While technical literacy and technological educationare widely coveted in the contemporary world, a logical question emerges: is it worthreceiving an education in liberal arts, or does only technical degree matters?
Paradoxical as it may seem, humanities skills are becoming more and more valuable in the technologically oriented world.
The Intrinsic Duality of Humanity and Techie Skills
First of all, today there is a great share of jobs that combine logical and literal competences. For instance, an appreciated marketer applies both math skills (to count the amount of data) and social ones (to figure the best way for new marketing moves implementation). To write an analytical essay, you need to implement logic for brainstorming and structuring your paper, and simultaneously be a highly-skilled writer for shaping your ideas in the most understandable form. This duality is true for most highly-paid professions in the modern world. UX and UI designers serve as a glowing example here. While UI expert is more focused on the graphic side of things, a UX professional is concerned with user perception of the product. A UI designer combines IT knowledge with an aesthetic feeling of color and shape. His UX colleague possesses a much broader set of humanities competences, from performing sociological surveys to applying a purely psychological insight of what people will like more. It is quite revealing that a UX designer’s median salary comprises $95,000, the respective number being only $84,500 for a UI expert. Add here a relatively modest $61,198 median salary for a Web designer – and the overall picture begins to take shape.
What these data teach us is the following: humanities skills, such as interaction with society and psychological grasp of the innovations, are even more valuable than the ability to make a product attractive, not to mention the IT skills as such.
Why’s that? Doesn’t it seem counter-intuitive in the world where technological innovation is being praised beyond everything else?
The Big Change Is to Come
The primary aim of technological progress is to free people from the need to do tasks machines can cope with. It results in the expected shift in techie professions orientation. Instead of computing and coding data, in future IT experts will be asked to guide the processes of data-collecting and moderate them according to the needs of the society. This requires liberal education as much as technical one. The key competencies will include the ability to analyze the market, to perceive human demands and channel IT processes in the most socially efficient direction. As experts foresee, this change is very close, and to be successful twenty years later, techies are to become socially literate today.
What’s in the Corporate World?
If you are still drenched in doubts, take a peek at the leading corporate companies of the world. These market monsters understand the notion of progress much deeper than ordinary people. What they currently seek for in employees is creativity, sociological insight, team building skill, and a broader set of things aimed at facilitating the process of human interaction. The reasons behind it are amazingly simple. The more efficient manufacturer-user communication is, the more success for a company. Coworkers bond is fast and reliable – again, product quality increases, a company is to thrive. Such people as harmonizers and mediators confidently take their deserved place in the corporate structure.
While there are plenty of independent humanities professions, such as a recruiter or a social media manager, technical specialists cannot stay away from this change ofsystem. Those who work as a hired workforce will soon feel the pressure from above, their employers expecting them to display at least minimal social and psychological skills. Freelancers are involved in the change even today, implying the best of their interaction competence to stay in the market.
A Bit of the Futurology
We used to think that the university education is a solid basis for a future career. Even with bright examples like Steve Jobs, who has chosen a different path, we still believe that education will serve us well in the future. Not that we are seriously going to boost our good grades in front of a potential employer, and yet the stereotype is alive. This is very much connected to a priority technical education today gets over liberal arts. Indeed, to be a successful artificial intelligence developer, you must possess deep knowledge of the subject, the exact kind that formal education offers. On the contrary, what’s needed to make a prominent writer? Creativity, and that’s it. Therefore, in the future world of service-oriented companies and flexible interactional competences, a university degree will keep on losing its value. Namely, a person who demonstrates a good grasp of the marketing matters will have a green pass to the most preferred companies even without a formal degree. A computer will perform calculations. A marketer will generate ideas.
Speaking of most technological professions, they, too, are to be influenced by this shift. Instead of synthesizing data to create a mechanism, AI developers will teach machines to respond to human demands. Global research deduces that three new categories of AI-connected jobs will emerge. These professions will concentrate on training machines to recognize different shades of meaning, teaching them to be fair in the given cultural context, and choosing whether to automate a certain sphere of life or leave it in the hands of people. As we can see, liberal competences are crucial for such professions.
Definitely, future changes will emphasize the role of humanity skills for technological professions, but what’s more important is to realize that future is shaped today, and even now there is a huge demand for liberal arts education in techie work.