Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) have a reputation as subjects that are, at best, hard to grasp. At worst, they’re considered out of touch with reality.

This leaves everyone from students to parents and employers asking the same question: “When will I ever use this?”

Setting expectations

With 83 percent of college students graduating without having lined up a job—and it certainly isn’t better for high school students—the need to make a connection between what we learn in the classroom and the skills we’ll use in our future career has never been greater.

"By understanding how your interests fit across many fields and career options, you can invest in education that not only prepares you for jobs today, but career options far into the future."

Great STEM jobs are available at almost every level of preparation, suited to a wide range of interests in industries like fashion, food, music, video games, sports and the more obvious engineering and science careers. STEM covers more than 500 types of jobs and over 400 distinct academic subjects and disciplines.

The array of choices can be overwhelming, so we looked for a way to help people focus on the areas and jobs that are most likely to interest them. In fact, with so many high growth, high demand, high paying career options in STEM, we believe that you not only could find a job you like, but a career you’ll love.

STEM types

Sophisticated statistical techniques allowed us to group the jobs and subjects in our STEM Jobs database according to activities that people perform on the job, such as working with computers or operating technical equipment.

Our analysis led us to eight different groupings where professionals did a lot of similar things, even if they might do them in different industries or different work settings. Imagine doing what you love in marine biology or financial analysis without making wild changes in what you’re studying. We call these groups STEM Types, and the idea is that people who enjoy the activities that characterize a given STEM Type will probably find a job in that group that is a good fit for them.

Many of us know someone who’s pursued a single career focus only to discover upon finishing their education that the job no longer exists or isn’t what they thought it was. By understanding how your interests fit across many fields and career options, you can invest in education that not only prepares you for jobs today, but career options far into the future.