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Job Opportunities for Linguistics major?

prsonitrataorcprsonitrataorc 0 replies2 threads New Member
I'm a junior at an early college high school and I've always been unsure about my major. I know that I still have a lot of time left, but I don't want to spend two years of my life still not knowing what to do. As soon as I graduate with my high school and associates, I plan to transfer to a 4-yr University in Texas, but I still don't know what I'm interested in.
I really enjoy learning about other cultures and languages, which made me like the idea of a linguistics major, but many people don't believe I'll have any job opportunities in the "real world." There aren't any linguistic or language classes at my college (apart from Spanish, and I'm fluent in that) and I don't like the idea of switching majors when I'm already at my ideal college. I want to be doing something that I enjoy but I also want to get a decent pay.
Would there be any good-paying job opportunities for linguistics majors? Or perhaps a different major that is similar?
edited September 2017
5 replies
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Replies to: Job Opportunities for Linguistics major?

  • soontobecollegersoontobecolleger 539 replies49 threads Member
    If you are very interested in foreign language and culture, linguistics may not be the best choice for you anyway. Make sure you look at the programs at the specific schools you are looking at. at my school for example, anything in the linguistics department that has anything to do with foreign language is not even a requirement for the major. The 2 linguistics courses I'm currently taking right now actually fulfill the math requirement, and the one I will be taking next quarter fulfills the science requirement. Think phonetics, syntax, meaning of words and sentences etc. are these things of interest to you?
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  • yucca10yucca10 1390 replies40 threads Senior Member
    I've just listened to a course of lectures on different cultures from a professor who is also consulting many companies on how to be aware of cultural differences. I imagine multinational companies could use people who are familiar with different cultures. That's probably not linguistics though, as @soontobecolleger noted, maybe anthropology or specific languages major? Linguistics might be more useful in computer science stuff, like Google search algorithms, or if you're inclined towards theoretical language study and academic career.
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  • zettasyntaxzettasyntax 1491 replies14 threads Senior Member
    edited October 2017
    Most of the moderately high paying jobs in linguistics will likely have to do with technology. For this reason, sometimes a masters/PhD is required. I suppose the big tech companies don't trust us like they would a pure CS major :P However, this is not to say that there aren't other opportunities. A lot of linguistics majors often get jobs in the legal field. Studying language, we really hone our analytical skills and this is likely why we do awesome on the LSAT and are suited for careers in law. There is an old misconception that being a linguist means you are a polygot, but this does not mean that you won't have the opportunity to study other languages and dialects. In one of my classes having to do with the English language, we studied African American Vernacular English as well as British English. It was quite enlightening seeing how a dialect deemed as "inferior" (AAVE), actually has the same complex rules as standard English. If you have no interest in pursuing a graduate degree, I'd highly recommend minoring/majoring in a language such as Arabic, Chinese, or Japanese. There is a strong demand for these languages on Linguist List. I even recall a posting about an expert translator for the US government. It sounded like an exciting job, but it required knowledge of Arabic. You would be making yourself so much more attractive in the job market.

    If you want to study linguistics, I say go for it. It's a great field. The Disney employee that I mentioned in another post of mine just majored in general linguistics and she was able to get that sentiment analysis job. She had to learn Python on the job, but her analytical skills are what landed her the job according to her anecdote. Linguistics is really all about puzzles. I didn't fare all that well with puzzles involving sounds (phonology), but boy did I have fun with syntax :-)
    edited October 2017
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  • Marg532Marg532 440 replies8 threads Member
    If you like learning about different languages and cultures, look into majoring in International Studies or International Relations, and possibly minoring in a foreign language! If you focus in on a certain language and/or culture, you have a good chance at being hired to be a translator or something similar. I'm looking into these majors because I also like to learn about different languages and cultures, but I also love to travel and I'm interested in being a global citizen and advocating for human rights. These majors are very broad but also educate you well, and set you up for a large host of different graduate degree options, like human rights law, law school, or plain graduate degrees in International Relations.
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  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 42553 replies460 threads Senior Member
    If you like different languages and cultures, look for a world department that emphasizes them (v. Literature) and add International Studies or International Relations or Global Studies, possibly with an international business minor or certificate. Getting fluent will be important so explore the possibility of spending a semester or a year abroad and getting actual credits for your classes, not just for the language major.
    If you like the structure of languages (the logic or "mathematics" of it), then major in Linguistics with a CS minor. There are lots of jobs in there.
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