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Linguistic majors with bachelor's degrees, what struggles did you face once you tried to enter the workforce?

I'm considering pursuing a Linguistics major for my BA. I've read that it's quite hard to get a job unless you also have Computer Science minor/double major paired with Linguistics, which isn't quite my plan, though I'm considering pairing Linguistics with CS if it becomes clear that pursuing Linguistics alone is worthless. So, for those who have majored in Linguistics, what are some future struggles to be aware of? Is Linguistics worth pursuing if I don't get involved with Computer Science?

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Charles M’s Answer

I agree 100% with Ken Simmons about finding out who you are and how well you fit with the job.

I do not have a degree in Linguistics, but I took an introductory class in it 35 years ago.

You expressed concern about getting a job after graduation. People who hire workers are looking to get a problem solved. Let me ask you some questions, the answers to which might help you.

What kinds of problems do linguists solve? Who has those problems, where and when do they occur? How often do those problems arise? (in otherwords, how big is the market of getting those kinds of problems solved. In addition to linguistics skills, what other skills are needed to solve those kinds of problems?

What kinds of problems do you like to solve? What jobs are there that let you solve those problems on a regular basis? What additional skills do you need to solve those kinds of problems?

Good luck in finding the right pair of shoes (the right career).

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Ken’s Answer

Many people struggle needlessly while trying to enter into linguistics due to the lack off preparations involving getting to know oneself to understand how one's personality traits match with those of others who are successful in the field and then talking to people already successfully involved in the field to get their suggestions and advice about entering into the field.

Getting to know yourself and how your personality traits relate to people involved in various career opportunities is very important in your decision making process. During my many years in Human Resources and College Recruiting, I ran across too many students who had skipped this very important step and ended up in a job situation which for which they were not well suited. Selecting a career area is like buying a pair of shoes. First you have to be properly fitted for the correct size, and then you need to try on and walk in the various shoe options to determine which is fits the best and is most comfortable for you to wear. Following are some important steps which I developed during my career which have been helpful to many .

Ken recommends the following next steps:

The first step is to take an interest and aptitude test and have it interpreted by your school counselor to see if you share the personality traits necessary to enter the field. You might want to do this again upon entry into college, as the interpretation might differ slightly due to the course offering of the school. However, do not wait until entering college, as the information from the test will help to determine the courses that you take in high school. Too many students, due to poor planning, end up paying for courses in college which they could have taken for free in high school.
Next, when you have the results of the testing, talk to the person at your high school and college who tracks and works with graduates to arrange to talk to, visit, and possibly shadow people doing what you think that you might want to do, so that you can get know what they are doing and how they got there. Here are some tips: ## ## ## ## ## ##
Locate and attend meetings of professional associations to which people who are doing what you think that you want to do belong, so that you can get their advice. These associations may offer or know of intern, coop, shadowing, and scholarship opportunities. These associations are the means whereby the professionals keep abreast of their career area following college and advance in their career. You can locate them by asking your school academic advisor, favorite teachers, and the reference librarian at your local library. Here are some tips: ## ## ## ##
It is very important to express your appreciation to those who help you along the way to be able to continue to receive helpful information and to create important networking contacts along the way. Here are some good tips: ## ## ## ##

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John’s Answer

Hi Sarina, in my experience, I found that my bachelor's in linguistics prepared me for...grad school study in linguistics. The bachelor's degree gave me an overview of what to expect for further advanced study but didn't give me many immediately marketable skills in that field. I needed to get my master's degree to learn the advanced skills needed to apply linguistics in translation, natural language processing, childhood development, language documentation, etc. There are linguistics career options outside of computational linguistics, but many of them are largely in the academic/research world, or in the translation/interpretation world. I'd consider what type of job environment you want to work in, as well as what kinds of problems/tasks you'd like to work on, on a daily basis, before solidifying your choice of major(s). Hope this helps!