Four cutting-edge careers for English majors

by User Not Found | Jun 21, 2018

 June 21, 2018


Think majoring in English is just for people who want to stay in academia? It might surprise you to learn that these days, an English degree actually opens you up to a wildly diverse range of career possibilities.

In what sometimes feels like a STEM-dominated world, the humanities are actually more important than ever. And in fact, there might not be a more exciting time for liberal arts students than right now, when skills like critical reading, thoughtful interpretation, and analysis (not to mention masterful communication skills) are in high demand everywhere from Silicon Valley to New York media. 

  • Copywriting. From Nike to Apple, the world’s most successful brands don’t simply advertise: they create stories. With emphasis on critical thinking, clear communication, and articulating complex ideas, an English degree provides a uniquely holistic skill set for careers like ad copywriting and content strategy. (After all, behind just about every infamous Super Bowl ad is the kind of powerful, thought-provoking narrative that English majors spend their academic careers interpreting and understanding.) It’s a career that’s not only creatively fulfilling, but lucrative: Glassdoor reports an average base annual salary of $54,587 for entry-level copywriting jobs, with more experienced copywriters netting $70,000 and up. 
  • Tech. The humanities are hot in Silicon Valley. Recruiters at the world’s most successful tech companies value the sharp analytical skills taught in English programs, and the tech world in general is beginning to recognize that the humanities can bring just as much value to their organizations and products as STEM can. Abigael Donahue, an English grad and technical writer, sharply articulates this here: “Writing bridges the gap between human and machine, making technology accessible to everyone by adding a human element to man-made creations.” As The Atlantic pointed out, in today’s data-driven and fast-paced society, this mindset is more critical than ever before.
  • Content strategy. Within both the agency and tech worlds, the growing field of content strategy is another trajectory perfectly suited for English majors, as more and more brands see the value of developing media that resonates with its consumers. Once upon a time, brands spoke to consumers with billboards and taglines; now, they’re partnering with publications to create compelling stories—or even launching their own. Armed with creativity, an understanding of story structure, and clear, precise communication, English majors are poised to excel in this field at every stage, from brainstorming strategy to editing and fine-tuning the final product. PayScale reports a median salary of $60,587. 
  • New and interactive media. Though the publishing landscape has shifted dramatically in recent years, it’s also an incredibly exciting time for media. From podcasts to untraditional online formats, new and innovative ways to share storytelling are emerging every day. Storytelling is no longer limited to words and artwork, as editors draw inspiration from video games, virtual reality, video, audio, and immersive multimedia to push the limits of how we experience narrative.  Once upon a time, an English degree might land you a position at Random House; these days, an English major might produce a serialized radio drama for an award-winning podcasting studio, map out new editorial formats for a cutting-edge online magazine, or strategize on new and thought-provoking ways to bring a story to life.    

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