From algebra to biology and beyond, STEM classes prepare students for a huge variety of fields, including engineering. And there’s just as great a diversity of jobs available within the field of engineering.
There are many popular varieties of engineering, such as computer science or transportation that students may choose to pursue, but even more that they might not be aware of. There’s a wide world of possibilities! Here are a few branches of engineering that students should consider exploring while still in school:
Biomimicry is the study and emulation of nature, its elements, and processes for the purpose of solving human problems and challenges. Closely related to environmental engineering, biomimicry is also used as a way of promoting sustainability. Dr. Ayla Kisler, a biomimicry expert, explains: “We could develop an airplane that mimics birds and insects that fly efficiently, but if we use them to drop bombs or pollute environments then we’re not doing deep biomimicry because the organisms can do what they do without hurting their habitat.”
Engineers who work in biomimicry may draw inspiration from plants, animals, and even the earth itself. The Biomimicry Institute identifies six industries — energy, architecture, transportation, agriculture, medicine, and communication — where biomimicry is making great strides. However, biomimicry can be useful for virtually any purpose and requires creativity to make new connections between nature and technology.
2. Ethical Hacking
Ethical or whitehat hacking is the perfect career choice for students interested in software, communications, and helping others. Ethical hackers test the effectiveness of others’ security measures to find weaknesses that other hackers would exploit. They also help advise others on how to fix those weaknesses and ways to keep their security up to date.
Students interested in a job as an ethical hacker will need to have a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering or related field. In addition, they will need to be certified as an ethical hacker from a certification program or agency such as Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) or Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP).
3. Robotics and Cyber Robotics
Robotics engineering draws on multiple branches of engineering — including computer science, electrical, and mechanical — making it the perfect choice for students with varied interests. Learning other subjects in addition to robotics will help students prepare for a career that involves hands-on work, attention to detail, problem-solving skills, and thinking outside of the box. CoderZ, for example, is an online curriculum that teaches students about coding, robotics, and other vital STEM skills. They use several courses to teach these skills, including webinars and Cyber Robotics Coding Competitions.
As robots become more integrated into our daily lives, there will be an increasingly large need for people who are qualified to maintain current machines and innovate new designs. Experts from the National Robotics Education Foundation believe that there may be as many as 500,000 new jobs in the field of robotics by 2020.
Welding, the practice of fusing pieces of metal together, is thousands of years old; the earliest evidence of humans welding dates back to the Bronze Age. Now, thousands of years later, welders are still in high demand, which is an occupation expected to grow 6 percent by 2020.
There are a few ways to pursue a career as a welder. While studying mechanical engineering is certainly an option, students may also look into vocational school or an apprenticeship. The need for welders and good pay makes it a great option for students who enjoy mechanical, active engineering work.
5. 3D Printing
Few innovations over the past several years have caused as much excitement as 3D printing. The University of Cincinnati notes that, “Although it started as a movement that was most apparent in industries like manufacturing and consumer products, it is now entering into much different conversations.” From the medical field to education, there are seemingly endless uses for 3D printers.
This explosive growth bodes well for students who are interested in the industry. There is an increasing demand for people to fill jobs, both to maintain and operate current machinery and processes and to develop new ones. 3D printing is a great option for students who want the chance to be creative and involved in an exciting new field.
These are just a few of the many potential careers available to STEM students, and the possibilities truly are endless. STEM-educated students have the power to change the world with their knowledge and passion. As long as they ave have an idea of what they want to accomplish, they’ll be able to succeed in the wild world of engineering.
About the author of this STEM blog post
This STEM article was written by the great Devin Morrisey, who first connected with CoderZ via Twitter. Devin writes from his garage in Daly City, CA, stopping periodically to build robot cars with his nephew. He is a stark advocate for technological integration in educational policy.
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