Is there a place for liberal arts graduates on the tech scene? With jobs in the humanities becoming harder to find many graduates are now turning to the ever-expanding tech scene to launch their careers. Jobs in tech are opening up at an extraordinary rate; these roles can be flexible, well-paid and with a good deal of autonomy so it’s no wonder young people are flocking to get into the scene. But how adaptable must an arts graduate be if she wants to learn to code? And with a background in literature, history or philosophy can a short course in Web Development provide enough training for a student to compete against those with software engineering degrees for these sought-after roles? Aside from the money and flexibility that these jobs are purported to offer, one has to ask if an arts graduate can fulfil that personal, creative yearning that an arts degree offered them with a career in programming.
Our experience at CareerFoundry is that students not only fulfil that creative yearning, they are able to use their work as a creative outlet. Our students build beautiful websites for their own businesses and others, turning their ideas into a reality using their creative flair and expert technical know-how. Alongside the flexibility of the job and a high starting salary, a career in web development or UX & UI design is for many people the perfect combination of a technically interesting and simultaneously creatively fulfilling career.
Caitlin Huston, journalist at the Wall Street Journal, agrees. In her article Have Liberal Arts Degree, Will Code she reports on students making the leap from the arts to tech. “This job is allowing me that creative opportunity that I didn’t find in music.” Writes Stephanie Oh, a former arts graduate who began her career in the music industry before training in web development. Here at CareerFoundry we have seen the creativity of our student’s projects, and with flexible working hours and more money doing what they love, job satisfaction for web developers is at an all-time high.
The communication skills learned during an arts degree also work in a student’s favour. When collaborating with clients, clear communication over the task in hand is crucial to the outcome of a successful project. Many clients may not understand the world of programming and will need it explained to them in a clear and straightforward manner so as not to be overwhelmed by technical language or jargon.
“I’m much more equipped to explain to them in layman’s terms what’s going on in the site,” another former Arts student elaborated.
Huston discusses the number of options available to prospective programming students. Various offline schools offer programs to students with no prior knowledge of coding but the courses can be very hard to get into and expensive to boot.
“The Flatiron School in New York accepts about 8% of applicants for its 12-week web development program, and App Academy accepts about 5% of its applicants.”
Another disadvantage to these offline programs is their inflexibility. Many people simply cannot afford to take 12 weeks out of their working life to study (again). When thinking of the cost students not only have to take into account tuition fees, but also loss of earnings and the cost of living while they are studying. Prospective students who don’t live in a city which hosts a web development program are also stuck. Online, flexible learning for people with work or family commitments seems to be a much more viable solution. With our online learning programs CareerFoundry can offer its students that flexibility while still supporting and motivating them through the use of mentors: experts trained in that field of expertise who will meet weekly with each of their students. This personal touch is what sets CF apart from other online programs - we share their flexibility but alongside it provide the support of one-to-one mentoring from inspirational experts in web development and UX & UI design. With our three-month programs over 70% of our students have landed a job on completion of the course, demonstrating that with the right combination of motivation and guidance students from all educational and employment backgrounds can excel in this field. Arts graduates included.
Graduates of arts degrees who are feeling disenchanted by the world of administration and the low-paid, long working hours of entry level humanities positions are in a prime position to start thinking about transitioning into tech; where flexibility, creativity and job satisfaction come first.