The impact of STEM learning on the IT industry today

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Today’s reality involves rapid technological advancements and a digital lifestyle. The world is more connected and automated. More and more people have access to technology, and this trend will most likely continue. Experts believe that societies and economies will continue to rely on innovations in science and technology in the future. One of the major industries that will directly affect the future, is Information Technology (IT). The IT sector comprises companies that manufacture hardware, software, and semiconductor equipment and offer internet-related services.

Businesses from various sectors will need to embrace IT advancements in their operations and management to stay competitive and grab growth opportunities. Thus, it is not surprising that the IT industry is worth approximately 1.2 trillion in 2022, and is still projected to grow 5% to 6% every year.

Because of the massive role IT plays in this digital age, it is only natural that demand and opportunities for IT professionals will continue to increase. According to World Economic Forum’s 2020 report, advanced technology will create 97 million new job roles. 

The IT Industry “Dilemma”

While leaders recognize the IT industry’s ability to create new jobs, they are also wary of the challenges that come with it. One main challenge is the skills gaps. According to the 2020 Gartner research firm – about 75% of the organizations have experienced operational disruptions due to skills gaps. This same stat was only less than 20% in 2016. The IT industry has realized that there are not enough people who have enough skills to take on new or specialized roles.

This is why STEM has become a hot topic in education today. Educators and industry experts believe that this learning approach can meet the growing demands for advanced technology tools and creative solutions to future problems. 

STEM learning is a comprehensive learning approach that integrates the concepts of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Some colleges and universities have responded well upon discovering the positive impact of STEM learning on the IT industry. They have built and supported STEM- programs, computer classes,  online science courses, and other adjacent programs. Statista reports that the number of STEM certificates and degrees given in the US has grown every year since 2008. But this is not enough, and there is much work to do!

How does STEM prepare students for a career in IT?

Students who take up STEM courses in college or university will more likely land jobs with above-average salaries. WorldWideLearn.com ranked Information Technology and other computer-related programs as the top STEM majors based on educational opportunities, education affordability, employment opportunity, and earnings index. 

The broad subjects in STEM like science and technology are divided into specific fields like

  • software development
  • computer network architecture
  • business Information Systems
  • information security
  • information systems management

When students take up specific STEM programs, they can develop in-demand job skills. Preparing numerous highly proficient graduates can be a solution to close the feared skills gap in the IT sector. 

However, adopting STEM need not start at the college or university level to create an impact on the IT industry. STEM learning has implications beyond a specific program for young people in STEM fields.

Merging of important disciplines 

The merging of four disciplines in STEM ensures that it offers a more well-rounded education. Each component of STEM brings about significant benefits to the students. The Science component help learners achieve a deep understanding of the world by becoming better researchers. The Technology component trains the students to work with high-tech tools to create innovations. The Engineering part teaches learners how to apply knowledge and build systems and structures. The Mathematics bit in STEM develops students’ analysis, error detection, and solving skills. 

Using technology to learn better

One of the core beliefs in STEM education is that students must tap into the power of technology to achieve learning outcomes. By adopting this learning strategy, the students will not only study content in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, but they can also practice using technological tools and platforms to learn the content. 

Developing Soft Skills that can help in future IT jobs

STEM learning is not just about mastering various concepts. It also directs students on how to think, help evaluate children with disability, and promote proper behavior to resolve varying issues. The nature of most information technology-related work is about solving problems. STEM focuses on developing critical thinking and logic, which will help students thrive in the IT space. 

In addition, STEM also encourages communication, collaboration, and teamwork. The IT industry deals with project-based tasks, which require a great deal of collaboration from group members. STEM classes tend to offer more team activities that make learners work together to accomplish a challenge or objective. By offering plenty of opportunities to collaborate, the STEM approach ultimately cultivates interpersonal skills – which are valuable in the IT sector.

Bottomline

The era of advanced technology and the internet revolution has started. It does not seem like the world will ever turn back to simpler times. As they did before, governments must use education to better prepare students for the in-demand jobs in the real world. The STEM learning principles produce skill sets needed in IT positions and roles. There is a strong argument that a big push on STEM learning from governments and educational institutions push for the STEM approach can give a better assurance that the Information Technology sector will cope and prosper decades ahead.

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