We hear it all the time. The rally cry amongst educators that we need to focus on STEM and we need more students focusing on STEM.
I myself even volunteered teaching Lego Robotics at the third grade level for about a year, and during this time, while helping kids program robots and do math equations that even I had trouble completing, I asked myself, what about the creators? What about the entrepreneurs? What about the musicians? What about the painters? The artists?
Education and higher institutions have an absolute love for STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. And there is nothing wrong with that. But in this article, I will share 3 reasons why that “A” that is slowly creeping into STEM and making it STEAM is vitally important.
1) The Conversation Is Almost Always About Jobs
But the only aspect that I believe there may be something wrong with, is that this conversation is always steered towards one thing: Jobs.
“You need to learn engineering because you will get a high paying job.”
“If you learn to code, you’ll get a great tech job.”
As I grew up, I had the innate sense to know that the all of the unique skills I would develop would not define me, but rather I would use those skills to define my path.
I also had a mentor who boldly proclaimed that “engineering is a dead end job.” Years ago when he would say this, sometimes to the faces of engineers, I didn’t truly understand what he meant. It was not until years later, after creating my own business on my own terms with an uncapped income and the freedom to work when and wherever I wanted, that I began to understand.
This is not to say that engineers cannot make the jump to owning their own destiny. Far from this. Engineers can be some of the most impactful creators. Many of the tech moguls like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerburg were engineers and went on to create massive companies.
2) Tools Are Constantly Lowering the Barriers to Creating
Even the global hit “Undertale” was created by a young man named Toby Fox using a game creator platform Game Maker by himself in 32 months. This required little to no coding abilities, but still enabled Toby to create a game that has made it to many major gaming consoles to date: PC, Playstation 4, Playstation Vita, and Nintendo Switch.
3) Purpose Is Becoming More Important
There is growing buzz that suggests “Millennials want more than just work.” Sometimes this might be related to the idea the Millennials can be lazy, and perhaps like any generation there are a number of individuals without the strongest work ethics, but some research shows that this is because of purpose.
For instance, this study by the Society for Human Resource Management found that “94 percent of millennials want to use their skills to benefit a cause and 57 percent wish that there were more company-wide service days.”
Make no mistake, the coming workforce wants to both make money and make a difference. And for many, this may mean following their hearts and finding their bliss.