One of the major dilemmas facing a group of people we all know is: How can humanities majors make money? Sure, they can become lawyers. And they can join the tech industry and write documentation. But what else?
Well, what about text analytics? Much of what I know about natural language processing (NLP) I learned from my friend Sharon Flank, who I met when she was a Slavic Linguistics PhD student at Harvard. My partner in first figuring out search engines — and later in running Elucidate — was my wife Linda Barlow, a 15-times-published novelist who’s also taught English at the college level. And Olivier Jouve’s education is in paleontology, although whether or not that’s a humanity is a sort of borderline definitional issue.
So I ask you all: Is text analytics a fruitful area for humanities majors to find lucrative careers? All insight would be appreciated. If the news is good enough, I’ll do my part in publicizing it to university placement offices and the like.
I’ve started out by asking Attensity (David Bean) and Clarabridge (Sid Banerjee). Attensity turns out to hire humanities students most years, both as full-time employees and interns. Linguistics students are the top priority, but language students and other language-friendly types are of interest as well. David is even involved in trying to set up a computational linguistics certification program at the university where he teaches part-time. And Clarabridge, the much younger company of the two, has over the past year used humanities majors quite successfully as well, for multiple aspects of ontology-building.