STEM jobs are growing twice as fast as other jobs and STEM skills are in demand like never before. Think: top three most popular careers in Australia need them. Here’s how studying STEM as an international student can shift your career into high gear.
As the world starts to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s the perfect chance to go global when considering your study pathway. With Australian STEM jobs growing faster than jobs in any other industry, completing your Bachelor’s degree in a STEM field – and on Aussie soil – is a no-brainer, because by 2025, Australia will need 6.5 million more workers with digital skills. That’s a whole lot of opportunity and job security.
International student Ho Sze, who switched from the hospitality sector to an IT (Information Technology) focus through Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Brisbane knows first-hand how awesome studying abroad can be.
When Ho Sze traveled from Hong Kong to Australia in 2017, she initially chose an undergraduate degree in tourism and hospitality management. But, Ho Sze graduated in early 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, and had trouble finding a full-time job in her chosen field.
This all changed when one of her friends encouraged her to do a short online web development course, introducing her to coding.
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Now in her second semester of a Masters of IT at QUT, she says she was surprised to find coding “very interesting and fun” which also meant she could keep her international study options alive! With 33,000 new IT jobs being created in Australia to 2019, it’s also one of the highest employment opportunities around.
“QUT is a very good place to study where the diversity is quite rich,” says Ho Sze.
International or bust!
Sure, studying abroad brings plenty of culture, a change of environment and maybe even different cuisine, but international merit scholarships also offer the opportunity for high-achieving undergraduate or postgraduate international students to continue their studies and even upskill, too. Ho Sze received an International Merit Scholarship from QUT, and because it offers financial support her uni fees were reduced by 25%.
Not only that, she had access to leadership and professional development programs and networking opportunities – which is all part of the support offered to international STEM students at QUT.
Dr Dimitri Perrin is a senior lecturer at QUT and leads the Biomedical Data Science group. He says with the shortage of skilled workers in fields like science and IT, there are plenty of opportunities for high-achieving students to have successful careers.
Dimitri encourages international high school students to consider a STEM degree at QUT and to take advantage of the approachable staff, who are committed to helping students succeed. For example, Ho Sze says that during her first semester at QUT, which was also right when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, additional assistance and support was provided through channels such as Slack and Microsoft Teams.
“Communicating through these channels with the tutors and lecturers made it so easy and quick, there was much more visibility to other students’ queries as well,” says Ho Sze.
Ho Sze is looking forward to getting hands-on experience interning at IT companies in Brisbane while completing her studies.
There are so many unique opportunities for students from around the world to study and work in cutting-edge areas of research at QUT, he says, with courses in engineering, data science, urban development, games and interactive technologies, it’s choosing which one that’ll be the hardest decision of all!
To learn more about how a STEM degree at QUT can launch your international career, visit www.qut.edu.au/think-stem
Author: Nadine Cranenburgh
Nadine is an electrical and environmental engineer who works as a freelance writer and editor. She loves creating articles and content about exciting and complex technology.