Scientists and engineers imagine the future and turn it into reality.

Most people don’t think of those working in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics careers as adventurers and explorers, but they’re wrong. In their heads, these high-tech workers are boldly going where no one has gone before. From the iPod in your pocket, to the personal computers in the school library, the things they discover and invent transform the way we live, work, and play.

Texas is Terrific.

Texas is a terrific place to be if you’re interested in a science and technology career. According to the Texas Healthcare and Bioscience Institute, Texas boasts the third-largest number of scientists and engineers in the United States. There’s plenty of room for talented new minds, too. Texas had more than 450,000 jobs in the professional, scientific, and technical services fields in 2006, and the Texas Workforce Commission expects jobs in the sector to leap by 24% by 2016, well above the growth rate for all jobs in Texas. Jonathan Startin, manager of the Trans-Texas Corridor construction project for Halcrow, Inc., says the future is particularly bright for engineers who design our roads, rail systems, and bridges—the infrastructure we need to move people and goods.

Focus on the Future.

“People who succeed in this cluster generally have a strong attention to detail,” says Hansen. “After all, get one letter wrong in chemistry and instead of aluminum—Al—you could end up with arsenic—As. That could be a pretty serious mistake.”

“The ability to focus is absolutely crucial,” agrees Jeff Moehlenbruck, a director of research and development for Austin-based Zimmer Orthobiologics, a worldwide leader in development of hip replacements. “With so much information coming from so many sources,” he adds, “it’s really critical that you be a hard worker and stay on top of the information.”

To succeed in this cluster, you have to have a talent for math and science, but Hansen says some students, particularly women and minorities, tend to give up on science careers too early. “Many of these students,” he says, “who would be excellent scientists or engineers, preselect themselves out of these futures because they haven’t done well in precollege science and math classes.” So if you haven’t excelled in math and science so far, don’t assume you can never be successful.

Communication and Creativity

Because teamwork is critical in technical fields, communication skills can be as important as math and science. “I always look for good team players,” says Startin. “Roads are not built quickly or by one person working alone.”

“Learning how to read, write, and speak English well is essential,” says Moehlenbruck. Creativity, too, is a plus. To make a difference in science and technology, you have to be able to create or design new and different approaches to problems.

Michael Dell, chairman of Dell Inc., based in Round Rock, became a billionaire by understanding the big picture and tackling challenges creatively. “It’s through curiosity and looking at opportunities in new ways that we’ve always mapped our path at Dell,” he has said in media interviews. “There’s always an opportunity to make a difference.”


Is Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics the right cluster for you?

Take this quiz to find out. Answer “yes” or “no” to the following /> 1. Do you like to tinker with cars or small appliances?
2. Are you interested in insects, snakes, frogs, or other animals?
3. Do you like team sports?
4. Do you like working with computers?
5. Do you like visiting museums?
6. Do you get good grades in math?
7. Do you read scientific or technical magazines?
8. Do you enjoy working on crossword puzzles? 9. Are you good at building things from scratch?
10. Does it bother you when people aren’t accurate and precise?

Achieve Texas – In Action