From Andrea Kay:
Let’s hear from those with degrees in the liberal arts and tell us what you are doing these days…
Of all the non-useful things people believe, have no proof of but perpetuate, I’d like to put one to rest:
“You can’t do anything with” (fill in the blank) an English degree, a degree in philosophy or anything in the general vicinity of the humanities or social sciences.
But that belief is just false, false, false — especially today.
How can that be? With the cry for skilled workers in science, technology, engineering and math, you would think that people only with those degrees can find jobs.
Like most things in this world, the job market is not that simple.
First, let me point out that a lot of successful people with degrees in English and philosophy have had or are having terrific careers…
Many people who study language or philosophy learn practical skills that can be used in the real world. They learn to analyze and understand complex information, how to write persuasive, comprehensive arguments and how to think.
In my new book about what employers are looking for today, every employer I talked to said the same thing.
Yes, some are seeking particular technical skills. But what they want most are people who can think critically, know how to listen, and be open to other points of view.
This is how innovative ideas and products get hatched.
If you look at people with degrees in social sciences, which typically focus on society and human nature, you’ll see that their education, too, can be quite useful in the job market….Anthropologists, who also are skilled in critical thinking, work for places like Intel, IBM, Microsoft and research firms, and according to the Bureau of Occupational Outlook, have a rosy 21% growth rate through 2020.
If you’re getting ready to look for a job or considering what to study, don’t be deterred by simplistic or outdated perceptions about what’s practical in today’s marketplace.
When someone asks, “What will you do with a degree in English, philosophy or anthropology?” brag about the great training you got that can apply to the real world.
What employers want above all are people who can think critically.
And from what they tell me, those people are not so easy to find.