What Does STEM Stand for in Business & Education?

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STEM Meaning & Definition

The acronym STEM stands for the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. STEM education, is the hands-on learning of these STEM subjects through an integrated approach.

The argument for STEM education is that there needs to be more of it incorporated into everyday schooling. This curriculum should be made available at a young age for students around the globe so that more people are equipped to take on STEM in the real-world.

It’s not only the benefit of learning science, technology, engineering, and math as one, but also gaining the related skills. These include problem-solving, exploratory learning, critical thinking, and more that go hand-in-hand with those subjects that make STEM education valuable. Not to mention that proficiency with STEM skills is a must for anyone traversing the future job and business landscape. There are many reasons why STEM is important.

What is a STEM course?

A STEM course is one that focuses on the integrated disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and math. These teachings are typically carried out through hands-on learning and projects rooted in real world challenges to help prepare students for a degree and the future job landscape. This course can take place in school, with after-school programs, or at a STEM summer camp, etc.

All of this shouldn't really be a surprise, right?

Given the upwards trajectory of the term the last few years, along with all-star backing from celebrities, President Obama, and a number of specialized organizations across the country, we all probably have at least a general familiarity with STEM.

Ok, but what does STEM truly STAND for?

Meaning, when you think about STEM, what does it look like? Is it a durable structure that has taken such solid form in your mind that it is actually propelling you and your students toward a new hobby, a college degree, or even a future career (like these students)? 

So take a step back and ask yourself, "what does science look like?"

Science is a subject we are all acquainted with. What about technology? You KNOW technology. Engineering might be a little more obscure, but Math is a recognizable friend in the crowd.

Thus, STEM is just a fancy way of bringing all of these things together to make proliferating their importance easier.

This also might help:

STEM jobs & applications

A STEM job is any occupation that requires STEM education and utilizes STEM skills. STEM jobs do not only include programming or coding, or the tasks of a computer technician, engineer, etc.

And even if  that was all that STEM had to offer, there are a bundle of different, specific career paths one could follow. We are talking music data journalist, ESPN statistician, Spotify machine learning engineer, LEGOLAND designer. They are all STEM jobs.

Here are some cool articles that highlight just how flexible the term can be:

STEM and Law Enforcement from the SF Examiner
STEM and Sports from OC Register
STEM and Monster Trucks from the Times of San Diego
STEM and the Zoo from the Minnesota Zoo

My point is don't take anything on its surface. A lot can be uncovered if you open a book, overturn a rock, or ask a simple question. STEM has a very understandable book definition, but it is what you do with it that really allows it to take form.

A photo of Ryan

Ryan manages blog content at iD Tech, starting with the company in 2008. He earned his MBA from Santa Clara University after obtaining his Bachelor’s degree from Arizona State. Connect on LinkedIn!