Is there a place for liberal arts majors in tech? It may seem like liberal arts and tech are worlds apart. But if you dig deeper, there are many connections between the two. Let’s dive into some of the most frequently asked questions about this career transition.
How can I use a liberal arts degree to switch careers and work in tech?
While a liberal arts degree may not seem directly applicable to a career in tech at first glance, it can provide valuable skills and perspectives that can be leveraged in many tech roles. Below are the specific skills that are highly valued in tech.
The ability to think creatively can help bring fresh perspectives to tech projects, potentially leading to innovative solutions.
Many liberal arts programs include art, literature, and creative writing courses that directly encourage creative expression. In addition, the diverse knowledge base common to liberal arts graduates can foster creativity by enabling you to connect seemingly unrelated ideas or concepts.
Presentation skills and storytelling
Remember how many times you gave presentations as part of your coursework? This practice helps you hone your public speaking skills and effectively communicate ideas to an audience.
In tech, your presentation skills will be critical in convincing customers, stakeholders, or investors about product features and benefits. Also, presenting information clearly and engagingly is vital for effective knowledge transfer, especially in roles that involve training or onboarding new team members.
This is a must if you want to solve complex problems in tech. The good news is that you probably already have strong critical thinking skills simply because of the nature of the liberal arts curriculum.
Liberal arts programs typically require students to take courses in various subjects, from literature and history to sociology and philosophy. This broad knowledge base can help you understand different perspectives and think holistically.
Clearly communicating complex ideas is critical in the tech industry, whether you’re writing documentation, creating product pitches, or collaborating with a team.
During your liberal arts studies, you probably took some writing classes and handed in essays, research papers, and other written work. This consistent practice helped you hone your ability to express thoughts, arguments, and information clearly and coherently. This is all of key importance in day-to-day work in tech.
Liberal arts programs often require students to complete extensive research assignments and papers. This practice involves identifying research questions, gathering information, analyzing sources, and synthesizing findings.
In tech, decisions often need to be backed by data. Your research skills in collecting and analyzing data can be invaluable in making informed decisions.
The diversity of subjects in liberal arts programs requires students to adapt to different ways of thinking and doing things. This experience subtly builds the ability to adapt quickly to new environments or challenges.
First, working in cross-functional teams is common in technology, and adapting to team members with different technical backgrounds is essential. Second, tech companies often operate internationally, and you may someday work with teams or clients from different cultures. So cultural adaptability is also an advantage.
What tech roles are available for my background?
In this role, you will solve complex programming and system design challenges. This is where your critical and creative thinking come into play as you find innovative solutions.
The role also requires effective communication, as you'll likely need to collaborate with your team and explain technical concepts to non-technical stakeholders regularly.
Do you enjoy paying close attention to details and identifying problems to make sure things are spotless? Then quality assurance engineering is for you. In this role, you'll benefit from your ability to meticulously analyze text and concepts.
Identifying problems is just one aspect of quality assurance; solving them is another. This is where the critical thinking and creativity developed through a liberal arts education come in handy.
Primarily, data analysts draw insights and make informed decisions based on data, so critical thinking comes back into play. Your liberal arts focus on understanding context and background can be valuable in interpreting data.
After finding insights, data analysts often need to present their findings to others. So you're sure to benefit from your advanced communication and presentation skills in this role.
Data scientists are researchers who study data. They must also analyze data and tell a story with it to inform decision-making.
The day-to-day work of data scientists often involves combining insights from different disciplines. This is where the interdisciplinary nature of a liberal arts education comes in handy.
As a liberal arts specialist, you already know how to manually handle vast and disorganized data, search for sources, and validate them. With new data science knowledge, you can use algorithms to ease and automate your work.
Business analysts help improve processes and systems within an organization. They evaluate and analyze data, understand trends, and make informed recommendations. They must be adept at researching industry trends, competitors, and market conditions. Finally, analysts communicate their findings to decision-makers.
