Liberal Arts Degrees are "Enough" in a Tech-based World
On May 1, 2018, Holly Dragoo, wrote an opinion piece explaining why more companies should consider liberal arts majors for their cybersecurity workforce. Dragoo, a research associate with the Cybersecurity, Information Protection, and Hardware Evaluation Research Lab at the Georgia Tech Research Institute, says liberal arts graduates bring communication skills, vision, emotional intelligence, and diversity among a host of other traits beneficial to (and still undervalued in) the technical world.
Below is portion of her op-ed. You can also read it in its entirety.
In a world where cybersecurity workforce is facing severe labor shortages, and the tech world more broadly is under fire for lack of workforce diversity, there is a labor pool to draw from that are largely overlooked by recruiters: liberal arts majors
Graduates in fields like political science, international relations, and communications (among others) encouraged to seek employment in tech sector companies. Unfortunately, corporate cultures are harder to change than outreach and recruitment, as many candidates find they are marginalized either in the hiring process or in project assignments once they are through the front door.
Apart from the obvious benefits individuals with marketing or international relations/business degrees bring to large corporations, social science folks are expert communicators and can visualize trends easily. These are the folks you want to consult when trying to come up with new service or product ideas to fill industry gaps, and the closer on that big customer presentation pitch. Liberal arts graduates bring communication skills, vision, emotional intelligence, and diversity among a host of other traits beneficial to (and still undervalued in) the technical world. These skills have taken a back seat to the “hard” technical skills like software development and programming/coding historically, but as we see a shift towards more automated tools, algorithms, and artificial intelligence, these “soft” skills will become increasingly relevant. One need only look as far as the revolution in user experience work and emerging research in the field of human factors to see the critical role of having a non-technical presence involved in the software design process and roll-out of a product intended for everyday users.
Cybersecurity is a need in almost every industry, and is more than just securing data – it’s risk management, involving people and changing office cultures.