The Impacts of Liberal Arts in the analytics industry

It’s easy to picture computing and analytics as a STEM only discipline but that is, for the most part, incorrect. Through the years and as the analytics industry evolves, the participation and influence of other disciplines, most notably liberal arts, have continued to grow stronger. In fact, per a LinkedIn report, liberal arts grads are joining the analytics tech workforce at a faster rate than STEM grads.

What’s the reason for this? Put simply; the analytics industry is undergoing a cultural and operational evolution. No longer is data treated exclusively from a technical viewpoint. Today the analytics industry handles data from a more holistic perspective with an emphasis on other aspects of the analysis and processing process. As we’ll now see, the effects of this are well pronounced.

Data from the humanistic perspective

Rather than rely entirely on machines for the collation analysis and interpretation of data, today’sanalytics industry handles data from a more humanistic perspective. That’s all thanks to the liberal arts. In a world where there’s a tendency for data to be ‘machined’ and reduced to mere points and soulless charts, this is important. Liberal arts bring a touch of responsibility to data handling, ensuring that sensitive human data is treatedwith all due regards.

More importantly, liberal arts have accelerated the design and implementation of more effectivedata analysis models. It’s no secret that the process of collecting and analyzing data is an art on its own, one that requires the communication, analytical and journalistic skills peculiar to practitioners of the liberal arts. They provide a novel approach to framing questions for deriving data, determining which questionsneed to be asked in the first place and specifying what method is best at analyzing data and communicating insights.

The human context in the economics of analytics

But it’s not just data that’s getting the humane treatment. In their book Cents and Sensibility, Morton Schapiro and Gary Morson reiterate a well-known fact in the business world – when economics models fail to meet expectations, it’s usually a consequence of human understanding. Thisholds true even for the analytics industry. Data technicians and business intelligence experts are not primed to approach analytics from an economic perspective. Liberal artsgraduates, on the other hand, possess the requisite psychological skills to develop business and financialanalytics models that scale efficiently.

Increasing diversity

In the past, analyticsteams were characteristically monochromatic being comprised majorly of technical professionals. This one-sided configuration ultimately resulted in a dearthof creativity and contrivance in traditional analytics and business intelligence teams. Problems were tackledunidirectionally, tasks were effectuatedwith boilerplate routines, andthe general levels of innovation in the sector was expectedly low. With the integration of the liberal arts into the analytics industry,however,came a breath of fresh air and ingenuity. Aside from the fact that a more diverse workplace (now comprised of skilled technicians and liberal artists) breeds innovation, liberal arts graduates are known to have a better creative background. Compared to technically oriented disciplines they, by virtue oftheir training, are adroit at spotting unconventional but nonethelesseffective means of accomplishing set objectives.

Increased diversity, creativity, and data responsibility, there’s no arguing the fact that the liberal arts have sharpened the analytics industry’s blunt edges. As its influence grows stronger its only fitting to expect increased efficiency and productivity in the analytics and business intelligence ecosphere.

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