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Why liberal arts degrees are valuable in tech

Sharon Florentine | Aug. 23, 2016
Think having a STEM degree is the only way to succeed in technology industry? Think again.

"Recently the educational sphere realizes that the future of the U.S. digital economy is not in creating more programmers, but well-rounded individuals who can think strategically and perform more complex cognitive tasks. The regular, day-to-day coding will be done in areas like India, China, eastern Europe, but the bigger picture stuff, what we call 'design thinking' is what's really necessary," Agarwal says.

The concept of "design thinking" is a new name for creative problem solving -- and that's at the heart of all technology innovation and new developments, Agarwal says.

"Computer science is mainly focused on problem solving, creating efficiencies and allowing mundane, repetitive tasks to be performed by machines. There are elements of math and statistics and engineering, for sure, but you need people who use their left brain and right brain thinking to pull everything together," Agarwal says.

To that end, institutions like Agarwal's NUSV are focused on developing well-rounded individuals with diverse backgrounds that can excel in technology while integrating other elements from varied other disciplines, he says. While NESV still offers majors and concentrations within different colleges -- of business, law, computing -- the graduating classes will have a broad foundation of knowledge and a deep specialization in one area, he says.

"We don't want to create factory workers, we want to develop students and graduates who can go out and apply the full depth and breadth of knowledge to solving critical problems in society. That means we're trying to fundamentally restructure how we educate future generations," Agarwal says.

 

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