As technology continues to influence every aspect of business, jobs in the tech sector will grow. Although IT pros should remain in high demand for years to come, tech companies are increasingly paying attention to another field of study: liberal arts.
Tech firms need people who can communicate clearly with their customers, organize information, present well-founded arguments and articulate complex concepts in plain English. A liberal arts degree can fit those needs, with a focus on interdisciplinary skills and subjects like writing, literature, music, art, psychology, economics and philosophy.
Non-Technical Positions at Tech Companies
Technology companies such as Facebook and Uber are recruiting liberal arts graduates to fill positions in sales, marketing, customer experience and training, according to an article in Forbes. These tech giants are looking for the broad depth of knowledge, critical thinking ability and fresh perspective that liberal arts majors offer. Whether candidates have tech experience is not always a factor in hiring – the ability to relate to others is more important.
Fast Company reported that technology firms prefer hiring employees with a liberal arts background because they add value by providing alternative viewpoints in the workplace. Interestingly, one-third of CEOs from Fortune 500 companies possess liberal arts degrees. In fact, liberal arts graduates occupy executive-level positions at tech companies like Ditto, MediaAlpha and Carbonite.
Employers Value Liberal Arts Education
A combination of field-specific knowledge and a broad range of skills can ensure long-term career success, according to a 2013 study from Hart Research Associates on behalf of the Association of American Colleges and Universities. The study found that 80% of employers agree that college students should acquire a strong foundational education in liberal arts and sciences, regardless of their major.
Employers appreciate the ability to think critically and creatively, solve problems collaboratively, conduct research and present findings. Tom Perrault, chief people officer at Rally Health, wrote in a Harvard Business Review article about four liberal arts skills he believes will be in demand down the road.
- Creativity – Thinking creatively can provide insights into what consumers want, how to solve their problems and meet their needs, and how to make technology more inviting.
- Empathy – Gaining insights into consumers’ thinking takes the ability to understand how they feel.
- Listening – Employees with listening skills not only hear and understand what is said, but they also gather meaning from what is not said.
- Vision – Employees with the ability to see hard data and apply subjectivity can comprehend ideas that computers simply cannot.
Additional skills such as communication and writing are developed in subjects such as psychology, art history, literature and sociology, which require a great deal of reading and writing. Whether you’re interested in joining Google or a start-up firm, you could be well-positioned to compete for a position in the technology field by completing a liberal arts degree program.