STEM Degrees Lead the Pack

Alara Walcott, Staff Writer

STEM is a rapidly growing field of study encompassing many of our past, present, and future innovations. With these advances in mind, those who find themselves in a STEM major are more likely to succeed in the near future. 

Although focusing on the technological side of things, STEM includes skills needed in other degrees. This includes communication skills, which go hand in hand with technological skills in more ways than one. In our day and age, we see collaborations of all kinds and this is not limited to the STEM field. If anything, liberal arts degrees are starting to absorb STEM concepts and practices into their field. “Overall, liberal arts colleges must do a better job of making their case and looking for natural opportunities to collaborate with STEM schools,” says Nancy Gray, president of Hollins University, a tiny all-women’s college in Roanoke, VA.

This goes to show that STEM skills are transferable, whereas liberal arts skills may be limited to sectors of work such as teaching, human resources, and politics, to name a few. 

Liberal arts degrees obviously have their own benefits as well. Otherwise, we would see massive gaps in the job field. Liberal arts degree earners can be expected to hold a consistent income later in their career, whereas STEM degree earners can be expected to see an influx in the beginning of their careers. 

What this argument fails to include is the increasing reliability of STEM-based subjects. In our modern day and near future, technology seems to take hold of our lives. It can reasonably be expected that STEM degree earners will have larger opportunities in the future as technology advances, which has been evident by the last decade of innovation. According to the Worchester, MA-based college’s Associate Provost Nancy Budwig, STEM majors are very much in demand these days, as the university has seen over a 10% increase in enrollment in these fields. Liberal arts degrees will be pushed further into obscurity, and job opportunities will continue to constrict. 

An argument that arises is that of STEM degree earners ending up in careers that are not STEM -based. Salary is a factor to those in STEM fields, as they are expected to earn highly. But business oriented companies seem to be in charge, swaying STEM degree earners towards the larger profit. Business is no easy concept to master, but a degree in STEM shows a willingness to integrate technology with business in online commerce, communications, and much more. Mixing liberal arts with business can be helpful as well, but not nearly as versatile as doing business online. 

Many degrees now rely on a combination of technology and people skills, such as medical degrees, which have an equal dependence on both. But this is a point that needs to be made. As technology advances further, the line blurs between the efficiency of people and technology. At the Rochester Institute of Technology, for example, a large majority of students obtain degrees in engineering or computing, but they must also complete a general education curriculum which delivers technology-infused liberal arts degrees.

STEM is becoming more and more transferable in every field, meaning more flexibility in the job market. As that same job market only becomes more competitive, it is all the better to have any advantage you can, and for many, that comes in the form of a STEM degree.