Monday 11 December 2017

Is STEM for you?

Often, the hardest part of deciding on a career path is knowing exactly what you're good at. This diagram could help, writes Katherine Donnelly

World of Work diagram
World of Work diagram
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

MANY second-level students are very clear in their minds about exactly what they want to do after school – and the answer is often a definite Yes to, for example, the STEM (science, technology engineering or maths) subjects – although they still may have to narrow their course choice down.

Others believe they are better suited to an entirely different path.

Some are torn, or may not be sure they have the aptitude to pursue third-level study in the STEM disciplines. Often, students with an interest in, and natural talent for such areas may not be aware of how or where to channel it and need support in choosing the most appropriate course.

The reality is that most people have a combination of interests and attitudes, which, when matched with the characteristics of different work environments, will determine the type of career where they are most likely to feel most at home.

The website,, helps individuals to assess their strengths and then guides them in their choice of study and occupation.

It offers an online test allowing individuals to create a personal Interest Profile.

Its World of Work diagram then allows people to see the connections between the activities they like and possible career areas.

The Interest Profiler is based on eight categories:


Activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions, often dealing with real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many occupations require working outdoors.


Working with data and details more than ideas and people. Like clear routines and instructions, and enjoy checking facts and figures.

Enterprising, Starting up and carrying out projects

Can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk-taking and often deal with business.


Working with, communicating with, and teaching people. Often involves helping or providing service to others.


Working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. Can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.


Working with forms, designs and patterns. Often requires self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.


Work involving the creation and exchange of information through writing, electronic media or the spoken word. Prefer unstructured environments where there is time to use their imagination and to compose their thoughts.


Work that involves 'doing' something with 'organic things', ie, plants, animals and their produce. Like realists, naturalists enjoy a hands-on approach, and like to see tangible results.

The STEM areas are mostly in the upper left section of the diagram spanning the investigative, realistic and naturalist categories.

It is worth noting though that a lot of the jobs in IT would be classified with creative, administrative and enterprising as a number one interest type.

Irish Independent

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