Every Job is a STEAM Job: Why Your Child Will Use Tech in Their Future Career

From an early age, kids are asked what they want to be when they grow up. Parents gift toy stethoscopes in hopes that they’re raising a future doctor or sign their kids up for singing lessons to foster a lifelong love of music.

While some childhood career choices are more realistic than others (not many children grow up to become pirates and princesses), almost all of them will be related in some way to science, technology, engineering, the arts, or math.

Keep reading to learn why even actors and journalists will need STEAM skills to succeed in the future.

The Growth Rate of STEAM Jobs

According to the Georgetown Public Policy Institute, STEAM is one of the fastest growing fields in America. By 2020, the number of STEAM jobs is expected to have grown 26 percent since 2010. This is second only to healthcare professionals, who are expected to see a 31 percent increase in jobs by 2020.

These aren’t low-skill or entry level positions either, as 95 percent of STEAM job postings by 2020 will require candidates to have a postsecondary education. This is dramatically higher than the national average, where 65 percent of job postings in 2020 will require candidates to have a postsecondary education.

Not only are STEAM jobs in demand, but they’re also profitable. Lydia Dishman at Fast Company reports that programming jobs tend to pay up to $22,000 more than openings that don’t require coding skills — and nearly half pay more than $58,000 annually.

These skills are also easier to come by.

“Acquiring such knowledge used to land squarely in the environs of higher education,” Dishman writes. “While tech’s current most in demand job of data scientist usually requires an advanced degree in math and physics, programmers don’t need a computer science degree to succeed.”

Early development programming skills and postsecondary certifications are making it easier for people to build their programming skillsets without getting a master’s degree.

However, this begs the question: What job positions are all of these STEAM employees filling? Is there really that much demand for web developers and software engineers?

Every Job is a STEAM Job

Vince Bertram, CEO of Project Lead The Way, cites a 2014 Census Bureau report that 74 percent of graduates from STEAM programs find employment outside their field.

His belief is that instead of treating STEAM graduates as future STEAM workers, we should simply treat them as future employees in the overall workforce. As many as 26 million jobs in the United States require some form of STEAM knowledge — representing 20 percent of all U.S. jobs.

In other words, STEAM refers to skills, not industries.

“We’re living in transformational times, and if your job description isn’t already changing, it probably will in the near future,” Daniel Burrus writes at the Huffington Post. “Even many traditional roles are becoming harder to fill because of a lack of up-to-date skills.”

Every job is becoming a STEAM job as traditionally non-tech fields adopt science and technology to improve their operations.

Fashion blogger on smartphone

10 Traditionally Non-Technical Fields Embracing STEAM

You can find STEAM professionals in almost every field, from corporate developers to multimedia artists. This is what makes STEAM so exciting: These skills can help you do just about anything!

“[STEAM professionals] are working to find solutions for global warming, cancer, third world hunger, disappearing habitats, and an interdependent world economy,” the team at Science Pioneers writes.

“Yesterday’s stereotype of the geek in a lab coat is not representative of today’s STEM teams, where economists work with researchers on technical transfer and engineers build the state-of-the-art equipment for businesses working with cutting-edge technologies.”

Here are 10 unconventional fields that are thriving with the help of technology and STEAM professionals who are making companies more successful.

Fashion and Cosmetics

When most people think about the fashion industry, the last thing that comes to mind is the “geek in a lab coat” that the Science Pioneers mentioned. In an article for STEM Jobs, Dorothy Crouch highlights the needs for such skills in the beauty industry.

A few examples include:

  • Chemists who develop new creams, colors, and products
  • Researchers who analyze industry trends and test product effectiveness
  • Engineers who design packaging and manage the logistics of shipping
  • IT specialists who develop the company’s infrastructure

All of these positions are crucial to the fashion industry, and if some element is absent, someone’s favorite lip shade might never hit the shelves.

Restaurant Operations

Restaurants can be one of the most volatile entrepreneurial options. Ebbs and flows in food trends mean restaurants have to follow the whims of the people. One year cupcakes are in, and the next year everyone is ordering macarons or eclairs. Without understanding customer trends, restaurant owners could go out of business.

According to Smallbiz Technology, big data gives restaurants the insight they need to improve their odds for success. Marketing analysis gives owners insight into what campaigns are the most effective while restaurant trackers can help them predict what foods will be the most popular or what times of the day more wait staff will be needed.

Data and analytics work together to bring in more customers and increase the chances of creating a positive experience that makes them return.

