Google Searching for Humanities Students

Written on September 29, 2011 by Banafsheh Farhangmehr in Arts & Cultures & Societies

Evidence keeps mounting that humanities students provide innovative perspectives to businesses and tech fields. A few days ago, Stanford News ran a story about Silicon Valley’s desire to hire humanities students. Here we see the giant of the industry leading the way…

Those worried about the value of studying the arts and humanities, particularly at the postgraduate level, take heart: Google wants you.

In a boldly titled talk at a conference at Stanford University last week, Damon Horowitz, director of engineering – and in-house philosopher – at Google, discussed the question of “Why you should quit your technology job and get a humanities PhD”.

Dr Horowitz was one of several Silicon Valley executives exploring the theme at the BiblioTech conference, an event that united academics with entrepreneurs and senior managers from some of the world’s leading high-tech companies.

For Marissa Mayer, who was the 20th employee taken on by Google and is now its vice-president of consumer products, the situation was clear: “We are going through a period of unbelievable growth and will be hiring about 6,000 people this year – and probably 4,000-5,000 from the humanities or liberal arts.”

Companies such as Google were looking for “people who are smart and get things done” from every possible background, she said, yet the humanities had a particular relevance.

Continue reading in Times Higher Education


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