STEM Careers, Without A STEM Background | Alyssa J Freitas: STEM Careers, Without A STEM Background

December 6, 2017

STEM Careers, Without A STEM Background

Hey everyone! Today I'm sharing a guest post with you that I recently wrote for Katrina over at Yours Truly, Katrina. She has a series called #STEMBabes, providing guidance and advice for women in STEM, and I was so glad to contribute with this guest post. Make sure to head over to her blog to read the entire post :)

Click to read now or pin to save for later! Here's what it's like to have a STEM career, without a STEM background and how you can do it too!

College as a Non-STEM Major 

In college, way back in the day (note: I graduated in May 2017, nearly an eternity ago), I studied business with a speciality in professional sales. If you’re a STEM major, my course work most likely looked a lot different than yours. I spent my time learning how to ask the right questions to understand what clients need, how to lead a conversation and make recommendations, and all of my extracurricular time was spent traveling the country to compete in sales competitions. And I loved every second of it. But I knew that I wanted to be in technology, despite my lack of background in the field and taking geology to fulfill my science requirement because I heard it was a pretty straight forward course.

Using Your Skills for a Career in Technology, Without a STEM Background 

Yet here I am, working for IBM as a Client Relationship Representative, helping clients in the financial services industry achieve business goals by leveraging cognitive technology. Everyday I find myself learning more about how our technology works and the most valuable capabilities it provides. I am thoroughly obsessed with the results that technology can drive and the business improvements that our clients experience.

It’s challenging to be a non-technical person in a discussion about technological solutions, but what I’ve found to be key is the first word I used to describe myself: curious. If you’re like me and think technology is fascinating and you want to be in the field, but don’t know where to start, begin by being curious. Pick something (anything!) and learn more about it. Become familiar with terminology. Keep a running list of vocab and acronyms (mine gets longer everyday). Have your eyes open to spot patterns and trends that are relevant.

Being a client rep is the perfect combination of tech knowledge and sales skills that I could hope for! I have to understand our solutions to the extent that I can explain them to a client and help them see the possibilities of leveraging technology in their business. It is possible to find a job that will allow you to use technology to help others, even if it isn’t your background. Maybe you’ll be in sales like me, evangelizing new solutions and bringing them to businesses. Or perhaps you’ll find yourself as a technology journalist, narrating the latest developments.

To read the rest of the post, head over to Katrina's blog!


-AJF
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