A liberal arts college prides itself on producing a well-rounded student, someone who is curious and excited about learning outside of their comfort zone. As a product of liberal arts education, obviously I am partial to this approach to learning.
According to a number of tech companies, employees with liberal arts degrees are actually preferred. Fast Company noted that this is so because “the liberal arts train students to thrive in subjectivity and ambiguity, a necessary skill in the tech world where few things are black and white.”This is not to say that students measuring in STEM fields aren’t valued, it’s that a liberal arts degree holds just as much value in the tech industry. Ergo, a liberal arts degree should definitely not be labelled “useless.” The tech industry thrives on individuals taking risks and thinking outside the box. What would our world be like without “unicorn” startups like Slack and OpenTable, both of which are the brainchildren of liberal arts degree-holders? Answer: much less efficient, and probably worse off!
With the unpredictable nature of the tech industry, and its history of reinventing the wheel a hundred times over, it makes sense that flexible and creative minds would be incredibly valuable. Even Steve Jobs, a quintessential figure of wheel reinvention, proposed that Apple must give credit to the humanities and liberal arts. “We're not just a tech company, even though we invent some of the highest technology products in the world," he stated in a keynote presentation, “It's the marriage of that plus the humanities and the liberal arts that distinguishes Apple."
This philosophy that embraces innovation is the same philosophy that liberal arts incorporates into its mission. Tech companies need people who can think outside of the box, and liberal arts breeds these types of thinkers. Fair warning: don’t write-off the liberal arts, especially in the tech industry where it may at first glance appear more intuitive to seek out those educated in STEM fields; instead use liberal arts gurus to your advantage!
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