‘Major’ Accomplishments: Being A Hired Comm Major

When I first swapped majors from English to Communications, I was initially greeted with some very immediate and disturbing reactions from peers. What surprised me most, was the notion that Communications majors “don’t have homework” or “aren’t a practical major“. Now that I am graduated, have a job, and spend weekends at home, I finally have the free time to address this issue. Politely. Sort of. (This is going to be a long one folks)

I’m going to don the hipster shades for this one.

In college, there are essentially two types of Communications majors; the ones who swap because they deem it an ‘easy‘ major, and those that genuinely realize it’s what they want to do. I was of the latter category. From there, those who actually care about it often shoot off into subcategories like Film, Media, Journalism, Photography, Radio, etc. Overwhelmingly, I’ve observed that those who pursue one subcategory tend to gain experience in all the others by default; communications studies are inherently interconnected.

For example, have you ever seen this map before? Granted, it is a bit outdated, but most Communications scholars have. Image courtesy of Principles of Making Money. Click to embiggen.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that in today’s fast-paced environment, employers don’t just want the ‘traditional’ majors: developers/coders, social media mavens, and multi-platform journalists are all hot items. However, most students studying communications are looked down upon for being ‘less academic‘. Why is that?

Well, it has a lot to do with the popularity of viral images and stereotypes that being a scholar of Communications is an easy task. If you are taking Comm because its ‘easy’, you might be shocked at how deceivingly hard it can be.

In a book I read recently, The Digital Divide (edited and introduced by Mark Bauerlein, infamous author of The Dumbest Generation), contributor Marc Prensky introduces the concept of ‘digital natives‘. To be concise (and save you time and patience) he argues that today’s society has developed a new ‘language’ and that those who do not adopt this new language are ‘digital immigrants‘. Boil that down and simplify a bit and the bottom line is, traditional majors are becoming outdated unless they also learn Communications skill sets. I could cite countless other examples of the effect of communications tech, but you should really just read the book.

To learn more about the ‘digital native / digital immigrant’ concept, visit Marc Prensky’s website. This image courtesy of Ashleigh Graham’s Edublog.

So if you are a current student at any college or university studying Communications and someone tells you that your major isn’t “useful” or going to get you a job, consider this article and handing them a copy The Digital Divide (its pretty cheap on Amazon).

Please, comment away 🙂

Author’s Note: I am not against traditional majors, and this post does not reflect the ideas or ideology of any corporate entity.

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11 thoughts on “‘Major’ Accomplishments: Being A Hired Comm Major

  1. Pingback: Digital Natives / Digital Immigrants: The Revisit | City Gopher

  2. Hey!
    Thanks a lot for this article; very encouraging. I am a Communications major as well, and I get so ticked off when people immediately trivialize what I do. People are so quick to jump the gun and generalize all Arts/Comm students as being lazy or stupid. (WHICH IS NOT TRUE, OF COURSE!)

    I was (sort of) beginning to believe what they were saying at one point, but it’s good to know, after reading a couple of articles, that you can make something out of yourself with a supposedly “useless” degree. Cheers, and keep writing! xx

  3. This is a great post. A dear friend of mine is a journalism major and is stuck in a low-paying job at the local paper because that’s all he could get. Why? Because he picked the “easy major” – his passion is not in journalism or even communications but something altogether different. I think that if you are passionate about it then you will be successful. If you’re just looking for the easy way out, it’s not going to do you a lick of good.

  4. Love it. I was a theater major, so can kind of relate! I use my untraditional college training every day in the corporate world. Good luck on your continuing adventures!

  5. Way to go! Communications is not an easy major by any means! Glad that you followed your passion and are forging ahead. The digital age is so new and many have not figured it out yet…it is all about communication of information.. Happy SITS Day!

  6. I like your post especially the map which I’ve never seen. Communication is something that is hard to get a grasp on if you are an outsider like I am. I try and keep up on the relevant and ignore the fad. It is so hard to notice the forest when you are looking at a leaf. It’s interesting to me to read this today since I just posted an unfocused blog on ramping up my blog. I’m in the middle of a lot of new information but will have to pick and choose which direction(s) are worth my time. Again thanks for the thoughtful post. Enjoy your SITS Day.

  7. I don’t understand why people would think it’s not a real major. We all need to communicate in different ways with different people. Some people choose to study and perfect the art of getting ideas from one person to another.

  8. Sciences, engineering, business, etc. will probably always be put at the top of the “most practical majors” list. But I’ve been out of college for more than 10 years and think communications degrees are taken more seriously now (in this social media-driven culture) than then…

  9. My hub majored in “mass media studies” and has had no trouble finding work in his field – it’s a great degree to have. It’s unfortunate that some people don’t understand the value of a communications degree.

  10. I feel personally compelled to leave a comment because I studied advertising in college and was faced with the same judgment. There was a huge emphasis on communication in my classes and I think it’s just like any other major: lots of work and dedication IS required. Just as perspectives shift after high school, our perspectives shift after college. Some people think they have it all figured out, when in reality, there’s no way of knowing how you’ll feel about your major/career plan until you’re out there in the world. At least with a major like communication, you are in a more marketable spot if/when you decide to change professions. Try doing that if you’re pre-med!

    Whew! Sorry for the novel! Happy SITS Day to you 🙂

    -Sarah
    http://www.sweetandsavorylife.com
    http://www.facebook.com/sweetandsavorylife

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