What Is STEM?
Before we talk about computer science we first need to discuss what STEM exactly is. STEM is an acronym stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. It is a very general term that encompasses many different fields of study under one umbrella. In the last decade, STEM has risen to the top in both job and to student demand. With STEM being the most rapidly growing industry in the world, workers are more desirable than ever before. Silicon Valley, is a hotspot for tech startups and where many STEM students dream of ending up. When one thinks of Silicon Valley, you think of computer science. So this begs the question of: Is computer science considered STEM?
Computer Science and STEM
Computer science is indeed under the umbrella of STEM. Because STEM features both technology as well as science, computer science falls into both of these categories. Computer science is also one of the biggest STEM majors. Many students pursuing a STEM degree are looking into computer science as the demand when compared to all other STEM majors is rising the quickest. The world needs more computer scientists who can design and implement new systems and programs.
It is a broad major that incorporates many different computer programming studies under one title. Britannica.com defines computer science as:
“the study of computers and computing, including their theoretical and algorithmic foundations, hardware, and software, and their uses for processing information. The discipline of computer science includes the study of algorithms and data structures, computer and network design, modeling data an information processes, and artificial intelligence.”
There’s many different fields that are included within the discipline of computer science. The most popular of which being computer programming. There are fundamental differences between a computer science degree and a information technology degree though. Computer science is a specific discipline that works with the designing and implementation of computer based software or components. This is what separates it from other STEM related fields and makes it so desirable by companies. Fresh college graduates, start with higher salaries out of school with a computer science degree than most other STEM majors. This is especially apparent when looking for work in California, as salaries are increased to adjust for the cost of living.
Other Types of STEM Fields
Other STEM related fields include the different types of sciences (Natural, Physical, and sometimes Medicine), all forms of Engineering (aerospace, mechanical, etc.), and any field that includes the application of mathematics or its principles. There is some discourse surrounding other fields and their potential inclusion in STEM. These fields are mainly social sciences. You can read our article here on social sciences.
Many high school and even some middle school programs are focusing on implementing STEM-related courses. This is to better prepare students for college who may be interested in pursuing this field. These courses are in the form of upper level math and science classes, engineering, statistics, or computer science and programming classes. I urge you to take advantage of these programs early to explore your options. Especially for the field of computer science, it’s important to start early to stand out from the competition when it comes to college application season. Because the demand is so high for computer science majors, the field is becoming increasingly competitive with more and more students studying the field.
If you’re currently taking an AP math class, or looking to prepare for one, check out our expert, one-on-one tutors who can help you get started! It’s a great opportunity to start standing out and exploring your degree interests!