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Which STEM Careers Are Right for Me? Quiz

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STEM careers are plentiful and lucrative, but what if you have no idea which one to choose? Maybe you like math or science, but you’re unsure how those subjects translate to STEM careers. Or maybe you’d like to understand all the options of STEM careers you can pursue – and there are a lot of them.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), STEM careers include life and physical science, architecture and engineering, and computer and mathematical jobs, plus some management, teaching, and sales jobs related to those areas.

In 2022, 10.3 million people had a job in STEM in the United States, according to BLS, which projects that STEM jobs will grow over ten percent by 2032.

Take our quiz to start exploring which STEM careers could be right for you.

Which STEM Careers Are Right For Me? Quiz

Learn which STEM careers are right for you based on your interests and traits. It’s completely free — you’ll just need to log in or sign up to view your results.

Close your eyes and imagine the kind of place where you'd feel most inspired to work every day. What does it look like?
Which is your favorite kind of hard problem?
Which task sounds the most interesting to you?
Which class would you be most excited to take?
Which quality are people most likely to ascribe to you?
Choose a downside of work that would bother you the least.
Which type of hobbies do you prefer?
Choose an achievement you'd be most proud of.
What kind of work interests you the most?
Imagine that you're exploring a new city. Which place would you visit first?
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Which STEM Careers Are Right for Me? Options

When you think of STEM careers, you might picture someone in a lab coat holding up a test tube. However, lab work is only one option that falls within the huge category of STEM careers.

Once you’ve taken the quiz above, you might be curious about your other options. Here are some examples of STEM careers and perspectives from professionals on their paths to these careers.


Scientists conduct research to produce products and answer questions. Scientists can specialize in a variety of disciplines, including chemistry, physics, biology, and more. If you pursue a career as a scientist, you may work at a university or in a company’s research department. Scientists review existing research on a topic, design and conduct experiments, and publish the results of their experiments.

“I chose my current career path of cancer epidemiology because I found it to be a good balance of the science of cancer development and progression and the consideration of social and structural determinants of health,” says Kilan Ashad-Bishop, principal scientist at the American Cancer Society and co-founder and executive director of STEMNoire.

Ashad-Bishop advises that students interested in STEM identify what they’re passionate about and what they’re good at, then figure out how these passions and abilities intersect in a STEM or STEM-adjacent career.

Jodi Asbell-Clarke, senior researcher in neurodiversity in STEM Education and director of educational gaming environments group at TERC, started her career at IBM as a programmer on NASA’s space shuttle.

“While working at NASA, I wanted to become an astronaut,” she says. “Dr. Sally Ride was the first U.S. woman in space, and she had a Ph.D. in astrophysics that led me to the field. I love space and astronomy, and even more, I love the fundamental nature of physics – how it all boils down to four fundamental laws. That kind of systematic thinking seemed to suit the way my mind works.”

Asbell-Clarke has held several different roles in STEM. She went to graduate school and conducted research in astrophysics, then became a high school teacher, and is now a researcher, author, and leader in her role at TERC.

“I bring skills and perspectives from all these different roles together. Each one has given me something valuable and showed me a different side of STEM,” she says.

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Software Engineer (And Other Computer or IT-Related Careers)

Software engineers write the code that powers websites and applications. They may specialize in a particular area. For example, front-end engineers implement functional user interfaces from designs or wireframes, while backend engineers focus on how apps access and store data. DevOps engineers and site reliability engineers build and maintain the infrastructure that keeps software applications running around the clock for thousands or millions of users.

>>MORE: Learn more about the types of software engineers.

While your college major may seem like a big decision for your future STEM career, your undergraduate major isn’t the sole determinant of your career trajectory. 

For example, if you major in computer science, a role as a software engineer might seem logical to pursue, but you could choose a different role in tech, like product manager or cybersecurity analyst, if software engineering isn’t the right fit. The skills you learned as a computer science major would still be relevant in those roles.

Deepika Gajaria, vice president of GTM and strategy at Securin, chose to study physics, chemistry, and other sciences at college because she was interested in the subjects and they came easily to her.

“I loved the hands-on nature of natural sciences and engineering, leading me to my first job after graduating from CPI in Palo Alto. The job required me to work with my hands, fixing things and working on machines for cancer therapy,” Gajaria says.

At CPI, Gajaria learned about national security and researched cutting-edge technology.

