Liberal Arts and a Computer Major

If you are thinking about studying computer science or information science, you may be considering an institute of technology.  However, we feel strongly that a liberal arts background is the best possible preparation you can get for a career in computer science or information science.

In our classes, we will teach you the latest technology.  But, in ten or fifteen years, when you are still early your career, that technology will be obsolete.  True, the fundamental principle we cover will not have changed, for the most part, but the software and hardware you will use on a daily basis will be unimaginably different from today's technology.

That means that an education based on technology is doomed to fail.  What kind of education can prepare you for the future?  What will make you a valuable employee ten, fifteen, or twenty years after your graduate?

You will need to be able to:
  • Learn new things (You need be able to keep up with new developments.)
  • Think creatively and analytically (If you are can solve problems, you will always be in demand.)
  • Work with people (In today's world, that is a critical skill.)
  • Speak and write extremely well (Within the first year after graduation, a job or a promotion will depend on a talk you give or something you write.)
  • Understand people of other cultures and your place in history (This is an increasingly multicultural world we live in.)
  • Have an sound understanding of science, nature, and the scientific method.  (This is imperative in today's world.  You will be making the decisions on technology, large and small)
  • Develop a love of the arts (The enjoyment they can bring is fantastic.)

If you look back at this list, it comprises a liberal arts education.  In other words, a liberal arts education is precisely what you need to have a productive career as a computer scientist or information scientist.

Our alumni have proved this over and over again.  Without a superb liberal arts background, there is no way that computer science graduate Suzanne (Thomas) Winkler would have become a Vice President for Web Resources at the Bank of America fifteen years after she graduated from Hartwick.

There is another reason that a liberal arts education is superb training for a computer scientist or an information scientist.  At root, you are a problem solver.  Your tool may be computer software or computer hardware, but you are ultimately a problem solver.  Really creative problem solving often proceeds by analogy and involves thinking outside the box.  A liberal arts education gives you a broad and deep background rich with ideas to apply to your problems.