As technology advances, communications will become the new technical degree
Published: Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 00:02
It’s no secret a degree in speech communications has a stigma attached to it. Some see it as only a degree that allows people to get through college quickly, while others see it as “just another Liberal Arts degree.” These may have been the case for the last decade or two, but it won’t be that way for much longer.
For the last couple of decades, engineering has been one of the leading successful degrees. Between the Bureau of Labor and Statistic’s report of more than $70,000 median pay — almost $100,000 for computer engineers — and the seemingly endless possibility of career choices, what’s not to love about an engineering degree?
Unfortunately, this surge in technological advancement our engineers catalyze is making science and technology less mysterious, and simple communication more-so. I’ve previously addressed the clear degradation of communication in the forms of texting and using the word “like” multiple times in every sentence. These trends are shallow representations of Americans’ inability to communicate face-to-face.
We see the signs all around us, no matter where we go. From the phone zombies walking around campus, to the dwindling participation rates in classes, it’s clear an increasing population of today’s young adults do not want to talk.
Yesterday, I was walking by a park with children playing, and one little boy was sitting on the bench playing on a phone, while all of the other kids were playing tag. A parent who allows a child to avoid a social opportunity is just mind blowing.
This lack of communication isn’t going to get better, or even stay the same, it’s only going to get worse. As time goes on, technology advances and more social networks are invented. People will find more excuses to avoid face-to-face conversations. Children will even find themselves in isolation at younger ages. I’m honestly waiting for the day when children can get an entire standardized K-12 education on the computer — which is not that far off.
The reality of this issue is we’re never going to be able to overcome “face time” completely. Interviews, while increasingly being done over the phone — although usually only to precede an in-person interview — are never going to become a texting conversation. A relationship with a partner can’t be sustained through texting. Most jobs still require some sort of human interaction. But knowing all of this, we still push for focusing on the sciences, so less people are learning effective speech communication.
Erin Gallagher is an assistant professor of speech communications at OSU. She specializes in communication in organizations and the workplace. I asked her about college graduate’s abilities to interview for potential employment.
“Graduates today are having to get more specialized training for interviews than students 20 years ago,” Gallagher said.
When asked about the effects of texting becoming so popular, she brought up conflicts in and out of the workplace.
“We already have trouble dealing with conflicts, and texting is only making the process more difficult,” she said.
As a result of these discrepancies, communication majors are moving up the ladder of desire. According to the “Hard Times” report, communication undergraduates are at a 7.4 percent unemployment rate and graduates at 6.3 percent. This is under the 9 percent national average of college graduates, making communication one of the few liberal arts degrees to bring that average down.
The degree is only going to become more desirable as graduates of other degrees enter the employment world with limited communication skills, and employers find themselves having to bring in experts. A recent article on Yahoo, by Terence Loose, ranked it as the second most “loved” degree. Give it five to 10 years, and communications may become the new engineering degree. In a world where everyone understands the technology, but can’t hold a face-to-face conversation for long, it just might happen.
Alexander Vervloet is a senior in communications. The opinions expressed in his columns do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Barometer staff. Vervloet can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @Rantsweekly.