There shouldn’t be a competition between STEM and liberal arts


Many students are probably aware of the age-old debate between STEM and the arts. But in all seriousness, does anyone even know what the debate is about?

Maybe it is about how STEM and liberal arts are on two opposite sides of the career spectrum. STEM students are more likely to want to work towards product-based careers whereas liberal arts majors tend to pursue people-based careers.

Maybe it is about the potential income of the job you can get with your degree.

According to CNBC, the degrees that led to the highest income in 2019 include a mix of engineering, management, economics and other STEM degrees. The highest-ranked degree, petroleum engineering, saw a median salary of $94,500 for employees with five years of experience or less and $176,900 for those with ten years or more. STEM careers are also projected to grow 13% by 2027, according to the Education Commission of the States.

However, The New York Times reported that liberal arts majors are more likely to enter the workforce with skills such as written communication, problem-solving and teamwork, all of which are valuable skills that allow these majors to secure a job in multiple fields.

But all of that aside, how did this battle even begin? Why does one degree have to be more valuable than the other?

Just because these two fields are different does not mean they have to compete with one another.

Liberal arts includes a variety of disciplines besides art. It includes the humanities and social sciences as well. All of these fields are important, and they help us understand the nature of human beings and how they fit in with the world around them.

Science, technology, engineering and math are equally important. They create new medicines. They build and develop the cell phones we use every day.

The world as we know it today would not exist without either of these, so there should not be any pressure to choose one over the other.

Personally, I never considered salary whenever I was deciding a major. I knew that I wanted to be a teacher, and I knew that I wanted to teach English at the high school level. After I made my decision, I never looked back.

I understand that, for some people, making money was the number one factor they considered when choosing a major. For others, they wanted job security. For me, I wanted to pursue something that I knew I would be good at and that I knew I would enjoy.

Whatever the reason for choosing a major, it should not turn into a competition. STEM jobs are on the rise, but the arts are not going anywhere.

I know that my career is going to make a difference. I have never felt any doubt about what I want to do, even if other people in my life have told me I should reconsider. I have always supported my friends who want to pursue the arts because I know that they will succeed. That is the career in which they were meant to be, and I would never discourage them from doing it.