Liberal arts majors and graduates, listen up: don’t let anyone tell you that your liberal arts degree lacks direction! There has been many a joke cracked about the value of a liberal arts degree in the working world, but according to a recent study by LinkedIn, liberal arts does have a place in the job market: especially, lately, in tech.
In fact, Forbes recently called the liberal arts degree “tech’s hottest ticket.” According to the article, “throughout the major U.S. tech hubs… software companies are discovering that liberal arts thinking makes [candidates] stronger.” This is most likely due to the variety of soft skills liberal arts students learn, which are becoming increasingly important in the tech industry.
But to start a career in tech, you’ll be best-equipped with the technical skills earned with a computer science degree, right? Maybe not. Consider this: LinkedIn’s study showed that “between 2010 and 2013, the growth of liberal arts majors entering the technology industry from undergrad outpaced that of computer science and engineering majors by 10%. Internet or software companies are especially popular—38% of all recent liberal arts grads in tech currently work in this space.”
Within the technology space, the first two top-held roles by liberal arts majors are perhaps to be expected—salesperson (11.8%) and marketing specialist (5.2%). However, the third-most popular job for liberal arts graduates in the tech space is that of software developer, with 3.5% of these professionals going into that field. Also on LinkedIn’s top 10 are IT support specialist, consultant, and business/corporate strategist.
Of course, prior work experience helps, so temporary work is a great way to get your foot in the door both before and after receiving your degree. Companies are more likely to invest in a new grad or someone without prior industry experience for a short-term trial role than for a long-term position—and, in some cases, will take on temporary talent full-time if they feel they are a strong fit for the role. Should you try out temporary work and not land an extension on any of your assignments, this is still great experience to bulk up your resume with and sharpen your skills for future opportunities.
Even if you aren’t looking to go into IT specifically, it’s still necessary for liberal arts candidates currently in the job market to keep their tech skills sharp. Not only are technology companies pulling in liberal arts-educated talent for IT-specific positions, employers across industries are looking for more tech-savvy talent in general, from healthcare facilities to financial institutions. Times are changing and companies expect candidates to adapt to these changes.
Whatever field you put your degree to use in, it’s important to make a great first impression. For further reading, check out our article on making the most of your orientation period in a new job.