While many people are interested in pursuing a career in STEM, a lot of them don’t feel super familiar with the career options in the field. 

According to a study based on 14,000 interviews conducted by IBM and Morning Consult, 40% of respondents stated they don’t know where to start to make this career change. 

More than half of the respondents said they were not aware of the careers that would be considered STEM, and 62% had concerns about finding a job that pays enough to support themselves or their families. 

In addition, 61% don’t think they are qualified for roles in STEM because they don’t have the right academic degrees.

About the same number (60%) fear that obtaining digital credentials would be too costly. However, of those who have obtained digital credentials, 86% said that the education helped them meet their career goals. 

“Technology training can have a transformational effect on a person’s life,” said Justina Nixon-Saintil, chief impact officer at IBM. “There are many misconceptions about what’s needed to pursue a rewarding and lucrative career in today’s rapidly advancing workplace. This is why we must raise awareness of the breadth of science and technology roles that exist across industries.”

Despite initial hesitations, the results of the study do show that people are planning for the future. Sixty-one percent of respondents plan to seek out a new job within the next year, and 80% have plans to build upon their skills in the next two years.

More than 90% of the respondents seemed confident in their ability to learn new skills in an online setting. 

To help aspiring technologists overcome some of these misconceptions, IBM is partnering with 45 new educational partners as part of its SkillsBuild program, and includes organizations that focus on underrepresented groups in tech, such as mothers returning to the workforce, ethnic minorities, low-income individuals, and refugees.

The educational partners span many countries, and the ones in the US include CompTIA,   Digital Promise, Franklin Apprenticeships, HDG University,  ITExperience, Junior Achievement of Arizona, Mom Relaunch, RISE — The Mom Project, The Wond’ry at Vanderbilt University, Transition Overwatch, and University of the Cumberlands.