Why Linguistics in Tech Is a Big Deal
If your Ph.D. is in linguistics, you may have noticed that jobs both inside and outside of the academic world are scarce. You may think that the accomplishment of acquiring any social science doctorate should provide one with at least a comfortable living. Sorry, but the world no longer offers those types of guarantees.
The reality in today’s economy is that you must prove your worth in terms of dollars and cents. You have to convince someone with the power to hire you that you will provide a return on the investment of your salary and benefits. Non-academics have always instinctively known this fact; it seems to be taking the highly educated a little longer to catch on to the way it works.
For instance, take that linguistics degree. Outside of government intelligence services, you may be having a hard time thinking of a way to put it to work helping you earn a better paycheck. Here is an eye-opening statement for you: linguistics in tech is huge right now. And, the opportunities will continue to grow as the world becomes an even smaller, more connected place.
Linguistics’ Role in Technology
The recent breakthroughs in speech recognition and syntheses have thrown open the doors for linguistics experts. Technology now interacts with humans through language. And guess what? This capability creates an astounding amount of design complexity for manufacturers of almost every type of digital product available. Factor in the need to support the multiple languages of the global market, and you just became a smoking hot job market commodity.
Think about the fact that designers have to make a product that supports potentially 40,000 different languages. It takes a ton of work to identify and group linguistic similarities so that the operation of the system remains as streamlined as possible.
That’s where your skills come into play. You have likely spent the better part of your twenties acquiring highly advanced knowledge about the inner workings of human language. Your linguistic expertise, ability to analyze data and to think critically will add enough value to tech companies of all sizes to justify that hefty paycheck.
Tech wants you; oh, it wants you bad. Get some additional training to develop your programming skills, if you haven’t already, and your earning potential will soar.
The Next Step
Hopefully, this slight shift in perspective helps you see your value in the job market. If you need some more career guidance, seek out professional mentoring to point you in the right direction. You have most of what you need to make a big splash in the emerging linguistics in tech scene. You probably still have some work to do, however, on how you present yourself to potential employers.