STEM workers in the US made up 6.6% of the workforce in 2020. This is a good sign for the US economy in general, but it will have an especially positive impact on you. STEM jobs are more likely to pay well and have strong job security.
If you haven’t decided on a career yet or have been considering switching fields, here are six ways to immerse yourself in STEM topics to see if it’s the right industry for you.
1. Read Credible Articles
It’s important to find credible sources of information so you can have confidence in the content you’re reading. You may not be able to examine every article on your own, but some clues indicate whether an article is credible. Here are a few to look out for:
- Author credentials and experience in the field (i.e., Dr., Professor)
- The publisher of the piece
- Acknowledgment of funding sources
The Journal of Online Learning and Educational Researcher are two credible STEM logbooks that will give you access to high-quality work. The only downside is that most of their articles are riddled with jargon and complex ideas.
If you’re new to the world of STEM and find academic journals a bit too dry for your taste, visfu.com offers a refreshing and easily digestible read in their technology section.
2. Enroll in Free Academies
Getting a STEM degree will cost you about $65,000 to $80,000. But let’s face it: Spending that kind of dough to daydream in a lecture hall isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. If you want to expand your repertoire of skills without spending a dime, sign up for free academies.
Online programs like Khan Academy offer hundreds of courses covering everything from basic algebra to trigonometry. Each lesson is broken down into manageable chunks that make it easy for anyone to pick up new concepts in a few lessons.
Because these academies are available at all levels, they’re perfect for people who want to learn the basics before diving into more advanced STEM subjects.
3. Listen to Podcasts
Listening to STEM experts can hone your cognitive skills, allowing you to tackle intricate problems with finesse and ease.
If you’re unsure of who to listen to first, plug in your earbuds and get ready to flex your intellect with Brains On! It’s a science podcast that spices up education with storytelling and uncovers the connection between human behavior and technology.
Alternatively, you can join the laid-back crew at Unprofessional Engineering and soak up some knowledge with a side of wit. The show takes a deep dive into how the brainiacs of the STEM industry conjure up everyday objects.
Open up your mind and let Apple Podcasts be your gateway to the world of math and science.
4. Write a Paper
You’ll have to investigate before writing about a STEM subject, which is an awesome way for non-experts to learn more about that field.
STEM research topics are limited only by the scope of your imagination. If you’re looking for something a little more practical than the Big Bang, try:
- The best way to dispose of nuclear waste
- How we can control our oceans’ rising temperatures
- Lowering the cost of harnessing solar power
Once you’ve decided on a topic, commit to publishing your article. Knowing that others will read your piece forces you to dig a little deeper for accurate information and present your argument with simplicity.
Before you go straight to the big leagues of academic journals, warm up your writing muscles with a few blog posts. It’s easier to get published on a website than in a prestigious journal, and it’s a good way to build your reputation as an authority.
5. Apply for an Internship
Internships provide valuable work experience and allow you to learn from professionals in your field. NASA and SEAP regularly offer apprenticeships for undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers. NASA also offers internships for those in the private sector who want to work on space-related projects.
To find out more about internship opportunities, visit NASA’s website or check out the listings at SEAP.
6. Go to a Conference
Not only will you learn about the latest developments in your field, but you can also meet other people who share your interests. Conferences are also an easy way to network and make connections that may help you later on in your career.
Talking with other attendees can give you a sense of what’s happening in the industry right now. You might get the opportunity to learn new facts before they’re made public. More importantly, you’ll understand how these trends will affect society as a whole (for better or worse).
Remember that each conference has a purpose.
For example, NSTA hosts conferences in the spring for educators in STEM fields. This wouldn’t be the ideal setting for newbies to learn about the latest advancements in technology. Instead, you might want to attend a conference hosted by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
Handle STEM Topics Like a Pro Researcher
If you’re looking for ways to immerse yourself in STEM topics, you must commit to research. You can engage in a passive activity like blog reading or engage more actively by writing a post. Either way, you’ll need a few spare hours of your day to explore the world of STEM.
It takes time to become proficient in a new skill, so don’t worry if you’re not immediately brilliant at it. To speed up your learning, explore our technology section to learn a few basic concepts before moving on to higher-level topics.