In the past decade, we’ve seen something of a STEM renaissance. Parents and educators have science, technology, engineering and mathematics on their radars in a big way. While some dismiss STEM as another buzzword, we feel like there’s a sense of excitement behind it, that this is building into better opportunities for our children. Here’s a forward look at the next decade in STEM.

STEM will continue to matter … a lot:Look into the tea leaves, and it’s clear that a lot of future job growth will be related to STEM. By the time your child graduates and enters the workforce, they’ll be looking at jobs that may not even exist yet! As we blogged earlier, the U.S. will have nearly 1 million computer-related jobs and nearly half a million engineering jobs to fill. Because these jobs require a college degree, mastery of the core concepts in school will be critical to laddering up.

More activities:Maybe you’ve seen an online fundraiser for a school to acquire a 3-D printer for an after-school club, or passed a maker space at your local library or saw an ad for a STEM weekend activity at the local museum. As parents, educators and leaders continue to build and add STEM infrastructure, it just means more kids will have more opportunities to learn and have enriched experiences outside of school settings. Expect the momentum will continue, as more educators, businesses and other stakeholders will continue adding programs, tools and spaces devoted to STEM learning.

Growing interest in computer science:Computer coding as an extracurricular activity has seen something of a status change and its popularity has soared. Back in 2007, a mere 20,041 students took an Advanced Placement (AP) computer science test. Thanks to new options added — and a growing interest in STEM — the number of AP computer science test takers has skyrocketed to a whopping 103,797 students. In the next decade, look for higher numbers, which is sure to lead to greater opportunities for students from multiple backgrounds to pursue computer science in college.

Time for traction?One thing that’s driving the call for better STEM opportunities is the basic fact that for some time, American kids have fallen behind other nations in math and science. With another decade pushing for better STEM, and enriched STEM-based activities becoming widely available, we’re holding out hope these efforts will start showing up in meaningful ways, especially test scores. As kids develop and master these core skills, that leads to better opportunities. Which is why another benchmark to watch is college enrollment rates — important because most STEM careers require at least some post-secondary education.

Ready to run toward the future:So many new and exciting kinds of technology are getting some serious buzz, and as it develops and becomes more efficient to make, things like wearable technology, smart devices, gamification of training and virtual assistants will become more affordable and more integrated at schools and workplaces. What does this mean for young people? They’ll catch the vision, and want to be a part of it. Living in exciting innovative times will fuel their inspiration to pursue STEM careers!

As Bricks 4 Kidz celebrates 10 years, we also celebrate 10 years of being a big player in the STEM movement — and we’re excited about what the next decade will bring. Discover a fun and enriching activity in your community and sign up today.