Why writing skills are important for STEM students

Our scientists tell us time and time again that writing skills are essential for STEM students. Guest blogger Nicole Garrison from GrabMyEssay offers her top tips on how to improve your writing skills.

There is no doubt that the demand for STEM careers will keep growing in the upcoming years.

According to IDTech, STEM jobs are projected to grow by 13% between 2017 and 2027, compared to only 9% for non-STEM careers. Universities also expect the number of STEM students to increase in the upcoming years, as they have already started increasing student admission and are creating more scholarship opportunities for such students.

That being said, as a STEM student, you can expect rising competition in the field you’ll be working in. It’s highly likely that by the time you graduate, it will already get increasingly harder to get the job you want, even though the situation doesn’t seem as pressing right now.

What you have to start thinking about right now is your skillset, but not just the skills you need to do your job properly, but also soft skills, including written communication.

We’ll take a look at the reasons why writing skills are important for STEM students, as well as a few exercises you can do daily to improve your written communication abilities.

Reasons for improving writing skills

You’d be surprised in how many cases good writing skills can help you excel in your career. Here are just a few examples:

  • Writing clear annotations on code. When a new member joins a front-end team and joins the work on a project, clear code annotations and well-written bug reports can help them better understand the process.
  • Creating detailed reports. In coding, engineering, and other fields related to STEM, it is important to know how to write a comprehensive and detailed report that reflects the progress being made.
  • Improving critical thinking and problem-solving. These two skills are very important for STEM students and are also connected to writing. No matter what your job will end up being, there is a high chance that you will get tasks that require you to solve a problem and then explain your ideas in writing.
  • Communicating with investors. Many of tomorrow’s engineers and developers think about launching their own startup, which requires having a written communication skill on a very high level, as you’ll have to interact with investors and convince them to choose your venture to pour money into.
  • Interacting with peers. Professional communication at work often comes in the form of writing, and you will most likely have to send tons of emails and messages daily to your colleagues, explaining your ideas and thoughts. Having good written communication skills will help you make your professional communication more precise and help people understand you better.

It’s true that STEM students often ignore subjects connected to the arts and writing in particular. However, written communication is one of those abilities that is important for the success of any career, not just in engineering, coding, robotics, etc.

Marie Fincher, an assistant professor of Engineering, who’s also a contributing researcher and a writer at Classyessay, adds: “I always tell my students to take classes in writing if they want to have a meaningful career. After all, no matter how good of an idea you have, it’s pointless if you can’t communicate it correctly, including in writing.”

Indeed, STEM students have a lot of skills and practice to concentrate on. However, if you take a look at your curriculum, you’ll find that every subject involves some form of writing, whether it’s a research paper or a bug report for a coding task. So, even if you don’t have enough time to take additional writing courses, try to put more effort into the written assignments you have at school to maintain a good level of your writing skills.

How can STEM students practise writing?

Every college syllabus, including for STEM students, is designed for practising essential skills, including writing. But while you will end up having fairly good writing skills, very soon, you’ll find that they are not enough for a successful career.

So, with that in mind, we want to share a few exercises to improve your writing skills. You can do these tasks daily, and they won’t take much of your time, but the level of your written communication skills will be significantly better in the end.

1.    Make daily reports on your academic achievements

Every day, after your classes, make an effort and write down everything that you’ve learned during that day. Be specific – include details for every subject, use discipline-specific vocabulary, but also give your overall impressions of that day and draw a conclusion, how you think you can improve your knowledge.

How will this exercise help?

This daily activity will help you work up a structure for your writing and make it more streamlined. Besides, the use of discipline-specific vocabulary will help you solidify your knowledge.

2.    Proofread everything you write

Whether it’s a homework assignment, like an essay or a thesis, or an email to your professor, you need to proofread everything you write.

Proofreading not only involves editing but also helps improve readability. You can also involve online tools like TrustMyPaper, Grammarly, and TopEssayWriting to help you check yourself every time you’re editing your texts.

How will this exercise help?

With this activity, you will get into a habit of making your writing tidier. As a result, it will look more professional.

3.    Question copybook maxims

Take one thing that you’ve always believed to be true and try to write down some arguments against it. It can be something from the STEM field or just a universal truth that everybody knows. Try to make a point-by-point list, and draw a conclusion at the end.

How will this exercise help?

It will improve your critical thinking skills. You will also be able to see one problem from different sides, which will also help your problem-solving abilities.

Over to you

As you can see, a lot in the success of your future career depends not just on the skills directly related to your job, but soft skills as well.

STEM students often disregard writing, thinking that they already know well enough how to write thanks to their school assignments. However, professional communication is very different from essays and research papers.

So, get to writing as soon as you can. You can also use the daily exercises we shared with you. They will make your texts sound more professional and bring your writing skills to the next level.