Expanding Your Skillset through a New Area of Study

Posted by The Editors on October 21, 2011
Expanding Your Skillset through a New Area of Study

Earlier this year, the WetFeet team was kicking around potential ideas for articles, and we thought about revisiting the idea of “Do majors really matter?” We’re an English and journalism-intensive bunch around here, and I admit I’ve wondered whether a course or two in a number of fields—anything from economics to computer science—might have given my career a boost even before I started down the path I’m currently on.

Then this week, I came across the surprising news that philosophy is on the rise as a popular major—in many cases, as a second major complementing one in business or the sciences. Students say that studying philosophy in its many forms “prepares them not for a job, but for the multiple jobs they expect to hold during their lifetimes.” 

It points to the importance of majors not just for the subject matter itself but also for their applications in other areas; recent philosophy grads have found that “the science of the idea” (Plato’s words, and I believe he put it best) has aided them in everything from engineering to accounting to professional sports.

Now maybe philosophy’s not your thing, but if you’re still in school, consider taking a course in a subject you’ve never pursued before. If it’s early in your studies, it might even prompt you to change direction or pursue a second major.

If you’re already in the workplace, you don’t have to turn your back on your bachelor’s and lament that you didn’t study something different. You can still broaden your horizons by exploring something outside of your department or the areas of your expertise. That could mean learning a new computer program or dusting off a long-dormant skill. (I can recall using Excel during a high school computer class, but then went nearly a decade without using it again.) 

How about you? Wishing you’d studied something different? Have you found ways on the job to bridge that gap?

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