Want to start your career in STEM but not sure what skills you will need? Whether you want to be a world-famous engineer or the next technology genius, you’ll need to develop some valuable business skills to set you apart from the competition. But what exactly are they, and why are they so important?
Business skills are really valuable. They can be used to help you communicate with confidence, solve problems with ease and work well with colleagues. Combine these must-have business skills with STEM and you’ll be set up for a long and successful career in a growing industry.
When you think about it, everything you will do at work requires strong communication; delivering a dreaded presentation, speaking with customers or even working on a project with your colleagues. Most of the work involved with a STEM career is technical and complex so the ability to communicate clearly is even more important. Being able to express yourself clearly when speaking to people is vital; so too is the ability to communicate effectively in writing.
Everyone loves to delegate don’t they? But there is a skill in delegation; one that involves the ability to allocate tasks to maximise productivity. Learning to delegate properly is a valuable quality and one that will require you to strike a balance between leading your team and leaving them to get on with their work. A key element in good delegation is making sure everyone has clearly defined roles and responsibilities.
As the modern workplace becomes increasingly technical, being able to analyse systems, processes and operations is more in demand than ever. Analytical thinking would involve you looking at something, assessing how it can be improved and then creating a link between the current situation and meeting future goals. Great if you love a challenge!
Being able to analyse things well is about collecting and evaluating information to develop a strong argument. Success in the STEM industry relies not only on collecting information, but also the ability to apply ideas and theories to real-world situations.
Good teamwork always wins. Within a STEM career, it’s likely you’ll have to work as part of a wider technical team. This will involve sharing ideas, analysing data and coming up with innovative concepts and team building is a vital skill in today’s workplace. People working to their full potential within a team will deliver better solutions and perform more effectively than every employee working towards their own individual goals.
Understanding how teams function, your role within them and how you can use these skills to take the team to the next level are all important business skills that can be applied in any STEM career.
Finance is something that affects us all. Within your STEM career you may have to manage budgets or use resources in the most cost-effective way. Good financial management is all about using the right strategies to ensure that a business operates cost-effectively. Timely budgeting and reporting and knowing how to assess performance is a key skill in any career, whether you work in STEM or in any other industry.
Even if your maths isn’t the best, you can still learn how to read, analyse and interpret financial information to identify and promptly address things that will have a negative impact on a business. Your financial skills will also help you develop an understanding of cash flow which is the way that cash moves around the business. Poor cash flow can have disastrous consequences for a business and developing the knowledge to monitor, protect, control and use cash in the right way is essential.
Maximising productivity through effective time management will help you achieve your goals and become more efficient. Learning this valuable business skill will allow you to get through more work in less time. Knowing how to manage your time efficiently will vary depending on the role you occupy but effective time management always adds value to any business.
STEM skills are in high demand and they aim to develop competency in a number of work/life areas, focusing specifically on the demands required from modern day technology. In doing so you will be more prepared for today’s business, being able to innovate, deploy creative ideas and demonstrate the ability to think critically Building your skill set to include STEM and business skills will not only make you more employable but also improve your prospects of success.
– Ed Mellett
GIFs via Giphy
About the author: Ed Mellett is an entrepreneur, careers professional and founder of practicereasoningtests.com. Upon graduating from Manchester University he recognised a gap in the market for an interactive careers website tailored specifically towards students and graduates, and in 2007 co-founded and launched wikijob.co.uk. Now in its 11th year, wikijob attracts more than 400,000 unique users per month and is a must-visit resource for students considering their careers post-university.
Author: Edward Mellett
Edward Mellett is the founder of Practice Reasoning Tests, a free to use careers website for jobseekers.