The ongoing digitization of the workplace is catalyzing a global revolution, where employers are being prompted to consider the tasks and processes that cannot be performed by technology. For many businesses, the importance of soft and creative skills has become more evident – especially in the world of STEM. Skills like communication and critical thinking are not only integral to the performance of automated processes, but also to the overall success of an organization.
This shift towards ‘noncognitive’ skills in STEM has led many employers to look for talent with these competencies. For example, workers with backgrounds in the liberal arts or humanities have people-centric skill sets that can be applied with versatility in the STEM workplace.
If you are a new graduate or current worker with a non-STEM degree who is interested in becoming a part of the growing STEM workforce, you can take advantage of the phenomenal growth in STEM opportunities. Key roles and sectors in STEM are expanding rapidly, and specialization in soft skills and creative skills will position you as a well-equipped, hard-to-find candidate in the current sea of STEM opportunities.
Technical Writer [Literature, English, Creative Writing]
Technical writers have become an essential part of STEM organizations, helping to breakdown complex terminology and translate it to consumer audiences. Through writing articles, creating guides, and making informative manuals, technical writers make a product or service more understandable and accessible to the general public.
Technical writing jobs have grown especially relevant over the past decade, with numerous STEM companies hiring writers help to convey the purpose, meaning, and utility behind their products. Additionally, with the recent boom in the science and tech industries, the availability of technical writer jobs is expected to grow at least 7 percent in the next decade, noticeably outpacing current projected job growth[i].
A career in technical writing offers the perfect opportunity for recent graduates of literature, english, or creative writing degrees to start their career in STEM. In addition, technical writing jobs allow current talent with writing-focused degrees to smoothly transition their career into one of the many growing STEM industries.
Digital Designers [Design, Fine Arts]
The gradual decline of more specific jobs like graphic design has led to a substantial increase in the scope of designers’ work. Digital designer jobs are expected to increase by 8 percent over the next decade[ii], leading companies to look for individuals with unique soft, technical, and creative skills.
Often working in tandem with UI/UX writers, UI/UXI strategists, social media managers, content writers, and web developers, digital designers have become an integral part of most organizations. Digital designers work to provide designs for all visual elements of a company’s front-facing content and services. From designing websites and templates to creating graphics for campaigns and social media, digital designers create and maintain an organization’s visual identity.
To adequately establish a uniform, visual brand identity, companies need to find dedicated individuals with different types of design experience, including graphic design, web design, and product design. If you are a graduate with a design or fine arts degree, your skills may strategically position you as a hard-to-find, valuable worker in the digital design job market.
Product Manager [Communications, Psychology, Design, Fine Arts]
Product managers perform a wide variety of tasks within companies depending on the business’ industry and operations. Working as analysts, strategists, researchers, and more, product managers have a bird’s eye view of a product or service, guiding and overseeing the creation, updating, and maintenance of a product[iii], all while bringing together the necessary specialists via soft skills and experience-backed understanding.
In the STEM field of engineering, demand for product managers has become a mainstay; product managers are an essential part of any engineering organization’s creation process, with their ability to meld the worlds of technology, user experience, and business in their everyday practices. If you have a degree in design, fine arts, communications, or psychology, and you are interested in entering a particular STEM field, working as a product manager might be your perfect entry point.
Web Developer [Design, Digital Arts]
Web developers and designers handle, create, and maintain almost all functional and creative aspects of an organization’s website or web application. Creating a site that is functional, capable of handling client or consumer demand, and that has a user-friendly interface, while also routinely updating, all fall within the purview of web developers. However, the duties of web developers go a step further; having soft skills is an integral part of developing a product that meets your organization’s goals, and aids a web developer in better communicating these goals to their own team.
Many STEM companies – particularly those within the realm of technology – are focusing mostly on their digital presence, with many businesses operating solely online. This has contributed to substantial growth in web developer jobs[iv]. Within these spaces and respective sectors, web developers are a necessity that ensures a company’s web applications align and grow with their values.
Web developer and designer roles are an ideal fit for graduates of design and digital art degrees with strong soft-skills and an interest in various STEM sectors. With web developers having been in demand in STEM industries for the last half decade, these roles grant the perfect opportunity for new designers and developers to start a career as a part of the STEM workforce.
UX Designer [Psychology, Design]
At the heart of every tech or tech-adjacent organization is a team of UX designers and writers working to better equip their company with the tools, interfaces, and research needed to connect with their target demographics. As a result, UX design jobs are seeing continuous, substantial growth[v].
UX designers, much like product managers, oversee almost all aspects of the user experience. From researching users to understand how to better cater to customers, to wireframing, prototyping, and developing an effective information architecture (IA), UX designers understand how to make a product live and breathe in the world of its targeted users.
For UX designers to fully understand how they can meet an organization’s goals, they need to be well-equipped with soft skills that allow them to understand users on a personal level and leverage these skills to perform early-stage user testing. Currently, companies are looking for psychologists to gain a holistic understanding of target users, and designers to provide more creative input on IA and user interface (UI). If you have a degree in psychology or design, you have the perfect background and experience to bring a unique perspective to an organization as a UX designer.
If you want to find ways to use your non-STEM degree to start a new STEM career like the ones we’ve listed, we have the tools and resources to help at AllSTEM. Learn more at allstemconnections.com.