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Understanding Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Skills

Think about key skills needed in today's workplace: problem solving, analytical thinking, and the ability to work independently. What do they all have in common? They're all related to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math).

STEM on the Job

Most employers want workers who are able to reason and solve problems using some math, science, or technology knowledge. Key STEM skills include:

  • Analytical skills to research a topic, develop a project plan and timeline, and draw conclusions from research results.
  • Science skills to break down a complex scientific system into smaller parts, recognize cause and effect relationships, and defend opinions using facts.
  • Mathematic skills for calculations and measurements.
  • Attention to detail to follow a standard blueprint, record data accurately, or write instructions.
  • Technical skills to troubleshoot the source of a problem, repair a machine or debug an operating system, and computer capabilities to stay current on appropriate software and equipment.

Think STEM is just for geeks? Not true! Many workers in STEM fields use "soft" skills at work as much as they use math and science. These soft skills include:

  • Communication and cooperation skills to listen to customer needs or interact with project partners.
  • Creative abilities to solve problems and develop new ideas.
  • Leadership skills to lead projects or help customers.
  • Organization skills to keep track of lots of different information.

Is a STEM career a good fit for you? Match your skills with STEM occupations using the Skills Assessment.