The need for more STEM (that’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) skills seems to be on the agenda more and more these days. There is a strong feeling that the so called developed nations have depended too much on financial and other services to grow their economies and as a result “lost” their ability to design, develop and manufacture goods, largely because we are not producing enough STEM graduates to do this.Whilst I would see software as falling fairly and squarely into the STEM skillset (even if it is also used to underpin nearly all of the modern financial services industry) as this blog post by Jessica Benjamin from IBM points out STEM skills alone won’t solve the really hard problems that are out there. With respect to the particular problems around big data Jessica succinctly says:
All the skills it takes to tell a good story, to compose a complete orchestra, are the skills it takes to put the pieces of this big data world together. If data is just data until its information, what’s a lot of information without the thought and skill of pulling all the chords together?
The need for right as well as left brained thinkers for solving the worlds really, really hard business problems is something that has been recognised for some time now by several prominent business leaders. Indeed the intersection of technology (left-brained) and design (right-brained) has certainly played a part in a lot of what technology companies like IBM and Apple have been a part of and made them successful.
So we need not just STEM skills but STEM++ skills where the addition of “righty” skills like arts, humanities and design help us build not just a smarter world but one that is better to live in. For more on this check out my other (joint) blog The Versatilist Way.