November 8 is National STEM Day, a day celebrating science, technology, engineering, and math. The STEM field of 20 years ago looks very different than the one of today and will look very different in even just five years.
Inspired by the air shows he saw growing up, Bill Marx went into the aerospace field in the mid-90s. Now, he is the chief technology officer at Intuitive Research and Technology Corporation.
“A lot of the stuff you used to use a supercomputer for 30 years ago,” Marx said. “Now people have on their phone or warfighters have on a tablet.”
He said the traditional STEM jobs are still there, but new fields are constantly developing, like software engineering.
“A lot of the people that are experts in the software field, they’re people that maybe have a bachelor’s or master’s, and maybe just two, or five, or eight years,” Marx said. “The technology is changing so fast, that that’s where the expertise is.”
Tyler Carter is a division manager for systems and software solutions at Intuitive. He said two other major areas of growth are in big data analytics and cyber engineering.
“Not only do we have lots of data available, so does everybody else,” said Carter. “Keeping bad actors out of our information and our hardware, out of our software is key in the next five, 10, 15 years, and present as well.”
Another huge area that’s booming in the STEM field is virtual reality.
Chanler Crowe Cantor has been a digital engineer at Intuitive for three years. She works on building virtual reality environments. She says she was introduced to STEM in elementary school when a female NASA engineer visited her school.
“So I never thought that women weren’t very prominent in this industry until I went to college and then I was one of ten,” Chanler said.
Now she’s developing programs that can be used in training for the Department of Defense, medical procedures, or vehicle maintenance.
With the STEM field constantly evolving, they all say it’s hard to predict what it will look like in the next 20 years. But they can confidently say there will always be a need for people trained in science, technology, engineering, and math.
An area they say they think will look completely different in the next 20 years is artificial intelligence. The experts at Intuitive said that AI isn’t new, but it will continue to show up everywhere and will change the speed and efficiency in all areas of STEM.