“That concept of digging deep and identifying what can have value in the future stuck with me,” Gajaria said. Her interest in innovation led her to a head of product role at a cybersecurity startup.

One of the benefits of STEM careers, and especially careers in tech, is the flexibility to transition to different roles as you gain experience and transferable skills.

“When I started college, I thought I wanted to be a software engineer, but then I interned at a company as a product manager and realized how much I loved combining solving business problems with building products,” says Lucille Tasker, senior director of data and technology at Rewriting the Code. “As you progress through your career, there is a lot of opportunity in STEM to shift into different roles and learn new skills. I started my career in product management and now work in a role that looks more like a data scientist.” 

My career journey in tech has also involved switching roles. I started my career in tech as a data scientist, and my current role at Forage blends marketing and data analytics. I have the opportunity to use both creative and analytical skills in my role, a unique perk of some STEM careers.

>>MORE: Take our quiz to learn what tech job is right for you.

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Engineers build things to solve problems. Electrical engineers, chemical engineers, environmental engineers, civil engineers, and computer hardware engineers are just a few examples of types of engineers. To be an engineer, you’ll need an eye for precision and a problem-solving mindset. You’ll also need to be resilient, since engineers have to iterate on their designs as constraints change.

If your hobbies involve building things and working with your hands, engineering could be a rewarding STEM career for you.

Paul Chow, CTO and co-founder at 3DGearZone, says that practical experience propelled his career.

“My physics and computer science background provided the foundation, but it was hands-on exploration that truly propelled me forward,” he says. “I dove deep into woodworking, CNC machining, and 3D modeling, and in 2016, the world of 3D printers became my personal playground.”

If you decide to major in engineering, there will be other STEM careers open to you in addition to engineering roles.

Molly Roux, CEO of Brain Spice Labs, says that she felt like she had two choices of what to do with her undergrad degree in biomedical engineering: go to medical school or work in a lab. However, there were more options available.

“While many of my classmates did pursue medical school and a few went to work for research organizations, many more chose other paths, including myself,” she says.

Roux now puts her engineering skills to use building extended reality apps.

“An engineering degree is an asset that can serve you in a broad range of career paths,” Roux says. “Internalize the problem-solving, flexibility, and creativity that makes you a great STEM student, and apply that to your career planning.”

>>MORE: Learn about the top ten jobs for engineering majors.

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Skills you’ll build: Data analysis, decision-making, engineering judgment, communication

Statistician (And Other Math-Related Careers)

Statisticians use mathematical models to analyze data and predict outcomes. As a statistician, you might perform calculations to support business decisions or analyze experiment results. Statisticians need to be comfortable with ambiguity, since every data set has limitations.

Liz Yauch, director of data science at 84.51˚, went to school for finance and took several courses in economics and statistics.

“I was fascinated by the intersection of math and using it to solve and explain real-world economic and business challenges,” Yauch says. “I pursued a second major in economics after researching potential career opportunities in the field and coming across roles in business analytics.”

Yauch notes that STEM is a broad category, and you may not be interested in all STEM careers. “I love data science and analytics, but if you put me in a traditional mechanical engineering course, I would probably struggle,” she says.

Geillan Aly, founder and CEO at Compassionate Math, left a position as a mathematics professor to help make math more accessible for students. 

Aly emphasizes the importance of math in all STEM careers. “Math is the foundation for STEM, and if a student is not comfortable with or good at math, they are likely to have a more difficult time in STEM,” Aly says.

Aly also notes that issues around gatekeeping, bias, and equity make STEM difficult and recommends that students interested in STEM stay open to multiple paths.

“For example, you may want to be an astronomer, but your physics class may open your eyes to the joys of engineering.”

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Professor (And Other Careers in STEM Education)

Becoming a professor at a university is one option among many STEM careers in education. Professors have advanced degrees in their disciplines and need to be able to effectively explain complex technical concepts to students. They often juggle multiple priorities, including conducting and publishing research, supervising graduate students, grading assignments, and serving on committees.

Pursuing a Ph.D. in a STEM subject can pave the way to a career in academia, but it also opens other doors.

For example, Caitlin Runne-Janczy, chief academic officer at Science Interactive, knew she wanted to pursue a career outside of the academic laboratory setting when she completed a Ph.D. in pharmacology.

