Week 1: George Anders

Digital Humanities seems to be about bringing the human element into the workroom. In the article by George Anders, he mentions, “Being able to read the room is such a crucial skill, adds Phunware sales executive Mike Snavely, that he's willing to hire people who don't know much about technology if they have a gift for relating to other people.” The workforce needs math and engineering degrees, but human relations are necessary just as much. There appears to be contempt for liberal arts majors, that the mainstream finds the education nice but useless in the job market. Yet there are important skills we learn, while utilizing creativity and ingenuity can be a major asset that more linear ways of thinking from math and engineering degrees don’t have. In a world where technology is king, humans still must work together, and it is even harder when social skills and flexibility are not being taught or are in the field of dying social graces. Liberal arts majors can be the bridges in the gaps where other degrees are lacking. This is where we can find a niche and be welcomed in a job market that can be quite ruthless to those who don’t fit the square peg mold of traditional stem fields. 


I too have a reflexive urge to justify the viability of a humanities degree on the job market. From my perspective, strictly in terms of job application attractiveness, having the word "digital" on a CV or resume gives the illusion of well-roundedness and technological savvy. That's nice for superficial recruiting mechanisms. But beyond that, what specific skills and mindsets does DH as a discipline add to the individual, supplementary to the general "human element" inherent in the humanities? In terms of job market allure, is DH more valuable for its integration of hard(er) skills like programming or database mining, or for the assimilative mindset that it promotes via activities like collaborative research or distance reading?

I think the readings this week have comfimred exactly your point: the "digital" fields that are gatekept behind a STEM degree are really just applying a digital, or symbolic, language, which we have no doubt been trained all our lives to do. The idea that our digital world will replace human to human interfacing is silly. If anything, digital methods of consuming information will amplify our conversation, as our words, our symbols, become more accessible.