Careers in STEM: What jobs are in high demand?

STEM careers require knowledge and interest in science, technology, engineering, and math -- valuable skills in today's data-driven economy.
Written by Nate Delesline III, Staff Writer

If you are considering a STEM career or changing careers, you likely want to know which roles offer the greatest opportunities and best compensation packages. 

Read on: We've rounded up high-demand careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.

Agricultural, biological, and biosystems engineers

Education: Bachelor's degree in agricultural engineering or biomedical engineering 

Median salary: $92,620 (biomedical engineer)

Global population growth and international economic competition drive the need to improve agricultural production efficiency. But protecting the environment is also important. 

Agricultural engineers focus on the production and processing of our commercial food supply. They also work with issues related to the environment or food production-related technology. 

Biomedical engineers focus on designing and maintaining medical devices and equipment. 

These careers combine science and technology to produce food and develop healthcare innovations. Employment in this field is projected to grow by 6% through 2030, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Information security analysts

Education: Bachelor's degree in computer science, cybersecurity, or a related field. Some employers prefer a master of business administration degree. 

Median salary: $103,590

As cyberattacks multiply, organizations of all types and sizes rely on cybersecurity to protect data from being hacked or lost. Banking, finance, healthcare, and retail, which all gather and rely on sensitive customer data, must work to defend digital customer and business information.

That is why information security analysts and other cybersecurity roles are among the fastest-growing jobs in STEM. From 2020 through 2030, the BLS predicts employment in this field will grow by 33%

Information security analysts monitor networks for security breaches. They also research the latest security strategies and trends to stay ahead of hackers and criminals.

Electrical and electronics engineers

Education: Bachelor's degree in electrical engineering or electronics engineering, plus internships

Median salary: $103,390

New advancements such as 5G communications technology require research and development. Electrical engineers and electronics engineers often lead this work.

Electrical engineers work on new ways to make and distribute electricity, energy generation systems, cars, or aircraft. 

Electronics engineers create and design electronic components for consumer electronics, healthcare, or military use. They may also help design computer hardware. 

About 325,000 people in the US work in these jobs, according to the BLS. Demand for jobs in this field will grow as the US updates utility systems, transportation infrastructure, and the power grid. Electrical and electronics engineers will also play a role in developing automation technologies.

Software developers

Education: Bachelor's degree in information technology, engineering, or math

Median salary: $110,140

About 1.5 million people in the US work as system or application software developers. They develop programs like the Windows operating system or social media apps that run on your smartphone. Employment for software developers is projected to grow 22% through 2030.

As digital internet-connected devices proliferate, more software developers are needed to develop and maintain these products and services. Some software developers focus on consumer-oriented apps and services. Others work on systems that control entire networks. 

Web developers and digital designers

Education: Bachelor's degree in programming, computer science, or digital design. Some employers will hire web development bootcamp graduates and others without a college degree. 

Web developers need computer programming language knowledge and experience. They should also be familiar with multimedia publishing apps.

Median salary: $77,200

Mandatory pandemic lockdowns, quarantines, and travel restrictions accelerated global online commerce. International trade and development experts said e-commerce made up 19% of all retail sales in 2020. That's up from 16% in 2019. 

In response, the demand for web developers is expected to grow. Growth in website development will likely focus on mobile devices, which are an essential part of daily life and commerce for many. 

Web developers also bring creative ideas to life by developing functional and attractive visual interfaces for customers and clients.

What drives the demand for STEM jobs?

Many technological innovations and employment changes -- such as remote work, virtual learning, telehealth, and automation -- are likely here to stay in the post-pandemic world. 

Workers in STEM fields support these changes. As a result, the BLS projects that occupations in STEM fields will likely grow 8% by 2029.

Outlook for STEM careers 

Seven out of ten of the fastest-growing STEM-related careers are computer or math occupations, according to one analysis. These jobs include information security analysts, statisticians, computer user support specialists, and computer system analysts.

Two-thirds of new STEM jobs created through 2029 will be in computer-related occupations, according to the BLS

The pandemic's impact on STEM employment, and employment in general, is uncertain. To account for this uncertainty, the BLS published revised 10-year employment projections. The BLS studied how pandemic-related issues will shape the long-term labor market. 

They found that non-computer careers in STEM, such as epidemiology and medical science, also have strong growth prospects. Projections show these fields will grow 33% and 17%, respectively, through 2030.

This article was reviewed by Sarah Holliday, MS, GCDF

Sarah Holliday, a Black woman wearing a purple top, smiles.

Sarah Holliday is a higher education administrator with over seven years of experience working with nontraditional and traditional students in areas related to career development, professional development, and personal enrichment. Holliday also works as an adjunct teaching English, career development, and business courses.

Holliday holds a BA from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, in English communication and technology and a master's from Walden University in instructional design and technology (training and performance improvement). She is currently pursuing her doctor of science in information and interaction design from the University of Baltimore. Holliday also possesses her Global Career Development Facilitator certificate from the Center for Credentialing and Education.

Sarah Holliday is a paid member of the Red Ventures Education freelance review network.

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