“I also wanted a career where I had the opportunity to increase opportunities for students to pursue STEM education,” Runne-Janczy says. “Science Interactive allowed me to bring science laboratory courses to students who wouldn’t typically be able to have that opportunity.”

Runne-Janczy advises that students understand that a vast variety of careers are available to college graduates with STEM degrees.

“STEM careers can include laboratory research and benchwork or working in medical fields, but that list is not exclusive!” she says. “STEM degrees can lead to careers in education technology, technical writing, patent law, and data analytics, among others.” Additionally, STEM education can be pursued with any level of higher education — bachelor’s, master’s, Ph.D., or medical degree.”

How to Get Into STEM Careers

Once you know which STEM career is right for you, you can start taking steps to pursue it. The STEM professionals I consulted shared their advice for undergraduate students on how to get into STEM careers.

Find an Intersection of Interests, Skills, and Earning Potential

Salary is an important consideration when choosing a career. Many STEM careers have high earning potential, but to maximize the chance that you’ll be satisfied with your career choice, take your interests and skills into account, too.

“Careers in STEM fields are always uplifted for their high-earning potential, and that’s really important to build your livelihood, but ideally you want to find a balance between your values, your work, and your skill set,” says Ashad-Bishop. “Taking the time to identify those things will help you identify what niche of STEM will be the best fit for you.”

Take a Variety of STEM Classes

Even as a first-semester freshman, you can start exploring STEM careers by taking a variety of STEM courses.

“Don’t be dissuaded from intro classes,” Aly says. “Find out the interesting applications related to ‘boring’ topics, since intro classes are grounding, and fun applications aren’t always discussed or explored in them.”

Lab courses can be of particular importance.

“Don’t shy away from taking away laboratory-based STEM courses in your first year,” says Runne-Janczy. “Lectures play a key role in learning STEM topics, but laboratories are where students can really see these topics come alive, and realize that science is accessible to all.”

In addition to considering intro and lab courses, think about taking a STEM course outside your major. 

“I encourage students to take STEM courses inside and outside their declared major to see if anything piques their interest,” Yauch says. “A semester is a short obligation to try something new without fully committing to a major or career outside of school.”

Get Hands-On STEM Experience Outside of Class

Coursework can help you gauge your interest in a subject, but hands-on experience can provide a fuller picture of how you might apply what you learn in your courses to a career.

“As much as possible I would advise you to get hands-on experience in the form of internships, co-ops, or volunteer work in the area you are interested in,” Yauch says. “Not only will you get a chance to ‘try it before you buy it,’ but the experience will look great on your resume.”

Hands-on experience goes beyond internships, though. “While it may seem overwhelming, joining a variety of STEM clubs, academic channels, competitions, and more can really ignite passions for STEM,” says Edward Kim, vice president of education and training at Code Ninjas.

“Students need to take their learning and actually try to apply it in other settings to see if there is a fit and match for that field.” 

>>MORE: Try out different STEM careers with job simulations on Forage that you can add to your resume.

Job shadowing can also be a viable way to build experience. 

“I’ve had students be successful at getting placed in a lab just by emailing the faculty supervisor and asking if they can shadow them for a semester,” Aly says. “This gets your foot in the door and gives you a chance to learn if the project is interesting to you without making a significant dedication. Often, students who shadow in a lab will be offered internships or other opportunities first.”

Challenge Your Preconceived Ideas About STEM Careers

Not everyone working in STEM careers spends their days wearing a lab coat and inspecting test tubes of colored liquid. Similarly, not every STEM career fits common characterizations of the field.

For example, STEM careers require collaboration skills, in contrast to the stereotype that scientists are introverted and isolated.

“It is a myth that STEM jobs are for loners,” Aly says. “Oftentimes jobs in STEM are large, cooperative endeavors with multiple moving parts. You have to be willing and able to work well in a group to be successful in STEM.”

In addition, STEM careers exist in industries outside of the top ones you might expect. 

“STEM roles span all industries — to me, that’s the most magical part,” Tasker says.

“You can have a career in fashion, gaming, banking, and everything in between. There is a role for every passion.” 

>>MORE: Read about jobs of the future and the skills you need to land them.

Jenna Bellassai is the Lead Data Reporter at Forage. She previously was a Senior Data Scientist at Guru, where she transformed and analyzed data to improve search ranking algorithms.

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