November 22nd, 2021 Revature

Careers for English Majors: Why Software Engineering Is a Great Fit

When you look at jobs for English majors, you rarely see “software engineer” at the top of the list. There’s a misconception that software engineers are left-brained and English majors are right-brained.

That assumption has scared many competent English majors away from well-paying tech careers. Don’t let it scare you! English majors can thrive in the tech field, and tech teams have a lot to gain from hiring these non-traditional job candidates.

English Majors Are Critical Thinkers

As an English major, you might be reading this and thinking, “I’m not a tech person! How could I ever qualify for software engineer jobs?”

It’s understandable — most colleges don’t teach students to think about transferrable skills. But you have them in spades.

Just by questioning this article — and thanks for sticking with us, by the way — you’re already using the critical thinking you developed in school. That’s an essential skill for a software engineer.

You also have a very analytical mindset. How could you not, having spent so many years examining complex texts and learning grammar and syntax?

Believe it or not, those hours spent poring over gerunds, and past perfect verb tenses set you up perfectly for software engineer jobs. You’ll be able to look at a line of code and find the bugs, just like you find subject-verb disagreements in news articles.

Writers and Readers Are Great Communicators

English majors learn to read a text, analyze it, and communicate its meaning to someone unfamiliar with the work. That skill makes you an asset to software engineering.

Software engineers often need to translate a highly technical concept for a non-technical audience. Sometimes it’s a verbal translation, like when you explain your work to a potential investor. Sometimes it’s written — a description for the marketing department or a feature update for sales.

As an English major in tech, you bridge the technical and non-technical domains. It’s a very attractive quality to a hiring department.

Literature Is Creative, and So Is Software

Despite what many people think, software engineer jobs are as creative as they are logical. To develop new solutions to complex problems, you have to be inventive and think outside the box.

As a software engineer with a non-traditional background, you’ll look at problems from a different angle. You’ll see solutions no one else considered. That’s the innovative code — the kind that gets the “oohs” and “ahhs.”

Success Speaks for Itself

This article has explained how English majors can have highly successful careers in tech. But as Levar Burton famously said in “Reading Rainbow”: “You don’t have to take [our] word for it.”

Take the word of AnnMarie Bemberry, a graduate of the English program at the City University of New York Medgar Evers College. AnnMarie launched her tech career with Revature in 2017.

She now works as an assistant vice president and software engineer for Bank of America.

“My team lead is really keen on using my soft skills, my organizational skills, my analytical skills,” she reports.

AnnMarie’s pathway is like that of many Revature students. Read more on the Revature blog, then check out how we’ve made this journey possible for many English graduates.

Who knows? Yours might be the success story we feature next.