5 Cool Careers that Require STEM Skills

It’s time to go back to school and you may be one of those students who still wonder about the point of learning statistics or algebra, or dread chemistry class and science lab. While it may be tempting to drop your science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) courses if they’re no longer required courses for your grade, you could be closing the door on some of the coolest jobs around.

Here are five cool careers that require a background in STEM education:

Michael, video game developer
Michael - Video Game Developer
Meet Michael, a video game developer with Tiny Hearts Studio, an app development studio in Toronto. Having studied computer science at the University of Waterloo and game programming at George Brown College, Michael develops mobile apps and games for a living. “I make apps and games using the latest development technologies,” he says. “I love creatively solving technical problems.”

If you dream of developing video games for a living too, you’ll definitely need to pay attention during trigonometry, which is used to move characters, as well as algebra to create special effects. You’ll also need to know about probability and game theory.

Read more about Michael’s life as a game developer on Real Talk.

Ahmed, software engineer
Ahmed - Software Engineer for Facebook
There’s Ahmed, whose interest in computer science prompted him to become an Android engineer for Facebook. “There’s lots to learn and many difficult problems to solve, plus many super smart people to learn from,” he says.

If you want to work as a computer software engineering, creativity and problem solving are key, as you’ll be designing new software programs. Problem-solving, mathematic and analytical skills are important, as well as familiarity with database management and program testing.

Read more about Ahmed’s life as an engineer for Facebook on Real Talk.

Sheryl, molecular microbial ecologist
Sheryl - Molecular Microbial Ecologist
Meet Sheryl, who works as Molecular Microbial Ecologist in Victoria, B.C. With a background in marine biology, she studies deep-sea microbes, the oldest and smallest form of life known on earth. “My job is to find the answers to interesting science questions and share the answers with the world so we can all know a little bit more about our amazing planet,” she says.

Marine biology involves the study of marine life, whether it’s microbes, plants or animals. If you want to become a marine biologist, you’ll need to pay attention in biology, which gives you an introduction to life sciences, and chemistry, in which you’ll learn about the properties of organisms, and pre-calculus, where you work with statistics to solve complex problems.

Read more about Sheryl’s work as a marine biologist on Real Talk.

Daphne, medical researcher at SickKids
Daphne - Medical Researcher at SickKids
After studying Engineering Science at the University of Toronto, and augmenting her education with a Masters in Physics and PhD in Medical Biophysics, Daphne works as a Medical Researcher with the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. “My work tries to understand the relationship between lifestyle during pregnancy and the baby’s health later in life,” she says.

If you think that doesn’t sound enticing, think again. Daphne highlights that her work involves investigating global issues that align with her passions. “I love that I can dictate the direction of my work. I can choose research questions that really interest me and work exclusively on answering them.” If you’re interested in biomedical research, you’ll definitely need to pay attention in biology – big surprise! Skills in statistics is also key as you’ll be collecting data to identify and investigate complex issues.

Read more about Daphne’s work as a Medical Researcher on Real Talk.

Kristina, professional photographer
Kristina - Environmental Specialist
Kristina, who studied civil engineering at Western University, works an Environmental Specialist at CH2M Hill Canada. “I work as an engineer-in-training on soil and groundwater remediation,” she says. “I love working outdoors and the hands-on learning.” She’s currently augmenting her education with a Masters in Environmental Sciences.

If you’re interested in solving environmental issues like Kristina, biology and chemistry are key. You’ll also need to pay attention in environment-related subjects, such as geography or ecology.

Read more about Kristina’s work as an Environmental Specialist on Real Talk.

The Learning Partnership is a national, charitable organization dedicated to advancing publicly funded education, and encouraging STEM skill development through innovative programs and initiatives, including I3 - Investigate! Invent! Innovate!, a STEM-based program, and Real Talk, our career app designed to provide high school students with peer-to-peer perspectives.

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Did you know?
Even these more common cool careers require senior math and/or science courses:

  • ​Firefighter
  • Electrician
  • Pilot
  • Web developer
  • Architect

Expert available for interviews:
Jan Courtin
Director, National Programs

Jan Courtin holds a M.Ed., a B.A., and a Supervisory Officer’s Certificate. Fully committed to public education, Jan’s long-standing educational career is founded within Ontario’s Peel District School Board (PDSB) through a number of senior leadership roles including Superintendent of Education, 21st Century Committee Co-Chair and secondary school Principal. She is an advocate for community engagement and mental health education, and has strong experience in shaping rich professional development for teachers that reflect 21st Century teaching and learning and enhanced global awareness.