careers that use STEAM skills

5 Fascinating Careers That Use STEAM Skills

By Matter and Form on December 6th, 2019

Given that many K-12 classroom curriculums still follow the traditional educational approach developed during the Industrial Revolution, it’s worth asking: do siloed classrooms, lectures on abstract concepts and repetitive memorization exercises still meet the learning needs of the current generation of students? Those practices may very well have been adequate during the 19th and early 20th centuries, but have we reached a point where we’re preparing students for a world that no longer exists?

One of the primary goals of K-12 schooling is to help students think clearly while providing the resources they need to build confidence in their intellectual abilities. It’s crucial for educators to keep pace with modern tools and resources that will set students up for success in both life and a rapidly-changing workforce. As a result, educators should:

  1. Embrace a hands-on, integrated, STEAM-centric curriculum that prioritizes an integrated approach to knowledge and problem-solving.
  2. Ensure that students are aware of — and excited by — the cutting-edge career options available through proper STEAM education.

The ultimate purpose of STEAM education is to develop understanding and confidence in the application of knowledge from different learning disciplines. By helping students develop these skills, educators can set them up for exciting, enriching futures. Read on to learn about five fascinating careers that use STEAM skills:

1. Architecture

Whether the space is public or private, indoors out outdoors, single-use or multi-use, architects are key contributors to the development of cities, towns and individual structures. They are licensed professionals trained in the science and art of building design who influence how individuals will engage with the space. Effective architecture determines much more than just about how a building looks — it also determines its structural stability, safety and overall functionality.

Architects conceive and help create structures by combining math, physics, engineering and art into their work. They use creative problem-solving skills to come up with designs that meet the needs of those who use the building every day. Architects incorporate STEAM skills into their work, constantly thinking of how design affects function so they can respond to logistical and aesthetic challenges. They would not be able to design a building properly without considering the technical, artistic and mathematical implications of every decision they make. In many ways, architecture is one of the clearest examples of how STEAM learning can come together in a single profession.

Median 2018 Salary: $79,380 USD per year1
Projected Employment Growth Rate (2018-2028): 8%

Similar Careers That Use STEAM Skills:

  • Civil Engineer
  • Industrial Designer
  • Interior Designer
careers that use STEAM skills

2. Video Game Design

These designers, coders and 3D modellers are the masterminds behind the addictive, innovative video games that captivate billions of gamers worldwide. No matter the title, there is a team of individuals who spend hours coding, designing and creating the storylines, characters and environments that gamers everywhere come to love. In many cases, the goal is to create storylines filled with unsolved problems and tensions that the protagonist can solve in various ways. This is especially true when you consider the very recent developments in open-world gaming. The architects of these massive environments use a combination of STEAM skills to successfully bring them to life. The expectations and the demand for highly immersive gaming experiences have never been higher. It’s all about bigger worlds, higher stakes, better graphics and more responsive gameplay.

Coding and mathematics are essential to every video game designer’s skill set. However, to come up with the proper coding sequence, they first need to conceptualize and design the visual aspects of the game. Understanding how design affects function, and exhaustive iterative testing are essential during this process. From the colour of the character’s hair and their facial expressions to their ultimate objectives and emotions, bringing these variables to life within the game would not be possible without a solid grasp of fundamental STEAM skills. In a rapidly-growing industry that’s undergoing an incredible transformation, video game design is an enticing, exciting future career option for young STEAM students.

Median 2018 Salary: $90,270 per year2
Projected Employment Growth Rate (2016-2026): 9.3%

Similar Careers That Use STEAM Skills:

  • Computer Programmer
  • Art Director
  • Animator
careers that use STEAM skills

3. Audio Engineering

Behind every amazing performer and sound recording, there is an equally amazing audio engineer. These professionals are essential contributors to any kind of live or recorded performance. Whether it’s planning the sound for an event, preparing sound plots or scripts, setting up microphones in the studio to optimize sound capture or ensuring all equipment is functioning properly, audio engineers use STEAM skills on a daily basis to succeed in their profession. An audio engineer uses physics, math, technology, and creativity to capture and transmit beautiful sound, design soundscapes and ensure the highest audio quality no matter the situation.

Audio engineers must be able to consistently identify and address equipment malfunctions with little to no downtime. On top of possessing a high level of technical competence, audio engineers require a good ear and an understanding of how to apply their creativity in such a way that it leads to the most affecting performance. This career path is perfect for students who show an affinity for creative expression and a refined ear, but who also show an interest in technology and engineering skills.

Median 2018 Salary: $52,390 USD per year3
Projected Employment Growth Rate (2016-2026): 6.5%

Similar Careers That Use STEAM Skills

  • Film and Video Editors
  • Sound Technicians
  • Audio-Visual Specialist

4. Graphic Design

Careers in graphic design continue to be in high demand. These designers are responsible for the striking, inspiring, persuasive visuals that populate the digital and physical spaces we see every day. Graphic designers must be competent with visual art to create unique and visually appealing designs. However, math is also an important component used every day throughout the design process.

For a design to look complete on a page, the designer must understand math concepts like symmetry, patterns, positive/negative space and sequencing. These concepts allow graphic designers to create optimal designs, as they have the ability to compare ratios and scale images up or down for different mediums.4 To succeed in a graphic design career, students must develop solid problem-solving skills, adaptive creativity, spatial awareness and technical literacy to design compelling work in various formats, often for a variety of different stakeholders.

Median 2018 Salary: $45,703 USD per year5
Projected Employment Growth Rate (2016-2016): 4.2%

Similar Careers That Use STEAM Skills:

  • Web developers
  • Fashion Designers
  • Advertising Manager
careers that use STEAM skills

5. App Development

It’s hard to ignore the fact that we are growing more reliant on mobile computing applications. Whether it’s your phone or tablet, you most likely arrived at this article via an app, while on a break from surfing through other apps. With the emergence of more and more apps for more and more devices, it is no surprise that there is a higher demand for app developers in many different industries. An app developer must comfortably draw from all the STEAM pillars to succeed in their career.

App development consists of designing functional, user-friendly, engaging, creative digital platforms that address a need, solve a problem or satisfy a want. Consequently, programming, design and math skills are some of the highest learning priorities for app developers. To create a fully-functional platform, they need to understand coding in various languages, as well as understand user experience design. In this context, a high level of creativity, iterative testing and problem-solving skills are needed to ensure that users interact positively with the app and continue to use it on a regular basis.

Median 2018 Salary: $103,805 USD per year6
Project Employment Growth Rate (2019-2029): 30.7%

Similar Careers That Use STEAM Skills:

  • Web Designer
  • Product Designer
  • Creative Technologist

The 3D Scanning Process Helps Students Prepare for Careers That Use STEAM Skills

To get students intrigued and actively interested in these fascinating careers, it helps to engage with STEAM from a young age. By incorporating STEAM tools such as the Matter and Form 3D Scanner into classrooms and curriculums, students learn and develop fundamental STEAM skills that they can use throughout their professional lives. The 3D scanning design process can:

  • Help to build technological literacy and understanding
  • Teach students how design affects functionality
  • Build hands-on technical skills
  • Engrain the value of trial, error, problem solving and iterative testing
  • Help students understand how to harness their creativity and innovate using technology



  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook – Architects
  2. CareerExplorer, Video Game Designer
  3. CareerExplorer, Audio Engineer
  4. Monster, 5 Essential Skills for Graphic Design
  5. CareerExplorer, Graphic Designer
  6. Dice, Mobile App Developer: What It Pays, and Best States for Jobs