How Important Are Internships (In The Scientific Field)
Students who are working towards earning degrees in STEM specialties could potentially find themselves fielding numerous job offers post-graduation since the demand exceeds the supply.
STEM is actually an acronym that stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and those four specialities certainly cover a lot of ground as far as job possibilities are concerned.
According to an inGenious study focusing on priorities for STEM education and careers in Europe, there are shortages across the continent. The report finds, among other things, the following:
- Germany (2012): Shortage of 200,000 STEM graduates (mostly engineers)
- Netherlands (2011-2016): Shortage of 25,000 annually in graduates with technical skills
- Switzerland (2009): Only 2,000 candidates for 16,000 jobs
Another study paints a starker picture of the state of STEM in Europe. The report explains that in the majority of European nations, the interest in STEM specialties is dropping, which is leading to reduced levels of enrollment into STEM-related studies and STEM careers. And this in turn is posing a substantial challenge for future competitiveness of European nations on the world stage.
For students interested in careers with good job prospects, the STEM specialities present ample opportunities. That said, the fact that there will be lots of jobs available does not take away from the fact the employers will be looking for candidates with the right mix of skills. And one way that graduates can acquire the skills they need is by getting one or more internships under their belts.
What follows is a brief explanation about the importance of internships in the scientific field.
Importance of Internships
According to ICEF Monitor, which looks at STEM issues in the U.K. and the U.S., internships are not just value-added bonuses that help to pad a resume. They are a game-changer.
The report cites an expert who says that internships are more and more being viewed as must-haves rather than nice-to-haves. Meanwhile, the expert continues by saying that work experience via an internship is no longer being looked at as optional for students in post-secondary schools. It is, rather, being viewed as a necessary part of getting ready for the job market post-graduation. The expert says that students who concentrate solely on their degree studies, without participating in an internship or other opportunities to get workplace experience, will probably fail to acquire the skills and abilities that employers are seeking in candidates.
Another reason why internships are important is that students not only get the chance to gain experience and to see if they really want to start their career in a STEM speciality, but also potentially receive a job offer from the same companies they intern at. On the one hand, internships provide students with a chance to demonstrate their skills, their adaptability, and their capacity to work well in a stressful environment. On the other hand, they provide employers with the opportunity to see whether or not students are the skills they want in potential job candidates.
So while graduates with degrees in the STEM specialties stand to have plenty of jobs to choose from, this doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t do everything they can to impress employers. Getting a good education in a STEM field — as well as perhaps furthering your studies by going to a reputable business school — and doing an internship can help.
Article written by: Vera Marie Reed, a freelance writer living in Glendale, California. This mother of two specializes in education and parenting content. When she’s not delivering expert advice, you can find her reading, writing, arts, going to museums and doing craft projects with her children.
Tags: Employability, graduate, Internship, Job, Students