How do students who have technical or scientific backgrounds hunt for a job in USA?
STEM field work is highly technical and thus requires a lot of training. The job offers, however, are lucrative and high paying. Yet, there remains a lot of vacancies for STEM jobs which are often listed longer than non-STEM jobs. In other words, there is a gap between demand and supply where demand usually outpaces supply. Students who enter STEM fields, depending on their area of study, may enter a crowded market. Students in the United States have several options to get a foothold in their field of choice such as college programs that are akin to internships or programs like Google’s Summer of Code.
Brief Market Overview
The STEM fields drive innovation and economic growth. Scientists have grown in relative importance as economies modernize and STEM based solutions to problems are required. A study by the U.S. government in 2017 found that 6.1% of all workers were in STEM fields in 2015 which is up from 5.5% in 2010. STEM workers earned 29% more than non-STEM workers in 2015, up from 26% more in 2010. Employment in STEM fields grew much faster in comparison to non-STEM jobs at a rate of 24.4% compared to 4% for non-STEM. Despite this, STEM jobs remain vacant for longer on average than non-STEM jobs. It’s even more difficult to fill jobs in areas with low unemployment for STEM workers. The demand is higher than the supply.
Finding Technical Jobs in the U.S.
Insight is a company that provides internships for Data Science, Data Engineering, Health Data, and Artificial Intelligence. Internships last seven weeks and provide real, grounded work rather than theoretical studies. For example, the data engineering version of the internship boasts that students will “build scalable, distributed data pipelines”; “benchmark data technologies”; and contribute to open source projects. Internship fellows will work with companies from the field and to top it off the program is free. Insight’s other internship programs have similar stipulations. A company such as Insight allows students to get real world experience and curry favor with top institutions in the field.
Another useful paradigm is “job shadowing,” which is offered at colleges such as the University of Akron. Job shadowing allows students to follow or “shadow” former or current STEM students at their jobs to understand real world work. The University of Akron’s job shadowing program received a National Science Foundation grant. Prior to shadowing at a job, students will practice relevant skills and are compensated for work. Job shadowing is similar to what companies like Insight provide except that job shadowing is provided by a college to alumni.
Some private companies in STEM fields, such as Google, provide their own programs that help them recruit workers or even make prospective workers more appealing to other companies. Google’s Summer of Code is a well known program in which programmers work with an open source organization to help with development. Those who are accepted are mentored and learn real world experience of working with complex code bases used everyday. These may or may not lead to job offers, similar to the other programs, but Google’s Summer of Code adds to a student’s portfolio of contributions.
Finding a job in a STEM field is not an easy task despite the high demand. The work requires skill and proof of skills. Programs like job shadowing or internship services like Insight or Google’s Summer of Code helps students gain a foothold in the STEM job market and hopefully find a job.