Its easy for the older generations to look at the subjects available at schools that relate to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and understand the value that they hold in the workplace today, however looking through the lens of young person choosing their options, it’s not so easy.

How do I know? Well, I am basing this on what is going on in my family circle at the moment with my son having just gone through the myriad of options available and what he wants to do as his future career. We now are waiting to see if he’ll be assigned to the subjects that he chose.

One of the challenges that we faced was that the subjects in the options are grouped into a set of choices and you are steered down a set of choosing one from group A, two from B etc. A formula that seems to be based on popularity of the subject, number of teachers of that subject and the national curriculum at that time. This can be a stressful time for a young person having to make a big life decision about what career path they’ll pursue and which subjects they should take.

The value of STEM subjects is invaluable to the knowledge and building blocks a young person needs for their career and future. These days, the internet has made it easier to research a career, as you can look at the many options available and what types of qualifications are needed for them.

It is also important to look at the future and what is happening in the industries related to that career path. Many industries are increasingly utilising technologies such as IoT (Internet of Things) and Mixed Reality (Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality) to help drive innovation, growth and creativity. These will help shape career paths in the future, for example:

  • An Optician may be prescribing prescription lenses with mixed reality capability and need an understanding of computing/information technology to program the correct settings.
  • A Jeweler or Cobbler may need understanding of electronics and computing to include the latest IoT technology into a ring or the heel of a shoe.
  • A Fashion Designer bringing IoT and wearables into the fabrics and using chemistry, physics and engineering to make new conductive/wearable fabrics that interact with surroundings, mood and environment.
  • A Hairdresser using mixed Rreality via a mirror in front of a client to show the latest hair designs before cutting or colouring takes place.

STEM subjects are the core of most of the way that the world works today and will shape the future. They’ll help challenge the way that we think and the way that we evolve.

When choosing your options, my advice is:

  • Research your chosen career
  • Look at the future directions
  • Research people in that career and what they have done/doing
  • Attend a career event,
    • Speak to people in that career
    • Ask questions
  • Choose your subjects
  • Study and pass the exams
  • Always keep learning

This month I’ve been focusing on STEM education, activities and engagement.  For those interested in getting their hands on code, get some tips on where to start, then try testing your coding skills to the next level and build and power a robot with code. In my next post, I’ll dive a bit deeper into Python code.  If you’re a beginning or avid coder, I’d love to hear from you. How did you get started? What are you working on now?

This entry was originally posted in Max’s blog.

Max Hemingway — Senior Architect

Max is a senior architect for DXC in the United Kingdom. With more than 25 years of experience, he has a broad and deep range of technical knowledge and is able to translate business needs into IT-based solutions. Currently the chief architect of the BAE Systems account in the UK, Max has a proven track record acquired through continual client engagement and delivery of leading edge infrastructures, all of which have delivered positive results for end-clients, including IT cost reduction, expansion of service capability and increased revenues.