These tasks and skills sound familiar, don’t they?
Are there any stories of real people who have successfully transitioned from liberal arts to tech?
Since 2019, TripleTen has helped thousands of people to start their career in tech. And only a small percentage of them had a background in STEM. So, we do have a list of great examples of grads coming from the liberal arts and successfully switching to tech. Here are some of them.
A talented animator and graphic designer, she felt unhappy about the endless hours and low pay. Looking for a job, she decided to try software engineering because she was good at solving problems and had already built a website.
The switch was a game-changer. She began studying software engineering at TripleTen, which boosted her confidence and provided her with valuable skills. The stars soon aligned as she applied for her first job and, to her delight, got hired. Read Desiree's full story hereFrom Graphic Design to Code Design: Desiree Bradish’s TripleTen Story, and see how TripleTen contributed to her success.
Isabelle, who had worked in the fashion world for over 20 years, decided to change things during the pandemic. She and a friend were thinking of starting a small fashion project and needed a website. Isabelle got curious about coding.
After trying to learn on her own, she felt a bit lost. Then she found TripleTen's Software Engineering Bootcamp, enrolled, and soon started building websites for artists, designers, and consultants. HereRefashioning a Career with Tech: Isabelle Cuisset’s TripleTen Story you can read Isabelle's full story and find out what she has planned for the future.
Zachary felt that his background in filmmaking helped him in web development, especially when making things user-friendly and good-looking.
As a kid, he fell in love with technology but decided to study film. After finding it difficult to get a job in that field, Zachary dabbled in tech projects and enrolled in the TrileTen Software Engineering Bootcamp. It helped him land a job working on Salesforce and WordPress for a real estate company.
Now he's doing cool things, like working on a Pokémon website. Read the full story about how Zachary did it all hereBreaking Through a Professional Ceiling: Rex Rodriguez’s TripleTen Story.
What steps should I take to start a career in tech?
Choose a career that makes sense to you
Conduct additional research on different careers or take a career quiz if you’re not sure what to choose. The most important part of this step is to consider your preferences and long-term goals. Lifehack: talking to professionals already in the field can provide invaluable insights.
Learn the skills you need
Once you've chosen a career path, it's time to acquire the skills needed for that role. Formal education, such as a degree, is fine, but it's not the only way. Choose a learning path that fits your schedule and budget.
Consider TripleTen’s bootcamps. You don't need any special background to enroll, and when you graduate, you have a great chance of landing a new job in tech.
Get your first experience
Entry-level positions are a great place to start but don't overlook internships, freelance projectsLanding Freelance Gigs as a Software Engineer, and pro-bono contributionsFour TripleTen-Approved Sources for Pro-Bono Front-End Engineering Experience. These ways of starting out can be invaluable in understanding the practical aspects of your chosen career and can help you build a portfolio.
Attend industry events, meetups, and webinars. Platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter are great for connecting with professionals in your chosen field. Engage with the community by participating in discussions and sharing your insights.
Leverage your background
Highlight how your unique background can bring a different perspective or expertise to the tech industry. Don’t forget to mention your critical thinking, creativity, adaptability, research and storytelling skills, and other professional assets.
There are several reasons. Firstly, TripleTen's bootcamps have been recognized by industry leaders as the best bootcamps for tech professionals three years in a row. We have Business Intelligence, Data Science, Quality Assurance, and Software Engineering programs. If you decide to enroll in one of these programs to learn a new profession, our career team will be happy to take your prior experience into account and help you highlight your strengths.
Secondly, our bootcamps are designed for newcomers: you don't need any prior technical experience to join us. You also have the flexibility to keep your current job while you learn.
Finally, the vast majority of our participantsAre You an Artist? Here’s How to Break into Software Engineering successfully transition and land new positions at Tesla, Spotify, Google Play, and other tech companies. You can be one of them and change your life in just a few months.