drug candidates. Seventy percent of these candidates start at small to mid-level pharma and biotech companies. The discovery of these new products is done by researchers with expertise in every single area of STEM, and more researchers are needed every year.

“STEM jobs are projected to grow 17 percent from 2008 to 2018, almost double the 9.8 percent growth of non-STEM jobs.”

The foundation of developing pharmaceutical drugs is built on STEM fundamentals. Drug development is a serious business (and a much-regulated one), so a high level of STEM expertise is essential to bringing these complex drugs through clinical trials and all the way to commercialization.

Syed Husain, chief commercial officer at Alcami, says, “A strong theoretical foundation in STEM, coupled with practical application in the pharma and biotech industries, will pave the way for future generations to develop life-saving and innovative medicines.”

That means the majority of our upcoming generation will have to be STEM-educated in order to keep this planet running.

Your future job

Contract Development and Manufacturing Organization (CDMO) serves the pharma industry every step of the way from development to manufacturing. CDMO provides clinical trial materials and stability studies for their customers, and each of them is a STEM worker. In fact, in 2010, 7.6 million Americans were STEM workers, making that 1 out of every 18 workers. STEM jobs are projected to grow 17 percent from 2008 to 2018, almost double the 9.8 percent growth of non-STEM jobs.

The future of jobs is in STEM. But don’t be afraid of learning a STEM field. Fashion model (and noted coder) Karlie Kloss said it best: “Anyone can do it. You don’t have to be good at math or science. Think of it like learning another language.”