Sunday, November 16, 2014

Everything you need to know about STEM jobs

By Sangeetha Shanmugham
Content Marketing Associate, World Education Services

What is STEM?

STEM is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — in an interdisciplinary and applied method. Rather than teach the four disciplines as separate and distinct subjects, STEM incorporates them into a cohesive learning pattern based on real-world applications. Since the graduating class of 2004, overall interest in STEM majors and careers among high school seniors has increased by over 20%. Since 2011, interest in STEM has grown and is projected to continue rising for Asian, Hispanic, American Indian and White students. The Southern region of the US has the highest concentration (36%) of students interested in STEM (Bayerus). 

What are their Career Interests?

In 2012, Mechanical Engineering (20.4%) was the most popular major or career choice among STEM-interested students, while Biology was second at 11.9%. After modest gains in 2006 and 2007, real increases in STEM enrollment started to show up in 2008. The percentage of freshmen majoring in STEM increased from 21.1 percent in 2007 to 28.2 percent in 2011, just as the recession was prompting many students and families to focus on the job potential of various fields of study. That represents a 48 percent increase in just a few years (InsideHigherEd).

Where are the STEM Jobs?

In 2012, the US STEM workforce surpassed 7.4 million workers and is expected to grow considerably through 2018, to an estimated 8.65 million workers. According to a report conducted by and Forbes, it can be noted that STEM jobs pay wages close to double the U.S. average (Bureau of Labor Statistics); engineering jobs ranked among the top paying jobs and one that maintained a high level of demand throughout the year. The other jobs at the top of the STEM list are ones in the oil and gas industry, followed closely by jobs in healthcare and medicine, but overall the list continued to be in favor of engineering degrees, especially drilling engineering (Forbes).

Which STEM jobs land H1-B visas?

Graduates with STEM degrees tend to be popular among hiring managers in the U.S. and one of the reasons can be attributed to the “STEM crisis” in the U.S. domestic labor market as American students are becoming less competitive in science and math. To fill the gap of qualified STEM workers, U.S. companies have begun hiring foreign talent under the H-1B visa. This can prove to be advantageous for international students who may be seeking opportunities in the U.S.

According to a previous WES Student Advisor entry, the data showed that three out of five occupations that get the most visa sponsorship are STEM-related. In 2012, H-1B sponsorship in computer-related occupations (60%) was more than half the total. We compiled a list of top jobs that landed H1B visas in 2014. They are, according to 2014 H1B Visa Report:

1. Computer System Analysts

2. Computer Programmers

3. Software Developers, Applications

4. Computer Occupations, All Other

5. Software Developers, Systems Software

6. Management Analysts

7. Financial Analysts

8. Accountants and Auditors

9. Network and Computer Systems Administrators

10. Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists 

Sangeetha earned her master’s degree in Media Studies from Syracuse University and a bachelor’s degree in Communications from New Jersey Institute of Technology. A perpetual transplant, Sangeetha has lived in multiple cities around the world for the purpose of education and the numerous multi-cultural experiences resulting from this fuelled her passion for international higher education.

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