November 4, 2016, by Jackie Thompson
An Arts Degree is the Best Preparation for the Digital World
by Lauren Wilson, English and French graduate
As we all know, an arts degree doesn’t prepare you for a particular profession; cue the decision-making over what career you will forge after graduating! However, this ‘open-ended-ness’ is also one of the best things about studying English, languages, music, history of art, the list goes on…
A Bachelor of Arts degree gives you the ability to analyse, to question and most importantly, to create. In this blog, myself and two other arts graduates identify two skills we developed during our degrees and explain how we use them today in our digitally orientated roles.
English and French student to digital PR account executive
The two skills that I use at digital marketing agency, Impression are:
1. Persuasive writing
A central aim of my PR and copywriting work is to subtly persuade readers, or prospective customers, that my client’s offering is the best of the best. In the same way, a good university essay presents an argument in a way that wins over then reader and encourages them to want more of your ideas. The same skills apply: structure, word choice, evidencing.
Persuasive writing and productive word choice are also a big part of pitching to a journalist via email. You have just a few sentences to convince the reader that your idea is the strongest to land in their inbox that day, the one that will be of most interest to their reader – it’s a real challenge, but a fun one, too!
2. Writing by numbers
Linguistics and stylistics modules encourage you to look at patterns in writing: for example, the frequency of word use. I continue to use these analytical and trend- spotting skills in my current role when writing copy for a webpage with the aim of optimising this page to rank well in search engine results, part of a service known as on-page SEO (search engine optimisation.)
History of art student to designer
Alice Yeates works at digital integrated agency, Distinction and she thinks that these two are her two most important:
1. Visual Communication
History of art is a degree that requires you to be able to explain the visual and the three dimensional in verbal and written form. Analysing and processing the visual in a different manner set me in good stead for visual communication in multiple forms in my everyday work. In many ways, adapting any information and processing it (essay writing process!) is applicable to a number of roles in working in an agency, and beyond, I’m sure!
2. Empathy and perspective (with a bit of creative thinking thrown in)
Like most, I found presentations at university slightly nerve-wracking. However, with hindsight I’m able to see that it taught me how best to break down information to share with others in new ways. I distinctly remember one presentation where I resorted to comparing the use of windows in early New York skyscrapers to a modern interaction with social media windows. A little out there, but it got the message across! Presenting information to an audience that do not know the material as you do teaches you to look at it through many perspectives. This is something that’s required as a designer on a daily basis, so has come in incredibly useful!
Music student to PPC account manager
My colleague, Liam Wade works with me at digital marketing agency, Impression and sees the following correlation:
1. Analysing trends and patterns
Music is inherently pattern based. A music degree calls for lots of analytical work and so you become attuned to spotting trends and patterns that are not always obvious. This lends itself to any work in digital, where analysing changes in data is crucial.
In online advertising, creative-thinking and statistical analysis must meet in order to get great results. Likewise, good musicians are able to balance creativity with discipline – improvisation with set structure.
2. Music is mathematical
In many ways, music writing is equivalent to the writing of a precise “code.” The very intervals between notes that we have used for hundreds of years have a fixed numerical value to them. In this way, music is art that is naturally rooted in mathematics.
My current role as a paid advertising account manager also requires me to interpret numbers, applying mathematical principles to produce an effective online advertising campaign that encourages internet users to buy into a particular brand.
If you’re interested in finding out more about a digital career and the digital sector, come along to our Spotlight On… Digital Industries: creative and analytical roles on Thursday 17 November.
Not sure how you can use your subject knowledge and skills in your future career, book an appointment with a careers adviser.
Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/126052185@N03/14438818027