Marketing Your Linguistics Degree

April 5, 2014

Today I’ll be participating in a forum at the Minnesota Undergraduate Linguistics Symposium entitled “Marketing Your Linguistics Degree”. Here are some of my preparation notes:

When I came to college, I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do. I was interested in cognitive science, but it isn’t offered as an undergraduate major, so I took the introductory psychology course. It wasn’t what I was looking for, so I then took the introductory linguistics course, with a plan to go on to neuroscience if it didn’t work out. It worked out! Since then, I developed my computer skills and got a research job doing software development with a linguistic focus.

I have not had specific goals for my career path; I just try apply to everything that sounds interesting and don’t get down when I get rejected. Don’t doubt your qualifications.

The skill that linguistics gave me that I use the most is problem solving. I use the approaches I learned in historical linguistics and linguistic analysis every day for debugging, both for the software at my job, but also for debugging the world around me.

Another important skill is writing. Due to your writing skills, you shouldn’t be afraid to apply for a job where you wouldn’t be a subject-matter expert. You can work as a catalyst, documenting and pushing everyone else along.

During college, it is hard to justify writing outside of class because of time spent on in-class writing, but after college, make sure you keep writing. In addition to maintaining the technical skill of writing, writing regularly helps people organize their thoughts and allows them to become more effective at what they do.

If you have or are getting a linguistics major and are looking for some direction, feel free to send me an .