However, I don’t blame you for thinking the way you do: you most likely grew up during the Cold War era where the military-industrial complex funneled millions upon millions to weaponize STEM curriculum and create an educational system that prioritized STEM over humanities.
Full stop. This is a narrative not based in fact.
The movement to prioritize STEM careers over liberal arts did indeed begin in the Cold War era, but that fact was not causal to the prioritization (or, at least, it was a minor contributor but not primary).
The 1960’s was the decade when numeric control machines became generally available even to moderate sized manufacturing companies. Prior to that, only the largest manufacturers (GM, Ford, Boeing) could afford to automate manufacturing processes. However, at the end of the 60’s, manufacturing automation was well underway, and if you wanted to be competitive, you damn well better have one.
This kicked off a need for programmers and a completely new type of engineer, and launched growth in STE (leave out the M for the moment) careers, which has grown since, with very specific “tipping points”, each of which fueled the need for even MORE STE careers:
- 70’s: The development of minicomputers, which gave users an alternative to the large mainframe.
- Late 70’s: Personal computer, which took technology out of the “computer room” and put it in front of, well, everybody. This moved us off of COBOL and FORTRAN and into BASIC and kicked off object-oriented programming. Sun Micro and others extended the desktop concept into workstation computing.
- 90’s: Client-server computing. ARPAnet was moved into the public sector and mutated into the World Wide Web.
- 2000;s: E Commerce and web-based applications.
- 2010: Social Networking.
In the 60’s, only a tiny % of the population worked in anything computer related; now……well, not tiny. And not driven by the military.
The “M” in STEM, of course, is driven by the aging population, who require those services.
Telling a poor child that they should orient their life around making money is disingenuous advice
Hm. Sounds like a logic trap, there. You can advise them to orient their life however you like, but having sufficient funds are a part of life fulfillment.
At any rate, I PERSONALLY (and I have a daughter who goes to university next year) would advise her to choose something she likes which also pays the bills and has a good future outlook. And when you look at this list from the BLS….
Fastest Growing Occupations : Occupational Outlook Handbook: : U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
20 occupations with the highest percent change of employment between 2016-26.
You see that 17 of the occupations with the fastest projected growth rate are STEM, and the ones that aren’t don’t pay squat. And if you look at the list of highest PAID professions….
Highest Paying Occupations : Occupational Outlook Handbook: : U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
List of Highest Paying Occupations.
It’s almost all Medical. So, those two links explain why STEM is so highly emphasized these days, not “because somebody was raised during the Cold War.”
I am going into humanities as a profession…
Well, good for you, although if you were my kid, I’d tell you to take out your own loans and don’t expect a dime from me. My ADVICE would be, if my daughter wanted to go into the humanities, would be a double major; humanities courses are not all that much work compared to STEM, and if you have to take electives anyway, may as well structure those electives around a second major. For example, a person who gets off to altruistic activities helping others (I think that description applies to most activists) might do just fine as an on-call nurse who works 20 hours a week (but gets paid for 40, due to the ad-hoc nature of the job) giving them plenty of time for everything else they want to do.
In life, it is never a bad thing to give yourself options.
The sciences are uninteresting to me and don’t fulfill me whatsoever.
They’re kind of boring to me as well, although I’ve made my living (since the Cold War days) in computer technology and data science. However, “sciences” are very broad, and it’s hard to imagine that any human couldn’t find some fulfillment in some branch of them, someplace, preferably one that pays the bills. Again, it doesn’t have to be a choice between “poverty and fulfillment” and “boredom and wealth”; that’s a false choice.