Science & Technology in Action

14th Edition

Skill sets for jobs in STEM

Boston Scientific

Skills are abilities that are developed by experience and practice. The term ‘skill set’ refers to the combination of skills needed to do a particular job well. The following skills are generally considered to be essential today: literacy, numeracy, relevant ICT, interpersonal skills, the ability to work as part of a team and dependability.
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Lesson excerpt

What is a skill?

In general a skill is an ability that is developed by experience or practice. For example, reading and writing are skills that we begin to acquire at an early age, but we can still develop them further. Becoming a skilled pilot, engineer, project manager, communicator etc. also involves acquiring some essential knowledge and understanding. In the case of a neuro-surgeon, for example, this learning may take many years. Eventually the integration of the knowledge and skill becomes almost automatic.

What is a skill set?

The term ‘skill set’ refers to the combination of skills needed to do a particular job well. For example, a musician in an orchestra would need:

    • a high level of profi ciency in playing a musical instrument

    • the ability to read music at speed

    • the ability to follow the conductor and accept correction

    • the ability to work as part of a team

    • self-discipline and perseverance

    • reliability and flexibility to work irregular hours.

Whether a person is a research scientist, a football manager or an astronaut, a particular skill set is necessary for success.

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True or False?

  1. A skill is an ability that that you are born with. false
  2. Being a skilled person requires knowledge and understanding. true
  3. The combination of skills needed to do a particular job well is called a skill set. true
  4. Skills are developed by learning about them. false
  5. Technical skills are also known as hard skills. true
  6. Soft skills, such as integrity, are not easy to measure. true
  7. ‘STEM’ stands for ‘science, technology, electronics and mathematics’. false
  8. Analysing, evaluating and creating are ‘higher order thinking skills’. true
  9. Understanding means recalling facts or information. false
  10. Interpersonal skills are usually essential for jobs in STEM areas. true