STEM subjects offer young people a wealth of opportunities

In the latest blog celebrating the launch of the Tech Future Women’s Network, Nivedita Krishanmurthy, Senior Vice President and Head of Markets at Capgemini, speaks about the wealth of opportunities open to people who study STEM subjects. Using maths as an example, she highlights the importance of demonstrating these multiple opportunities to get more girls interested in STEM subjects.

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Nivedita Krishanmurthy says ‘Show STEM subjects as the doorway to interesting and vibrant careers.’

“You’re good at Maths – you’ll make a great Accountant”

I’m hearing this quite a bit at the moment.  My guess is that if you’re good at maths you’ve heard it too.  And it’s absolutely true.  If you’re good at maths, accountancy might be for you.

But as an employer I feel the one dimensional association between a talent for maths and a career as an accountant just isn’t helpful, I’d go so far as to say it lacks a bit of creativity on our part!

As an accountant myself I know accountants are vital in a thriving business.  But today unlike when I left school, there are so many more careers open to talented maths literate young people.  After all, maths fosters problem solving skills, which are fundamental to business success.  Problem solving careers also tend to attract a more diverse range of young people including girls.  Whilst maths A level is on a steady increase, less than 30% of 2015 students were girls*  So, to me it’s imperative that we showcase maths, and all STEM subjects for that matter, as the doorway to interesting and vibrant careers.

From the classroom the variety of careers where maths is either essential or a real help are probably not obvious.  Looking within Capgemini alone we have a wealth of careers for those with a flair for maths.  Here’s my top five:

  1. Programmer or Software Engineer. Understanding A level maths will give you a head start in a career creating software programmes with the potential for millions of people to use.
  2. Business Analytics. You only have to look at the Capgemini analytics team blog to see the vast array of topics that business analytics consultants get involved in.  From queues at Wimbledon to the weather and cinema releases, being able to see numbers for what they really are allows them to share insights others don’t see.  Understanding the power of big data is most definitely a high flying future job.  A wonderful skill set and a blog well worth reading
  3. Cyber Security. Clearly maths is a core skill for cryptography (decrypting texts or making James Bond look good!).  However, in a business sense maths would be useful for deciphering statistics and cross comparing activity to understand the strategy behind attacks or particular hackers.  This is another job function that will be in high demand now and the future.
  4. Project Manager. We run some of the biggest and most high profile technology projects in the world, great project managers make them happen.  To do that you need to know how many hours a project will take to deliver at what cost and what other resources are needed.  Not to mention what are the risks and the peak and troughs.
  5. Event Management. Like all big organisations whether for clients or our own people we frequently bring people together.  If you can’t work out how much space 1,000 people need, or will eat and drink you’re not going to cut it as an Events Manager.  And don’t forget you’ll need to manage the budget – can you afford live music and goodie bags?

So for maths alone there are a range of opportunities available to our young people that we need to make them aware of. Maths and the other STEM subjects are an avenue into a broad range of exciting career paths and by making this clearer we will encourage young people to undertake STEM subjects. This is where initiatives like the TechFuture Women’s Network can play a vital role by giving students direct access to industry professionals who can share their experiences and help broaden students’ horizons.

Join the TechFuture Women’s Network today and help inspire young girls and boys to explore STEM subjects.

*   Data reference here:  https://mobile.twitter.com/guardian/status/631821041069912064