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Humanities Graduates in Tech Companies

Humanities’ Role in the Tech World: Career Options for Humanities Graduates in Tech Companies

In a world that is dominated by talks of machine learning, artificial intelligence, robotic science and data science; venture capitalist and author Scot Hartley in his book “The Fuzzy and the Techie: Why the Liberal Arts will Rule the Digital world’ argues that the humanities are important for the tech world. In the recent years we see that the tech companies are on a hiring spree for those who have a humanities degree, be it Literature, Psychology or Economics. Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, and YouTube – all major tech companies- have scope for the humanities graduates, since they have realized that the humanities student is skilled and trained in critical thinking, which is required for the success of their enterprise. The technology provides the solution to human problems and makes life technologically driven; but the human side of the problems are best understood and put forward by the students of humanities, who have a deeper and broader understanding of society and its needs. The future economy will be driven by entrepreneurs who have multi-talented teams, having skilled work force from both humanities and technical background. Some of the greatest and most successful CEOs possess humanities degrees. For example Jack Ma of Alibaba, has a degree in English; Susan Wojcicki, of YouTube has studied history and literature; and Brian Chesky of Airbnb, is a fine arts graduate.

The technology has become all pervasive and human centric; so the humanities graduates are needed to understand how it is best used by individuals and society. A literature graduate has the training in how to think and communicate their ideas in spoken and written form. The technology that is being innovated needs good and precise expression and logical thinking. An enterprise that successfully uses the skills of technology as well as the skills of humanities makes inroads in the social acceptance of their innovation. 

Infosys has tied up with some reputed colleges to prepare educational programs that prepare its employees with humanities background for the digital workplace. Creative writers are being hired by tech companies for their documentation, e-commerce, and content writing. The human context is also the focus of the book Cents and Sensibility, by Gary Saul Morson and Morton Schapiro, professors of the humanities and economics, respectively, at Northwestern University.   They argue in the book that economic models fall short mainly due to lack of human understanding. The solution put forward by them is Literature. JM Olejarz in his article “Liberal Arts in the Data Age” published in Harvard Business Review writes “Morson and Schapiro’s …suggest that economists could gain wisdom from reading great novelists, who have a deeper insight into people than social scientists do. Whereas economists tend to treat people as abstractions, novelists dig into the specifics. To illustrate the point, Morson and Schapiro ask, when has a scientist’s model or case study drawn a person as vividly as Tolstoy drew Anna Karenina?”

The future is bright for the humanities, as the world increasingly accepts the vital role they can play in all business solutions, technical ventures and life in general. 

Written By: Dr. Jyoti Sharma, Department of English, FMeH, MRIIRS

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