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Not a “Math Person”? Think Again

technical knowledge
Kalyn Yang
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Published on June 24, 2014

My friends with humanities majors often joke about the obscurity of subjects like math and engineering, and how they can never wrap their heads around them. But having seen both ends of the spectrum as a Math and Econ double major, I don’t think the two fields are mutually exclusive at all. In fact, there are many reasons for non-tech majors to actively gain some technical knowledge.

You Will Stand Out in Both Crowds

Not to confirm the stereotypes, but engineers are sometimes not among the most sociable while humanities majors are often not that well-verse at quantitative analysis. Thus, having knowledge from both fields can become your forte and a strong selling point to future employers.

It Trains the Way You Think

Yes, it’s not that I use proof by induction or Gaussian eliminations everyday at work, but as I completed my courses, I realized that being a mathematician became a habit. My math degree helped me train the way I think. It shaped me into a logical, analytical, and careful thinker. You know those phrases thrown over everyone’s resume, such as “critical thinking” or “problem-solving skills”? Turns out, they are real skills that you can gain from taking technical courses!

It Opens More Doors

I think at least a part of the reason why people think that they aren’t “math people” is because that’s what they tell themselves. Take some classes or do some exploring. you might find your hidden interests and talent! Studying political science doesn’t mean you are excluded from technical fields. Many industries have skills that overlap. You will find many more opportunities with a new skill set.

Now what are some ways to gain technical experiences if you are study humanities in college?

Consider a Minor 

College time is limited and many of you are likely to have finished your first year already. So if a double major isn’t practical, try pursuing a minor. Especially if technical fields are not your main focus, then a minor will prepare you well enough.

Take Selective Courses

Being in California and witnessing the prevalence of technology, I once considered doing a minor in computer science. But the idea was soon proven to be impractical given my double major. But now I wish I at least took some classes to familiarize myself with the basics. For those of you that are still in college, pick a focus and take some lower division classes. You never know what might come in handy one day.

Utilize Online Resources 

From video tutorials to MIT lectures, the Internet offers an amazing array of free education. It’s especially useful for some specific skills that you want to acquire. I’m currently going through the SQL tutorials by Caleb on YouTube and they are awesome. You can get yourself started on whatever technical skills that interest you.

In Conclusion

I had the best 4 years of college experience at UC Berkeley. So I’d say, yes, have a lot of fun and don’t be afraid to be silly. But remember that it’s unlikely that you will have another 4 years relatively free of other obligations to study. The resources offered by your university are probably among the best you will receive, and they are right at your fingertips now! Take this opportunity and learn as much as you can.

Kalyn Yang

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