By:  Eliza Brockwell
December 24th, 2018

These STEM career stereotypes are dumb and outdated

Mathematicians, coders, scientists and engineers definitely don’t look like this. We’ve broken down the dumb and outdated stereotypes to set them straight!

Scientists

Expectation

Scientists are old guys with frizzy hair that wear white lab coats and specialise in producing accidental explosions when they mix the wrong chemicals together. I guess by that definition, all scientists are chemists. And they ALWAYS work in a lab.

 

Reality

Mitch Klenner, nuclear medicine researcher at ANSTO

There really is no one type of scientist. They can work in the outdoors, fisherman-style, collecting marine animals like yabbies to test for the effects of mining pollution on local ecosystems. Or they could be data scientists, never setting foot in a lab and working exclusively with code, analytics and numbers!

 

Meet some real-life scientists



Coders

Expectation

Coders = code monkeys tap, tap, tapping away at their laptops (have these people heard of a desktop computer?) in dark, basement rooms.

It’s usually just a job for dudes, eating pizza and drinking endless energy drinks to code through the night. They’re also limited to two ambitions; evil hacker, or tech billionaire.

 

Reality

Izzy Joe is a computer science student at the University of Canterbury. She heads up the Women in Tech society at the uni.

Coding is just a language, and it’s what you do with it that counts. Coders can be collaborative, working in large teams to produce globally distributed software we all know and love, like Google Photos for instance.

The workplaces may be more relaxed than your average corporate environment (check out Google HQ if you don’t know what we’re talking about!), but you can also work in corporate if that’s more your jam. It’s totally up to you, because you’ve got countless career options when you’ve got skills in coding.

 

Meet some real-life coders

Engineers

Expectation

Hard hats and high-vis. Civil engineering is just about the only type of engineering for these stereotype-dwellers, so they’ll need plenty of cranial protection for all the under-construction action happening overhead.

 

Reality

Quinton and Brett are managers in engineering at Commbank.

From software engineering, to aerospace engineering, most of today’s engineers have probably never donned a hard hat in their life. This engineer has made a living mixing tracks for artists like Kesha and Will.I.Am, while this engineer combats major security threats for Google everyday. No high-vis in sight!

 

Meet some real-life engineers

Mathematicians

Expectation

It seems mathematicians only existed in the 20th century, and are now a long-forgotten extinct species that will never reappear. 21st century schools have been trying to revive this species, with little luck. Test subjects often spew out phrases such as “I’m not good at maths” in lieu of actually trying to succeed. Looks like there’s no hope for the future of the humble mathematician.

 

Reality

Lily Serna is a data analyst for Atlassian, and hosts the show ‘Letters and Numbers’ on SBS.

Ok, you may never need to use algebra again, but mathematical ways of thinking seep into heaps of modern day careers. Take data scientists, they’re using mathematical principles to sort through mounds of unused data to find useful insights for things like business development or health trends.

If algebra is your best pal, mathematicians do still exist! And they don’t generally look like Einstein. Applied mathematicians are researchers that figure out how maths applies to the real world, like using maths to make planes fly faster, for example. Or if you’re crazy about equations, you could always become an educator, lecturer or researcher in pure mathematics.

 

Meet some real-life maths experts

Eliza Brockwell

Author: Eliza Brockwell

Eliza is the Digital Producer for Careers with STEM. Eliza is passionate about creating content that encourages diversity of representation in STEM.

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