STEM subjects are important for students to learn, especially so for those students looking for careers in engineering.

But today’s real growth opportunities related to STEM and engineering should focus on computer engineering — on the software and digital hardware that is revolutionizing the world around us. The reality, however, is very different. There is still growth in many other fields related to STEM, but the unfilled need for professionals in computer-related fields far outpaces everything else.

Rethinking education for today and tomorrow

The truth is, even STEM is largely misunderstood, and computer technologies generally remain lost in the shuffle. Computer programming as a subject isn’t even taught in most schools, and when secondary school educators talk about a focus on STEM, they usually refer to the maths and sciences that they already teach, like physics, biology, chemistry, algebra, and calculus. These are all valuable, but in a computer-rich society such as ours, we should have a computer-related component to reflect this reality.

So when you hear the mention of the importance of STEM in schools, begin by thinking about the abundance of opportunities in computer systems engineering and software engineering, as this is an enormous area of growth in today’s economy.