STEM Skills: Definition, Examples And How To Develop Them

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 6 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills include technical abilities required to accomplish a range of tasks and solve problems in the scientific field. If you are applying for a job in the field of science and engineering, knowing about these skills can help you solve real-world problems. Understanding the skills needed for STEM jobs can give you a competitive advantage in your job search. In this article, we list STEM skills, describe how to develop these skills and look at some ways to highlight them during a job search.

What Are STEM Skills?

STEM skills are a combination of technical abilities and soft skills that professionals in their jobs to conduct research and find solutions to solve complex problems. This includes skills such as good knowledge of statistics and mathematics, decision-driven decision making, creativity, teamwork, collaboration, research abilities and critical thinking. Professionals can pursue additional certifications to learn and develop the skills they require to advance in their careers.

Related: Skills Test: Definition And Examples

Examples Of STEM Skills

Professionals and job seekers can learn these skills to hone their skills and enhance their resumes. Here is a list of skills essential for the job:

Teamwork

Professionals in this field work with people from various domains to achieve a common goal. This requires them to communicate effectively, handle multiple responsibilities, take accountability and practice active listening. You can learn how to collaborate by participating in STEM activities or attending lectures in various subjects in these fields. The ability to accommodate the contrasting views of others is essential to a team's success.

Related: 10 Skills You Need For Team Building (And How To Develop Them)

Technical skills

Computer and technology skills enable professionals to operate complicated technological systems and understand complex computer applications. These include knowledge of programming, data analysis, engineering tools, design and accounting. It is also important for professionals to pursue additional training to stay current with advancements.

Creativity

STEM professionals often use creative skills to solve complex problems or improve processes. Through their creative skills and math, engineering and science knowledge, they develop new products and technologies. By taking STEM courses, you can learn to think critically, approach problems in different ways and choose a solution that produces the desired result.

Related: Soft Skills: Definitions And Examples

Resourcefulness

Resourcefulness refers to the ability to solve problems in an efficient and innovative manner using available resources. You can be resourceful by being open-minded and receptive to new ideas while finding unconventional solutions to problems. This ability to adapt and solve problems creatively can increase the chances of your hiring.

Problem-solving

STEM fields often require you to solve complex problem. For instance, an engineer can design a machine that is more efficient and reliable or a computer programmer can create a version of software for better user experience. You can solve a problem by analysing it, designing potential solutions and evaluating it to determine the best solution.

Math skills

A solid understanding of math is essential for professionals working in the STEM fields. The study of mathematics is also integral to fields such as accounting, finance and medicine. The development of strong math skills can help professionals recognise patterns and trends, perform complex calculations and evaluate alternative approaches to problems.

Effective communication

Sharing findings with your organisation or simplifying complex concepts for them requires effective communication. You may require preparing workflow diagrams, writing research papers and conveying the findings to upper management so that they can make informed decisions. Being articulate gives you the confidence to share your thoughts with your team members.

Related: Communication Skills: Definitions And Examples

How To Develop STEM Skills?

Students learn STEM skills in school and universities through science and engineering classes. It is also possible to acquire these skills while looking for jobs or working for a company. By developing these skills, you can contribute to a company's success. Follow these steps if you want to develop your skills:

1. Make observations

Curiosity is an important trait that many professionals share, which leads them to fabulous discoveries. It helps gather crucial information and form hypotheses that may become innovations. Observe happenings and occurrences in your environment. Start by being attentive to what you can sense in your immediate surroundings. You can also try finding overlooked mistakes and errors to improve your observational skills.

Related: How To Develop Your Skill Set: A Complete Guide

2. Depend less on technology

It is important to develop cognitive ability and social awareness to excel in STEM fields. One way to develop these skills naturally is to decrease the reliance on technology and electronic gadgets. Use your natural abilities to make simple calculations, remember names and vividly describe what you see in your immediate surroundings. Doing these can sharpen your mind and help you develop valuable skills faster.

3. Join a STEM group or community

One of the quickest ways to develop these skills is to be in a STEM environment. This can be a gathering or club consisting of individuals and professionals who teach, apply or learn these skills. Search for STEM groups in your community or online if you cannot find one close to your location. These are various organisations aiming to solve challenges and address problems concerning the society and environment. These groups also impart crucial skills and encourage people to participate in various learning activities.

4. Participate in STEM projects

Look for opportunities to participate in projects that require these skills. Joining these events can enable you to work closely with experts and observe how they attempt to solve complex challenges with these skills. Ask questions, seek advice and collaborate with various experts.

5. Apply STEM to everyday life

One of the best ways to master these skills is to use them in the workplace and in daily life. Use your abilities to find solutions to everyday problems. Employ them to complete chores and simple tasks faster, develop alternative means of managing challenging situations with more simplicity and create a safer environment. While you apply these skills to your daily activities, record your observations and document the challenges and benefits of utilising these abilities.

STEM Skills At The Workplace

Demonstrating your skills at work allows you to establish credibility and build trust with your colleagues and managers. You can demonstrate your skills in the following ways:

  • Offer to help others. Helping colleagues can improve inter-personal relationships across teams and lead to a more cohesive workflow that benefits everyone involved. Coordinating with others is also an opportunity to learn from them.

  • Propose unique solutions. Providing an alternative solution to a problem can demonstrate your creative problem-solving abilities.

  • Accept challenging projects. Taking part in challenging projects can help you develop skills, collaborate with people from diverse backgrounds, propose creative solutions and contribute to a company's growth.

Related: How To Write A STEM Resume (With Tips And Examples)

Ways To Highlight STEM Skills

When applying for jobs, make sure to emphasise your technical skills and soft skills. Here are some ways you can do so:

On a resume and cover letter

List your skills in the professional summary section of your resume. This allows the interviewer to get a better sense of your background and previous work experience. Describe how you used your skills to achieve goals in the past. Make sure you highlight your technical skills in a separate section. This includes knowledge of statistics, engineering-design thinking, data presentation and middleware and integration software. You can add specific industry keywords and skills that a job application tracker or employer may be looking for while evaluating resumes.

Ensure your cover letter highlights your skills and how they helped you achieve your goals. For example, you can mention how you developed a program to automate certain business tasks that resulted in a 20% increase in the revenue.

During an interview

A hiring manager may ask you about your previous work experience during an interview. Describe the ways you used your technical skills at your previous jobs. For instance, you can mention how you worked on developing new statistical software at your last job that reduced time consumption by 20%. This can help an interviewer assess your answers to determine whether you are a good fit for the job.

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