Four questions about STEM careers answered by Google employees
Improving digital skills, entrepreneurship, and interest in a STEM career has been a priority for the European Union, especially since the COVID pandemic when life essentially went online. The bloc sees investment in education as one of the best ways to promote a STEM career. One crucial aspect remains: how do we prepare teachers to integrate Computer Science, and other STEM subjects, into their classroom?
The 2020 Digital Economy and Society Index found that Europe’s population is at a great disadvantage when it comes to digital skills. To promote an uptake in STEM careers, the Commission introduced the European Skills Agenda and the Youth Employment Support Package.
In the legislation, the Commission identified three aims to tackle to the “STEM” shortage issue: “increasing STEM graduates in the EU, helping to address the shortage of STEM teachers and promoting an integrated framework and learning continuum inter alia between secondary and higher education systems”.
European Schoolnet Academy and Google are teaming up to do their part in addressing the STEM shortage by putting on the Computer Science: Educators’ Guide MOOC, starting 25 April. We talked to some Googlers to understand their background in the STEM field, how they got to Google and if they would change anything throughout their path.
Here’s what they had to say.
What made you choose a career in Computer Science?
“I did not particularly choose a software engineering career but rather the career chose me in a sense. It all started in middle school when I discovered I favoured mathematics, physics and computer science. During my high school years, I was fortunate to have an amazing computer science teacher who instilled a true passion in all of his students for this field”Andrea Stolero, Software Engineer at Google
“Already at university, my major subject was physics but I had computer science as a minor subject. In high school, I had two very different computer science teachers: one was fresh from university, always keeping up to date, and he was very motivated to teach us the latest applications in computer science. His classes were very popular because everything was colourful and modern”Tim Schuster, Research Analyst at Google
Is it important to teach about Computer Science, or STEM, in school? What about students who aren’t interested in a STEM career?
“It is important to teach Computer Science at school because we are all users of technology. Even when explained, technology can be misunderstood if the topic is completely foreign, just like physics or economics”Anna Goralska, Software Engineer at Google
“Yes, I think that with the ever-growing digitalization of the world, it is very important to have at least some knowledge of computer science, regardless of the careers which you are going to pursue. I would say not only does Computer Science improve your analytical skills but it also provides you with a good foundation to better use the tools of today and tomorrowVlad-Doru Ion, Software Engineer at Google
What personal and professional skills do you need for a career in STEM?
“In terms of professional skills, I think it’s very important to have a good analytical foundation. Generally, this means you have quite good skills in math as they translate very easily to computer science. In terms of personal skills, I believe it is very important to be able to be quick on your feet and be willing to always learn new things. Technology is one of the most fast paced professional domains out there. Being willing to always learn something new to keep up with the innovation will give you a massive advantage in the industry”Vlad-Doru Ion, Software Engineer at Google
“First, you need to grow your abstract thinking skills for math and algorithmics. Second, you need an ability to work in a team because not even the brightest, most hardworking person, makes only correct choices or is faster than a team of bright individuals”Anna Goralska, Software Engineer at Google
Would you change anything about your career path?
“If I had to do it again, I would definitely follow the same path with one minor adjustment. That being, having more confidence in myself from the beginning”Andrea Stolero, Software Engineer at Google
You’re still on time to join us for our Computer Science: Educators’ Guide MOOC, starting 25 April. Get inspiration on how you can inspire your students to seek a career in STEM.
Computer Science: Educators’ Guide
This course offers strategies for educators who want to implement Computer Science activities in their classroom and learn how to promote Computer Science as a career path. The course starts on 25 April.