Don’t Panic, Liberal Arts Majors. The Tech World Wants You.

From the New York Times – August 21, 2018

Surely one day the ability to interface directly with the nanomachinery connected to our brains will render computer science as we know it obsolete. When experts start arguing for its continued relevance, undergraduates choosing a major will begin to realize that the obscure art of manually punching arcane symbols into keyboards is no longer a safe bet. At the present moment, however, it is only liberal arts majors who have to wonder whether all of the articles and books promoting the marketability of their chosen discipline should make them more or less uneasy about the future…

According to both Anders and Stross, the ever-expanding tech sector is now producing career opportunities in fields — project management, recruitment, human relations, branding, data analysis, market research, design, fund-raising and sourcing, to name some — that specifically require the skills taught in the humanities. To thrive in these areas, one must be able to communicate effectively, read subtle social and emotional cues, make persuasive arguments, adapt quickly to fluid environments, interpret new forms of information while translating them into a compelling narrative and anticipate obstacles and opportunities before they arise….

[M]any academics dismiss the now widespread tendency to assess fields of study in terms of their marketability, viewing it as a sign of the American university’s capitulation to a corporatist, neoliberal ideology. The goal of the liberal arts, they would say, is to impart knowledge, promote the capacity for serious intellectual inquiry and encourage critical perspectives on prevailing norms and assumptions, whether or not such training attracts prospective employers. But then what professors don’t want their students to get good jobs after college, particularly those saddled with debts accrued to pay their tuition?