Environmental Preservation

While environmentalism seems to check the science box of STEAM, math and technology are used more often to protect our planet. For example. Bobbi Peterson explains how math is used to develop better renewable energy sources, while technology makes it easier for environmentalists to monitor the emissions output of companies. In fact, artificial intelligence sensors can gather data on chemical outputs and immediately alert companies when their emissions are exceeding federal regulations.    

Public Policy

Students are offering their STEAM knowledge to lawmakers to creatively solve problems within their communities.

Last fall, for example, government officials in Columbus, Ohio challenged high school students at the Metro Institute of Technology to a hackathon to handle to the nation’s opioid crisis. Students respondied by developing theoretical products that could lock medication away until the precise day a doctor says it should be taken. Then, the students came up with unique marketing strategies to raise awareness about opioid abuse among young people.

These solutions can have life-saving implications and could inspire students to enter politics to help their communities.

Air Travel

Engineers are constantly needed to improve the logistics of flight plans and the development of airplane technology. However, STEAM experts have also been called by the TSA to use biometrics as a way to improve airport security while moving travelers through the gates more quickly.

“With border control and safety issues increasing, facial, fingerprint, and iris-recognition are all currently being trialled as ways to improve the experience at airport security around the world,” the team at the World Travel & Tourism Council writes. “In the U.K., over 100 e-passport gates are in use across 18 terminals.”

Like the opioid example, these processes save lives. Today’s investment in STEAM could provide a creative tech solution to stop terror attacks in the future.

Travelers at the airport


Brigitta Carter provides a list of ways hotels embrace technology and incorporate STEAM into traditional hospitality roles:

  • Data analysis makes it easier to track customer preferences and make suggestions closer to their needs.
  • Keyless entry and digital check-in makes it easier for travelers to access their rooms.
  • Investments in energy-saving technology lower operating costs and decrease the hotel’s global impact.

Even customer care teams use data analysis to determine what customers want in their hotel experiences. STEAM skills are used at all levels of the industry to make the customer’s stay better.

Personal Fitness

Like hospitality, personal fitness is another field where STEAM is used at all levels of the industry.

Product developers at Nike, Gatorade, and FitBit all look to incorporate the newest technologies into their products. From improving their drink recipes for maximum impact to adding accelerometers to running shoes for performance tracking, today’s fitness products are more scientifically advanced than ever.

At the personal level, athletes and dieters alike have more transparency in their workouts with the help of apps and fitness communities.

“Never before have consumers been more engaged with their progress and performance or more connected to others in the fitness community,” health club marketing manager Jay Baikie tells the Huffington Post.

Without technology, it would be harder for people to understand why their fitness plans aren’t working and what steps they should take to improve it.

Soccer referee

Professional Sports

While sometimes controversial during their implementation, many sports have benefitted and eventually embraced replay technology.

Opponents have argued that stopping the game to watch a replay would slow it down, and fans would get disinterested. They also claimed coaches would abuse the power and make too many replay calls. However, this technology has made the refs’ calls more accurate, benefitting fans and players — especially in crucial playoff games.

“Many referees have at one time or the other been brought before a panel to answer for a call they made during a game,” Sam Cohen writes at the Huffington Post. “The fact is that these adjudicators are human, too, and can make mistakes.”

Real Estate

Michael Beckerman has spent the past 30 years in the real estate space and the past five in real estate tech. He has watched technology improve over the years so buyers can quickly and easily find the homes they’re looking for. Professional real estate agents and homebuyers tap into their data analysis skills to determine whether a home is a good investment today — and what it will be worth in the future.

And many real estate agents are champing at the bit to add virtual reality to the selling process.

“Virtual reality … will impact building tours in ways I cannot even fathom!” Beckerman writes. “It has the potential to be one of the most profound changes in how the industry shows, tours, and views space.”

Food Production

Research and transparency make it easier for customers to make the best choices in grocery stores and help government regulators track what kinds of products hit the market.

In an article for Inc., AJ Agrawal highlights how technology is improving food production and consumption in America. From reducing waste (Americans throw out 40 percent of the food they buy, and grocers often throw out food for cosmetic reasons) to improving food labels, technology can help farmers, grocers, manufacturers, and consumers.

These are just the tip of the iceberg of traditionally non-tech fields that have started to embrace STEAM. Whatever interest your child has — from theater to fashion to marine biology — they will need computing skills to enhance their craft.


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