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February 26, 2021, by Abigail Rowse

Alternate Careers for STEM Students

By Chris Birchall, Employability Education Projects Officer

It’s important to note that the value of a STEM degree stretches far beyond subject-specific jobs and career paths. The lessons learned and skills gained from a technical degree are valued by a range of employers across diverse sectors. You may not have even considered these options as potential career paths before.

Laboratory and workshop experience, technical projects, and group work develop an excellent foundation for problem-solving, communication, and teamwork skills. In other words, STEM degrees don’t just offer technical skills but transferable skills too. A wide range of employers value these skills.

Beyond STEM-specific careers, what are your options?

To get a good idea of other sectors and roles that are actively looking for STEM graduates, you could look at STEM-specific jobs boards such as Gradcracker. Here, you can search for positions where employers are interested in your degree and give you a range of options to consider. Websites like TARGETjobs and Prospects enable you to research across diverse sectors. This will help you get a good understanding of different entry routes and requirements for many different job types helping you make an informed decision.

Booking a careers advice appointment can also give you a chance to discuss just what it is you’d like to get out of a future role. In addition, you can consider the aspects of your course you’ve enjoyed the most. This appointment can be a jumping-off point to help you generate ideas for roles you may have not been aware of.

What should you consider when thinking about your options?

When thinking about future career options, it often helps by focusing not just what career paths your peers are taking (or have taken previously) but what you value most from a job. Consider aspects of a career such as work-life balance, opportunities to progress, salary and autonomy. This can help ensure you focus on career paths that will suit you. To get a better understanding of what previous students in your position have gone on to do, try looking up alumni on LinkedIn to see what they’re doing today. The results might surprise you!

In addition to this, consider attending careers events outside of your faculty and school. This could be useful to give you a comparison and a reference frame for you to compare career paths against in the future. Spotlight On events and careers fairs bring a range of employers from a particular sector together to give you an understanding of the sector as a whole as well as the different opportunities available within it.

Choice of degree subject and selection of future career by no means have to be the same and if you need any more evidence of this, then how about this? I’ve got two chemistry degrees, and I work as a careers advisor. Strange things happen!

Why not start by exploring our A-Z types of jobs webpages? Check out anything from accountancy and financial management to science beyond the lab and everything in between. Our choosing your career resources include great ideas regardless of your situation.

Posted in Careers AdviceChoosing Your Career