“Around 85% of the jobs that today’s learners will be doing in 2030 haven’t been invented yet.”1 This has implications for college students; first, over the course of a lifetime, they will likely have several different careers. Second, if that is true, then organizing studies around specific training for a single narrowly focused job may be a mistake. The more intelligent option requires them to graduate with a skill-set that enables adapting to new employment opportunities as they arise. They need…
Memory skills, allowing them to recognize and recall information relevant to a given problem;
Research skills, allowing them to seek out additional evidence from a variety of perspectives against a background of societal information;
Empathy skills, allowing them to better understand other peoples’ reasoning, values, and situations in this rapidly globalizing world.
The History B.A. is ideally suited to delivering this skill-set to students. History is about memory; in learning so much about the past, their abilities of selection and recall are greatly expanded. Moreover, in pursuing a History degree they research across a great variety of historical sources; this continually asks them to make connections among different types of evidence. Finally, no other major immerses people so deeply in the experiences of those “unlike” themselves. Student learn to understand societies of the past, and this enhances their ability to work with peoples in the present. This is a key skill for 21st-century careers.
Studying the past gives students the skills they need today and will need tomorrow. Consider this comment:
A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.
–Steve Jobs, 1996
Career opportunities with a History degree include the following:
- Appointive or elective political office
- Business careers, from insurance analysists, to project managers and public relations, to banking
- Congressional staffing, including legislative-assistant work
- Historical society archivists and preservationists
- Law and legal affairs, whether law school, paralegal work, or litigation support
- Library science careers
- Media careers, ranging from documentary and scholarly editing to journalism, to television
- Museum curating and educating
- Teaching, through certification in social studies education
There are many more: readers may wish to see the series “What to do with a B.A. in History,” published regularly by the American Historical Association at https://tinyurl.com/ya5rtesa. Or just contact the CC History faculty!
1. Dell Technologies, “Emerging Technologies’ Impact on Society and Work in 2030,” July 12, 2017, accessed 6 Nov. 2018, http://www.iftf.org/future-now/article-detail/realizing-2030-dell-technologies-research-explores-the-next-era-of-human-machine-partnerships/