Where Women Can Look for Jobs in STEM

Anything men can do, women can do — period. Yet, there are certain fields where the difference in employment rates between male and female professionals is as large as a canyon. STEM is perhaps the best example of this: Less than one-quarter of jobs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics belong to women, despite the fact that women comprise nearly half of the U.S. workforce.

The reasons for this are myriad and obscure, but for the sake of gender equality, it is imperative that more women find their way into STEM. In truth, women can choose whichever STEM path most appeals to them — but those primarily interested in job security and growth might be eager to enlist in the following STEM careers:

Behavioral Economics

Behavioral economics blends the fields of psychology and economics, using the data gathering and analysis techniques of the latter to understand human behavior in the ways of the former. Most often, behavioral economics is applied to predict how and when people make mistakes as well as how those mistakes impact larger systems. The insights gleaned from behavioral economics can be used to create environments that compel people toward healthier, less erroneous decision-making. Considering that the 2017 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences went to behavioral economist, it should hardly be surprising that growth in the field is projected to be greater than 23 percent in the coming decade. Behavioral economists in industry, often working as market research analysts or similar professionals, can expect salaries of $62,000 — and more if they have additional education in the field.

Biomedical Engineering

Biomedical engineers apply engineering methodologies to medicine, often providing doctors and other healthcare professionals with essential tools and techniques for identifying and treating disease. Women might wonder what you can do with a biomedical engineering degree that you can’t do with a degree in mechanical, chemical or biological engineering — and the truth is that biomedical engineering targets the improvement of devices for medical use, whereas other fields do not. Biomed engineers can design systems and tools, install and maintain equipment, evaluate the effectiveness and safety of certain procedures, train healthcare personnel to use devices and work alongside chemical engineers, medical scientists and others to build new tools.

Software Development

While software development in general is growing at a noteworthy clip, the best paths for women at this time are through app and game development. In both cases, women will be planning functions and writing code to build software that people will use, most often on mobile devices or through gaming consoles. Though software development of these types do require hard skills like programming, they also demand creativity in graphic design, story building and similar essential elements.

In 2017, more than 180 billion apps had been downloaded from the app store, and the video game industry has blossomed to be worth more than $30 billion. Game development can provide a median salary of over $70,000, but experienced app developers earn upwards of $104,000 — and more if the app takes off.

Mechanical Engineering

Though mechanical engineering was arguably among the first-ever careers in STEM, it remains relevant in the digital age. Mechanical engineering is the process of building machines that produce or use energy, like wind turbines or car engines. Today, mechanical engineering is most often applied to robotics. Though other types of engineers work to give machines intelligence, mechanical engineers give robots mobility, equipping them with essential tools for moving, grasping and performing other physical feats. As robotics spreads, so will the reach of mechanical engineers. Already, they have moved beyond manufacturing into healthcare, agriculture, retail and more.

IT Security

As more major corporations are viciously attacked every year, cybersecurity is becoming a serious concern for everyone. Even governments are becoming wary of the power of the web; not only is cyberespionage a serious threat, but there are signs that a significant cyberwar has already begun. While it is important for laypeople to arm themselves with security basics, the best solution is more cybersecurity professionals, which means women are more than welcome in this important field. Professionals in cybersecurity often build and maintain security frameworks for corporations, but they can also be involved in researching cyber threats and developing solutions to new, complex forms of attack.

Growth in IT security is picking up pace, and experts at the Bureau of Labor Statistics believe available jobs to increase nearly one-third in the next decade. The median salary for this career is $95,510, but pay is largely dependent on experience, employer and responsibilities.

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