Science or Humanities? | NTT DATA

Thu, 10 January 2019

Science or Humanities?

The moment when we had to decide whether to opt for sciences or humanities used to be a huge deal because it shaped the rest of our working lives. In fact, traditionally, this dilemma also conditioned what university degrees we could go on to study.

Fortunately, this decision earlier on in life no longer has the same impact on our professional horizons. Talent development is a much broader concept today and includes many more intra-personal skills which are vital for present and future professions. It’s about time we all put the expired tag on the sciences versus humanities debate and explored what humanities can do for technology.

Our knowledge about the human being advances in parallel with research in psychology. This gives us a broader view of psychological and emotional processes which helps us define user experiences or design HR organizational models.

An artist can contribute greatly toward virtual reality and augmented reality, joining aesthetic and theory together as well as a historian has the knowledge needed to develop a videogame set in a specific period of history; linguists are essential in developing artificial intelligence; communications specialists are skilled in identifying relevant sources of information and professionals in labor relations have the responsibility of designing flexible work policies.

  The importance of profiles with a humanities education – and here lies the challenge- comes down to how they think more than their “hard skills”.

A History graduate in the universe of IoT

Eva Álvarez Guevara is a History graduate, specialized in American anthropology, and manages the everis IoT team in Europe.

Her preference for humanities was not an impediment when she landed her first job in an IT consulting firm.  “Back then there were no specialists so joining the team wasn’t a problem, in fact, it was during my first working years that I learned to program and went on to lead projects that really fulfilled me ”, she remembers.

Since a young age, she always had a flair for humanities and built her career in investigation which broadened her professional opportunities. However, she was always good at physics and chemistry and never lost her interest in science.  She cultivated her passion for history thanks to her teacher, but her father worked in IT which helped bring her closer to technology.

Today, history has become a hobby for Eva. If she had to choose again, perhaps with the benefit of hindsight she would have studied something else. However, despite sometimes regretting having studied History, her attitude always helped her overcome difficulties.  

Eva’s experience, as well as many other professionals, teaches us that we always have to be on the move. Even though our initial studies are a very relevant and necessary starting point, they do not have to define our entire professional life (there are exceptions of course, we recommend you study medicine if you want to become a surgeon!). If we study something that we finally decide we do not want to work in, there are always other doors we can open. A university degree shouldn’t put us into a pigeonhole because there are many other aptitudes and “soft skills” that need to be taken into account.

The world’s digitalization has transformed the way in which we access knowledge, giving us the chance to reinvent ourselves and learn new skills during our lifetime. Moreover, the fields of education, health, transport, telecommunications and the finance sector face the challenge of satisfying citizens emotionally. We are more emotional than we think which makes us just as unpredictable as the future. A future which doesn’t discern between sciences and humanities.

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