Are you a STEM graduate (that is, a graduate of a science, technology, engineering or mathematics degree)? If you are, you might be wondering what else you can do with your degree beyond the typical career paths. Here are some un-common careers if following the crowd isn’t for you…
Ideal for engineering or technology STEM graduates, if you’re creative and want to combine this with being an engineer, you might like to consider “Imagineering” – the implementation of highly imaginative, creative ideas into practical forms. The term was made famous by Disney, whose imagineers create immersive entertainment attractions for theme parks and resorts. Disneyland imagineers earn an average of US$62,000 per year, according to CareerBliss.
2. Rollercoaster engineer
Speaking of theme parks, another unusual STEM career path lies in designing the rollercoasters themselves, a role which combines mechanical, structural, civil and electrical engineering, as well as physics. As a rollercoaster engineer, you’ll need to consider key factors such as safety, environment and riders’ enjoyment. And yes, you will get to ride your creation before it opens to the public. This is a very competitive career, so you’ll need to network and build contacts with big names to help break in to the industry. Rollercoaster engineers earn an average of $84,190 in the US according the Bureau of Labor Statistics (figures are for mechanical engineers).
3. Music machine learning engineer
Next on our list of unusual careers with a STEM degree is a role which allows you to combine a love of music with your knack for technology. Machine learning engineers apply machine learning methods to large data sets to personalize and optimize the services of online music services such as iTunes Radio and Spotify. You’ll work through massive amounts of data, something which requires strong data engineering skills, and you’ll also prototype new algorithms and optimize solutions. The average salary of machine learning engineers in the US is $107,373 per year.
4. Storm tracker
If you’re fascinated by different weather phenomena such as tornados and thunderstorms, you might be interested in this branch of meteorology. Although the job title probably makes you think of adrenaline junkies driving into storms to capture dramatic photos and videos, this role is a lot safer than it sounds. You’ll study the science of storms, using computer programs to gather scientific data on extreme weather occurrences. Storm trackers (atmospheric scientists) earn an average of $89,820 a year in the US.
5. Ethical hacker
With so many negative hacking stories in the news these days, the word ‘hacker’ has gained some pretty negative connotations. But, if you’re skilled in computer systems and interested in using your skills for good, the role of an ethical hacker might be for you. As an ethical hacker, you’ll knowingly try to hack a company’s computer network in order to help them identify and fix potential security problems. To become an ethical hacker, you’ll need extensive experience with computer systems, as well as problem-solving and communication skills. Ethical hackers earn around £50,000 in the UK and $71,331 in the US.
6. Robotics engineer
How about designing robots to explore the ocean floor (or even the floor of another planet), or creating mechanical arms to work on the production line of car manufacturing? As robots become increasingly common, demand for robotics engineers will in turn become greater. As well as designing and maintaining robots, you’ll also develop new applications for your robots and conduct research to expand their potential. Robotics engineers earn an average of $80,395 in the US.