We’ve all been programmed to think that a tech education is the key to success. You’ll be a dinosaur in the near future if you don’t learn to code is how the thinking goes. Certainly, learning to code can be a route to success as the coding bootcamp phenomenon shows.
Well, I have good news for you if you’re not technically inclined to take up coding. Times are changing and that way of thinking isn’t necessarily so. You don’t have to throw your liberal arts diploma in the rubbish bin after all.
A reversal of fortune is taking place as tech companies, particularly fast-growth tech start-ups, are realizing that it’s not enough to be technically brilliant, you need brilliant business processes, too.
Some things can’t be programmed. Creativity can’t be programmed. Client relationships can’t be programmed. Business-to-business sales can’t be programmed. Tech leaders are realizing that the real value to their company’s success will come more and more from people who can sell and humanize technology not the hard-core technologists. That’s why tech companies are zooming in on liberal arts majors, people who use and embrace technology but aren’t technical. They are looking for liberal arts majors who have the business skills that technical people don’t have.
Lo and behold, big tech companies and startups alike are looking beyond STEM graduates and realizing that liberal arts majors make them stronger. People who study the humanities and social sciences are important as social alchemists who add the human touch to technology, a critical skill for any technology to take hold on a large scale. Die-hard techies have tried to create intuitive software, most of which functions poorly without non-techie partners who are adept at humanizing technology.
Liberal arts and business majors are critical for sales, business development and marketing. Their value lies in their nontechnical ability to connect with people (not end users as techies tend to call customers).
What a relief. Not all of us have the quant skills or even the desire to be engineers or computer programmers. It’s estimated that about 70 percent of the jobs in tech companies don’t involve sitting in front of a computer screen and programming all day long. Like any business, tech companies need talent in organic, people-oriented roles like sales people, business managers, marketers, lawyers, finance people, HR professionals and the like.