By Steph Francis


The theme of this year’s STEM week is time. Time is central to an enormous number of scientific research and discoveries, from the time needed for penicillin to grow through to the movement of celestial bodies in the universe. Time is also central to this blog post because we want you to think about whether it’s time to consider a STEM career (hint: yes)!

Below, we have listed 5 careers in STEM, some that you will definitely have heard of and some that may surprise you. There are so many jobs in STEM that we just want to give you a taster so you can go and really explore all the options. We’ve given you a quick summary of what they involve and how to get in to them:


  1. Doctor – Almost certainly a job you’ve heard of and will feel like you have some knowledge of. This could be the job for you if you want to help people and have an interest in science. It is seen to be one of the most rewarding jobs you can do and there will always be a need for doctors, so it is a safe career choice in that regard too. Although your day-to-day activities as a doctor will vary depending on your specialism as a doctor, your duties will include diagnosing ailments or injuries; working out treatment plans; treating ailments or injuries (through anything from prescriptions to surgeries); and monitoring patients’ recoveries.

The path to becoming a fully qualified doctor is a long one. You will first need to apply to, and be accepted at, a medical school (this is a slightly more in-depth process than a lot of university applications so it’s worth getting support from your careers advisor early). You will then need to complete a medical degree (which takes 5 years). You then enter a two-year foundation programme and receive a full license to practice at the end of year 1 (you get a provisional licence at the beginning of year 1). After that, it will take 8 to 10 years for you to reach consultant level in your chosen specialism.


  1. Fragrance Chemist – You’ve probably spritzed on perfume, aftershave or body spray at some point or another and haven’t given a second thought to how that smell comes together. Rather than being created by the fashion designer whose name is on it simply shouting the names of things they like the smell of, fragrances are actually carefully created by scientists. You could find yourself working for a major development lab, a specific high street brand or a high-end cosmetics and fragrance brand.

To take your first steps on this career path, you will need to start by gaining a degree in a science such as chemistry, chemical engineering, or pharmaceutical science. You will then need to gain work experience as a laboratory technician (graduate roles are often available in the larger commercial labs or in the labs of universities themselves so it is worth speaking to staff as you are approaching graduation). You will also need to start developing a network of other people within your field as this will help increase the likelihood of you being able to find a role as a fragrance chemist specifically. It isn’t a requirement to have a MSc or PhD; however, some employers may prefer it as you will have learned a lot of the regulatory and safety details you would need to otherwise be taught when you start.


  1. Cybersecurity Analyst – This is a fantastic job for people who are interested in IT and how we keep information safe and secure. As a cybersecurity analyst, some of your responsibilities could include reviewing the security a company already has, implementing new systems, analysing the effectiveness of new systems, and troubleshooting as issues emerge with existing systems. You could work in house for a larger company or for an independent cybersecurity firm who are hired by various companies to support them.

For a job as a cybersecurity analyst, you will need to gain a degree in a relevant subject such as computer science, network administration, database management or cloud computing. You will then need to earn a NCSC (National Cyber Security Centre) certificate by completing a series of training programmes. There are an array of additional certifications you can earn to demonstrate your ability to perform specific activities as a Cyber Security Analyst (such as being a Certified Ethical Hacker!) You will also want to gain some relevant work experience to help with your career journey. Whilst not all companies will expect you to have a relevant Masters Degree or Doctorate, many will so it is worth exploring Graduate Degree options, giving consideration to what area you wish to specialise in.


  1. Medical AI Scientist – If you are interested in both technology and medicine, this could be the job for you. A medical AI scientist is a specialised type of medical scientist who explores how AI (artificial intelligence) can be used to aid treatments for diseases or support with other medical processes/procedures. They will generally have a specific area they have specialised in such as reproductive health or cardiovascular. In terms of places that you may work in this role, it could be the NHS, private health organisations, universities or research organisations.

To become a medical AI scientist, you will need, as a minimum, a degree in a relevant subject such as genetics, medical microbiology, biomedical science or physiology. Generally, people that enter this field are also working towards a MSc/PhD in a relevant field too. Employers will also look for significant lab experience which can be gained via a year in industry whilst studying or work experience during breaks in study (this may be available in the labs of the university you are studying at).


  1. Meteorologist – You may know this job best as the warmly smiling weather presenter telling you we’re in for another rainy day but there are far more meteorologists than just the ones on camera. You could work as a forecaster, using predictive modelling and forecasting to try and anticipate what weather will be like over the coming days, or you could work as a researcher, looking at long term data sets and studying data on things such as climate change in order to improve the accuracy of the work the forecasters do. In terms of place you could work, it could be that you go to work for the Met Office, insurers, the oil and gas industry, or a research institute.

To get into this field, you will need a degree in mathematics, science or something related (like geography). You can find volunteering or internship roles to help you gain experience. The Met Office offer a traineeship with their Forecasting and Observation course (this is highly competitive).