STEM Career Paths: Emerging Opportunities for Today’s Youth

In a world that is becoming increasingly digital and greener, career opportunities are endless. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) career prospects and opportunities have also never been brighter. The main reason why the STEM workforce (which encompasses a wide variety of career tracks) is so successful and lucrative is that it is adaptable to human needs, and its innovations solve a wide variety of problems. According to a 2018 report by the Pew Research Center, “Growth of employment in STEM has markedly outpaced the Growth of overall employment. Since 1990, STEM employment has grown by 79% (from 9.7 million to 17.3 million), whereas overall employment has grown by only 34%. Some STEM occupations have grown more than others.”

This will only continue years down the line. With this in mind, some STEM career fields didn’t exist years ago but are quickly shaping up the industry.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

The Growth of Artificial Intelligence, especially over the past five years, has become widespread and lucrative. According to the New York Times, this booming sector comes with an even more generous salary. This growth, controversy, and popularity are reflected in the $150 billion valuation of the sector, and its future only promises a blooming career path with fascinating opportunities ahead. Below are some popular career paths that fall under Artificial Intelligence:

AI Ethicist: AI Ethicists work to address the ethical issues surrounding artificial intelligence and ensure that the systems are developed and used responsibly. The problem of ethics in the AI industry has become an ongoing topic of discussion over the years, and this could be a robust career path for the future. According to Vault, AI Ethicists make approximately $137,000 per year.

Blockchain Developer: Analytical sectors like finance, supply chain, and healthcare lean heavily on the blockchain industry to thrive, creating a high demand within the industry. According to Zip Recruiter, the average salary for a Blockchain Developer is $111,845.

IoT Architect: As the Internet continues to grow and evolve, designing systems and networks for the Internet of Things will be necessary. IoT Architects will become invaluable in connecting devices to improve efficiency and capabilities in homes and industries.

Quantum Computing Scientist: Computers will always be a part of modern life, and in the future, Quantum Computing Scientists will be essential to this field by working to develop quantum computers and algorithms to solve complex problems faster and more efficiently. The current salary range for a Quantum Computing Scientist at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is between $61,947 and $164,102, with opportunities to earn more based on career experience.

Finding a career in AI will be a promising road map for future STEM students because the sector is actively involved in improving the workflow and decision-making process across all industries, such as healthcare, finance, automotive, and entertainment.

Renewable Energy and Sustainability

Environmental concerns have become a large part of conversations. As the world continues to be curious about climate change and its ecological and economic risks, career opportunities will also see a boom in the sector. Some careers in this niche include:

Sustainability Engineers: Sustainability Engineers are professionals who focus on creating processes and technologies that improve energy efficiency and reduce the impact of toxins on the planet. As the world invests more in improving efficiency and sustainability, this niche will also experience a boost. According to Salary, the average salary for a sustainability engineer in the United States is s $90,611.

Renewable Energy Engineer: This career subsect of engineering will focus on creating and improving technologies that harness energy from renewable and sustainable sources like solar power, wind, and geothermal energy. According to Comparably, most Renewable Energy Engineers in the United States have a median salary of $93,010.

Climate Change Analyst: Climate Analysts will play a significant role in changing the future of weather patterns to understand the underbelly of climate change and how it affects the environment and the world. Zippia estimates that the average Climate Change Analyst salaries typically range between $50,000 and $117,000 yearly, according to Zippia.

Biotechnology and Healthcare

The healthcare industry is one of STEM’s most sustainable career paths. The healthcare sector has made and continues to make life-altering technologies that are allowing the medical profession to evolve in ways unimaginable before; historically, the healthcare industry and innovations in biotechnology have led to a new, improved standard of living for humans, and with is an industry that is globally valued at $12 trillion and predicted to continue growing to more than $20 trillion by 2030, according to the World Economic Forum. Here are some career paths that are included in this niche:

Genetic Technologist: Our genes are a significant part of human functioning, and a career in Genetic Technology will enable individuals to use cutting-edge genetic sequencing technology to accurately research, diagnose, and find cures for diseases. According to Comparably, the average Genetic Technologist makes about $96,937 annually in the US.

Synthetic Biologist: A career as a Synthetic Biologist will enable professionals to work towards engineering new biological systems for medicine, manufacturing, and environmental management. Comparably reports that a Synthetic Biologist can make an average salary of $79,996, with a range that can go up to $352,062 annually.

Neuroinformatics Specialist: The healthcare industry has played a priceless role in understanding human anatomy and the factors that cause it to function correctly. A Neuroinformatics Specialist will combine neuroscience, information science, and computer science to better understand the human brain and nervous system. According to Glassdoor, the average salary for a Neuroscience Specialist is $160,523.


With growing amounts of data – and new pieces of information created and stored online daily – there is a constantly increasing need for cybersecurity specialists regarding the rising risk of data breaches and systems by cyber attacks. The ongoing need for cyber security has created new jobs that intersect with strong mathematical skills. Below are some diverse career paths that employ the use of cybersecurity and mathematics:

Data Privacy Analyst: Data is a significant component of society these days, and a data privacy analyst will use their statistical techniques to protect and manage data, ensuring that companies and organizations follow privacy and compliance regulations. Glassdoor‘s salary data shows that Data Privacy Analysts make an average of $92,000 per year.

Cryptologic Mathematician: Cryptologic Mathematicians use mathematics to develop secure communication systems and solve encryption and security-related problems. These career paths will be invaluable not only in IT but also in industries like banking and finance that rely on cryptology to keep information secure. According to data from Comparably, Cryptologic Mathematicians make a national average salary of $95,943.

Health Informatics Specialist: A Health Informatics specialist will use their knowledge to integrate health sciences with mathematics and statistics to improve health outcomes and predictions through efficient data management and analysis. The average salary in the US for a Health Informatics Specialist is $126,750, according to data from Talent.

Building a Foundation in STEM

A STEM career will primarily be formed in school. It’s not enough to start educating students in STEM subjects at an early age— we need to encourage programs like those provided by the STEM Greenhouse that allow students the freedom to be curious and find solutions to problems through hands-on learning and real-world applications.

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AI might not be quite there yet, but with a more diverse STEM community, we will get there!

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