Believe it or not, today’s liberal arts graduates are being hired by tech companies at a faster rate than their engineering and computer-science counterparts.
A recent study sampled liberal arts graduates from between 2010-2013 who are registered on LinkedIn—and up to two in five of these grads are now working in the tech industry.
You may not expect big-business jobs in the hands-on technology field to appeal to deep-thinking liberal arts grads, or vice versa, but there are plenty of well-documented reasons why modern tech companies choose to hire people with a liberal arts degree. Read on to learn four of these resons.
1. A Liberal Arts Education Provides Excellent Communication Skills
The first and most foundational reason liberal arts grads are finding success in technology is their mastery of interpersonal communication. If you’re considering studying at a liberal college, exchanging ideas in deep, open dialogues will be central to your experience.
A liberal arts education teaches you to communicate effectively with others.
Your ability to engage critically with information will make you an excellent team member, entrepreneur, creative mind, and forward thinker—what employers in the fast-paced tech industry are looking for.
2. Diversity Goes Hand in Hand with a Liberal Arts Education
A current hot topic in the tech world is diversity. Silicon Valley is primarily run by what industry insiders call “brogrammers:” young, white, heterosexual men. Liberal arts colleges on the other hand are alive with diversity, because they’re often mandated to accommodate and represent ideas and beliefs from across cultural spectrums.
President Obama himself has called on the tech industry to hire more people who are women and/or racially diverse into high-ranking tech jobs. He’s challenged major tech companies like Google to meet America’s true standards of diversity and equality. A diverse cross-section of liberal arts grads is just what they need to rise to the challenge.
3. Liberal Arts Graduates are Great Problem-Solvers
Humanities graduate and Carbonite employee Danielle Sheer believes her education helps her find solutions to complex problems in her tech company.
“By articulating complicated technical or strategic ideas in plain English, you’d be amazed at how much progress we’ve made solving problems," she says.
Shimer graduate Chris Vaughn uses his broadened perspective and problem-solving skills as the owner of an elite consulting firm. “Shimer for me was all about learning how to learn new things, and pulling lots of little things together to make sense,” he says. “I never solve the same problem twice.”
Put simply: people with a liberal arts education learn to solve problems by communicating well and seeing the bigger picture. They bring finely-tuned problem-solving skills to the tech-industry table by understanding the world around them as dynamic and complex.
4. A Liberal Arts Education Provides Student with Flexible Skills
As trends and forms of technology quickly become out-of-date, candidates with a liberal arts bachelor degree are becoming more valuable than some highly-specialized computer technicians, because of their range of skills and ability to think on their feet.
“My degree was supposed to make me qualified as a programmer,” computer science grad Casey Ark tells the Washington Post, “but by the time I left school, all of the software and programming languages I’d learned had been obsolete for years.”
“We are doing a disservice to young people by telling them that life is a straight path,” says higher education expert Georgia Nugent. “The liberal arts are more relevant because they prepare students to be flexible and adaptable to today’s changing circumstances."
Students at liberal arts colleges think in everything but a straight line. Their creativity, adaptability, diversity, critical thinking skills, and more are making today’s tech industry plug in and take notice.
Are you considering attending a liberal arts college in Chicago?
Visit Shimer for more information or to speak with an advisor.