10 min

What Are STEM Careers and Where To Study for Them

Popular STEM degrees are college programs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Experts in these fields make good money and have great chances to get a job abroad.

Let's find out what STEM careers are in demand today and where to study for them.

What Is STEM

Anyone looking for technical degrees abroad must have come across the STEM acronym. It stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, and combines all the majors that fall under these disciplines.

The STEM model integrates science and engineering into one system. It teaches future experts a holistic approach when dealing with technological problems, instead of viewing the issues from one subject’s perspective. This approach helps effectively address real-world technological problems.

Popular STEM programs include:

  • Aerospace Engineering;
  • Astronomy;
  • Biochemistry;
  • Biology;
  • Chemical Engineering;
  • Chemistry;
  • Civil Engineering;
  • Computer Science;
  • Electrical Engineering;
  • Mathematics;
  • Mechanical Engineering;
  • Physics;
  • Statistics.

Why Choose a STEM Degree

First of all, STEM specialists are highly demanded. Over the past few years, developed countries have repeatedly reported a shortage of STEM professionals. For example, the US is going to see a shortage of 1.1 million workers in this field by 2024. According to other sources, this figure will get almost twice as high by 2025. Every year, the UK economy loses up to £1.5 billion because of the shortage of STEM workers. Before the pandemic, about 340,000 STEM jobs remained vacant in Germany

Secondly, it is a promising sector for women’s professional growth. According to the American Association of University Women (AAUW), only 28% of STEM employees worldwide are women. Most of them are biologists, while the least of them are engineers and architects. Among the reasons are gender stereotypes, lack of role models, and the patriarchal structure of many cultures.

There is also a pay gap. According to Stanford University, female and male STEM professionals in the US earned $61,000 and $65,000 before taxes per year respectively in their first job.

Countries around the world regularly come up with initiatives to make STEM careers more attractive for women. One of the ways to do that is to fund their education. We’ve made a selection of the best scholarships for girls pursuing STEM and other programs.

Third, it is easier for international STEM graduates to stay in the country on a work visa. For example, graduates of "regular" majors in the US can get an F1 visa on OPT (Optional Practical Training) to find a job for one year. STEM graduates can extend it for another 24 months.

In 2019, the UK government introduced a new fast-track visa for international STEM graduates. In Canada, tech companies can hire highly skilled foreign STEM professionals and handle all bureaucracy issues in just a couple of weeks thanks to the government's Global Skills Strategy.

Fourth, STEM professionals make great money. In the UK, STEM graduates are paid 20% more in their first job than their peers in other fields. In the US, a person with an undergraduate STEM degree earns a gross average of $66,123 per year, while fresh graduates from other programs are paid only $52,299 per year. The average starting salary of a STEM graduate in Germany is €49,800 per year before taxes, compared to a national average of €45,000.  

What Are the In-Demand STEM Careers

In 2021, the highest demand STEM jobs include:

  • Technical Writer (a person who develops manuals and instructions);
  • Accountant;
  • Computer Programmer;
  • Chemist;
  • Financial Analyst;
  • Web Developer;
  • Environmental Engineer;
  • Systems Analyst.

The average salary of a technical writer in the US is $72,850 (hereafter per year and before taxes), $59,445 in Canada, £65,000 ($88,700) in the UK, and €51,200 in Germany. 

An accountant makes an average of $71,550 in the US, $92,535 in Australia, €62,078 in Germany, $56,561 in Canada, and $48,611 in Singapore.

Programmers earn an average of $86,550 in the US, £57,500 ($78,745) in the UK, $64,344 in Canada, and €46,414 in Germany. 

A chemist is paid $59,250 in Canada, $77,501 in the US, €46,596 in Germany, and $74,347 in Australia.

Financial analysts can expect an average annual salary of $98,467 in Australia, $67,562 in the US, £44,530 ($60,827) in the UK, €48,254 in Germany, and $40,888 in Singapore. 

Web developers make an average of $68,410 in the US, $83,655 in Australia, £52,500 ($71,715) in the UK, and €40,956 in Germany.

Environmental engineers are paid an average of $88,860 in the US,   $105,179 in Australia, £35,099 ($47,945) in the UK, $85,137 in Canada, and $65,950 in Singapore. 

Systems analysts earn £52,500 ($71,715) in the UK, $70,209 in the US, $63,389 in Canada, and €55,170 in Germany.

Where To Study for STEM

Here are the top ten universities in the world in STEM fields according to the most recent rankings:

However, not only the top universities offer good STEM programs. In this article, for example, we talk in detail about different STEM universities and degrees in Germany. Below, you’ll find some worthwhile programs at institutions in the US, Canada, and Australia.

Pennsylvania State University (Penn State), USA

Penn State is the largest public research university in Pennsylvania. It is ranked as the world’s 96th best university and one of the top 20 public universities in the US. It is consistently ranked among the top US STEM schools.

Check out here for a complete list of undergraduate and graduate STEM departments and majors. We recommend paying special attention to Petroleum Engineering, Geology, Environmental Sciences, and Geochemistry.

University of Waterloo, Canada

The University of Waterloo is the largest public university in Ontario.

It is ranked 149th in the latest QS World University Ranking and is one of the 250 top universities in the Times Higher Education list of 2021.  

The University of Waterloo is the alma mater of Donna Strickland, a physics and astronomy professor, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2018. Donna became the third woman ever to win this award in physics.

The University is committed to combating gender inequality in the STEM industry. Among other things, it is implementing the STEM for Girls program and founded the UW WiSTEM women's scientific community in 2013.

Western Sydney University, Australia

Western Sydney University belongs to the 2% of the best educational institutions in the world. The university has 13 schools. Four of them specialize in computer, information, and mathematical sciences. Each year, the university allocates nearly $19 million to fund scholarship programs for local and international students.

Because of its solid technological facilities and vast international opportunities, the University of Western Sydney is especially popular among graduate students and researchers. Here, we’d suggest paying attention to Civil Engineering, Mathematics and Statistics, Computer Science, and Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.