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Adriana DiPietro
Adriana DiPietro

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Tech & English Lit?

Why I Believe My English Literature Degree is Important in the World of Tech

My Education + Background

I graduated from Siena College (Loudonville, New York) in May 2019. I graduated reluctantly with a degree I both loved and despised: English Literature. (I know what you are thinking: "English Literature degree??? Yikessss!" We'll get back to this later.) I love English literature and writing and reading and analyzing as much as the next book twerp. If I could have stayed in school and just continued to thumb through old, musty books, I would have. On the other end of the spectrum, the loathing came from a few aspects: undergraduate degrees eventually (and never fail to) come to a close and master degrees cost an arm, a leg, and a spine and are intensely competitive to be accepted into. So, sitting adjacently to your "Yikes!" I despised my English Literature degree. Utterly despised.

It is not true that you cannot get a job with a liberal arts/humanities degree -- but it is true that having that degree does not reduce the amount of paths waiting to be considered and ultimately, chosen. Therefore, I found myself stuck in a time warp: I felt as confused and hopeless as I did going into college in September of 2015. Lost and abridged.

So, now, let me reiterate: I was four years older and no closer to understanding what to do with my knowledge of Milton's "Paradise Lost", Wordsworth's "Strange fit of passion have I known", nor Shakespeare's "Richard III".

Through an also reluctantly chosen gap year, I realized I needed to get out of my comfort zone and dive into something deeply unexpected and challenging. Hence: Software Engineering. Do not ask me why I chose this. I had no previous experience or exploration into the subject. I do not even remember how I came across Flatiron School's home page. I do know that it felt dangerous and it felt like something I should do.

So I did it. Now, here I am. Having finished the program in just under a year, I am a Flatiron alum with a certificate in Software Engineering.

I realize now that I have vaguely told you why I am writing this: "Why I Believe My English Literature Degree is Important in the World of Tech". In a sharper sense, I am writing this article because I am too trying to figure out how to market my English Literature background into landing a job.

I am sure there are plenty of employees in the tech world that have English Literature degrees... but let me remind you that there are approximately 7.3 million people working in tech in America (I just googled this). So, the maybe 50,000 (?) book-twerps-turned-tech-twerps may just be a rarity. I kind of want to change that.

So, together, let's go through my reasons as to why I believe my English Degree will help me in tech.

Soft Skills That Should Not Be Deemed 'Soft'

  1. The ability to communicate ideas + executions (of code) to non-tech people at your job (i.e the sales dept).

  2. The ability to enact UX flow + personal(human)touches to websites/apps. Thus, creating an UX that relates to the user and makes sense.

  3. The ability to understand the short term + long term goals (or tasks) assigned to you. Likewise, being able to execute those goals correctly + efficiently.

  4. The ability to introduce a conversation when a problem occurs to your team and/or how the problem could be solved.

  5. The ability to take a overtly simple concept from a client and make it a tangible, brilliant thing.

  6. The ability to write + communicate ideas/suggestions/questions clearly through email, phone, and meetings.

  7. The ability to comb through code (not written by you) and understand its functionality and/or purpose.

  8. The ability to understand the difference in syntax + context.

  9. The ability to understand the importance between prioritizing readability versus efficiency/speed.

  10. In general, interpersonal skills (aka 'soft' skills) -- critical thinking, research, analysis, empathy, problem solving...

  11. The ability to bring forth cultural awareness + significance to a project.

I hope this quick article has brought you some insight. If you are in the similar circumstances as me, I would love to connect and continue the conversation. Accordingly, if you were once in the similar circumstance and now are thriving, feel free to leave your own insight below in the comments.

Here is my LinkedIn.

Thank you for reading along :)

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