The USA has a population of approximate 32 crores. Out of this, professionals holding STEM based qualifications comprise of only 15%. On understanding the importance of STEM, the US government announced a 17 month extension to the OPT (Optional Practical Training) for students qualifying in the STEM field. This was done to encourage international students to take up STEM subjects. Currently STEM students are eligible to work for a period of 24 months after the completion of their OPT.
What is STEM?
STEM is an abbreviation of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. While Science Maths and Engineering have since always remained prominent among Indian youth, Technology, now is also gaining equal amount of prominence as others. Studying STEM subjects is very crucial and guarantees a bright future. The STEM subjects are all available in our lives in some or the other form. Science is a major contributor of the development of human and human life. Technology today is entering into every aspect of our lives right from waking up in the morning to going back to bed. Engineering has formed the base due to which human survival has become easy and comfortable unlike old times. Mathematics is something that we do every single day in our smallest of small chores.
Intellectuals holding strong STEM based qualification are today one of the major contributors of the world’s economy. With excellent innovation being born almost every single day, its huge impact is felt on all the major industries of the world. The reason being, each of STEM subject is weaved and inter-twinned with each other.
Why Study STEM?
1. Not Just Theoretical but Also Practical:
This is the field which imparts theoretical as well as practical knowledge and experience. Once the theory is explained, students are taught and made to apply the theories learnt, in real life via projects and experiments.
2. It Is Financially Rewarding:
According to the reports and statistics given out by many authentic bodies, the STEM professionals are paid around 80% more than the non-STEM professionals. With the world rapidly progressing towards high development, the need for STEM qualified individuals is high. This, quiet obviously leads to the increase in their demand, which ensures them a high pay and thus a financially secured career.
3. It Is a Gender Balanced Field:
There are many myths revolving around this. Many think that STEM is specifically designed only for the male section of the society. However it’s high time this myth be busted. Women in equal number to men can and should study STEM subjects. Moreover, in the recent years, it is observed that women in large numbers are opting to study STEM with great interest. Also, the recruiters these days are also willing to recruit women more than men to fill in the gender gap and strike a balance.
4. Teaches To Be Innovative:
There are some individuals who aspire to change the world with just one idea. It is the study of STEM that encourages such students and ignites the fire of passion to innovate, develop and execute new ideas. The study of STEM teaches students to think innovatively and push them to bring about positive changes in the world.
5. Helps Students Develop Critical Thinking Skills:
Critical thinking is very important in order to be able to properly execute an idea or plan. STEM enforces students to cultivate the habit of thinking critically about every minute aspect of anything they undertake. This boosts efficiency and develops the ability of detailed analysis. By studying the STEM subjects, students also develop the quality of problem solving as during the course of study, students are asked to study a problem and come up with possible solutions.
Why Study STEM In The U.S.?
- Wide variety of courses: The US offers innumerable courses to those applying for STEM education. These courses include computer science, Data Science, Data Analytics, Web Development, Mechanical Engineering, Biochemistry, Astronomy, and many more.
- Better Job Prospectus: As the US is facing a high level of skill shortage, international students stand a great chance of gaining employment in the field that requires STEM qualification.
- Higher Salaries: In order to encourage and attract more number of students to the STEM based courses and fields, they are guaranteed with providing higher salaries. This is one of the strongest reasons why prospective international students should consider the US as a viable option to study STEM in.
- Rich infrastructure: The US institutions’ primary focus is to make available all the required tools, equipment, highly qualified faculty and research facilities to STEM students. This is done to churn out efficient, knowledgeable and skilled individuals.
- Opportunity for H1B Visa: As STEM students are made eligible to work for 24 months in the US after the completion of their OPT, they become eligible to acquire H1B visa and settle in America itself.
Currently an approximate of 80,000 to 85,000 students apply for STEM education from all over the world.
Career Prospects Studying STEM:
Studying STEM guarantees higher returns for students as it boosts their job prospects massively. The profession of Software engineering, Network Engineering, Data Management, Bio-medical engineering, Actuary, Video Game Designing, Computer Programmer, etc. can all be pursued by the study of STEM.
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