Last week, I had the opportunity to discuss the importance of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) education at a Women’s Symposium at the University of Louisiana – Monroe, my alma mater. I’m always proud to share my experience in STEM and how it set the stage for my career in information technology and telecommunications.
There’s no denying the importance of STEM in today’s economy. According to the National Science Foundation, “In the 21st century, scientific and technological innovations have become increasingly important as we face the benefits and challenges of both globalization and a knowledge-based economy. To succeed in this new information-based and highly technological society, students need to develop their capabilities in STEM to levels much beyond what was considered acceptable in the past.”
This is an exciting time for men and women with STEM backgrounds. The digital economy in which we live is driving a need for advanced technical skills and knowledge. Technological advances are allowing consumers to do things we only imagined not so long ago. People can now turn on a home security system, turn off house lights or watch a high-definition movie – all from the convenience of their smartphones. Technology and consumer demand are constantly changing and evolving, which is why it’s critical to stay current with the latest in engineering, programming and product development.
The way companies are using technology to connect with customers is also changing. We’ve seen a shift toward software-defined networking, network functions virtualization and the cloud. These technologies provide more opportunities for automation, virtualization and self-service capabilities, which customers not only want but are demanding.
STEM literacy will help deliver the next generation of science, technology, engineering and math professionals, which is important not only to telecom, but to all industries. If you’re a young person who is passionate about a STEM discipline, pursue a career in that area. If you’re a business professional, find an opportunity to support a STEM program in your local community. Introducing our young children and current students to STEM opportunities and encouraging them to pursue advanced schooling in these areas is essential to meet the future demands of our ever-changing and increasing complex world.
CenturyLink continues to hire employees all over the world with STEM backgrounds. Please visit www.centurylink.com/careers for information regarding career opportunities at CenturyLink.
Maxine Moreau is Executive Vice President of Global Operations at CenturyLink, a global communications, hosting, cloud and IT services company enabling millions of customers to transform their businesses and their lives through innovative technology solutions.