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Monday, March 21, 2011

Bill Gates vs Steve Jobs: What to Study in University?

There is an interesting debate that you can read in New York Times. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs have opposing ideas about hardware and software. Now, it seems that they have contrasting ideas even about university education. So, the two successful entrepreneurs have exactly opposite advice for students studying in University level. While Bill is all for Science and Engineering, Steve gives a lot of value to Liberal Arts.
Bill Gates of Microsoft has recently stated that USA should focus on subjects like Science and Engineering as most jobs are centered on these subjects. He also viewed that budget for Liberal Arts or Humanities subjects should be decreased. For him, the logic is crystal clear- the jobs are in science and engineering. USA is still trying to totally go out of the impact of economic recession. So, jobs really matter these days. Unless the jobs come back, it will be difficult to avoid another recession. Obviously, Bill Gates will receive support from many people from the business community in this matter.
On the other hand, Steve Jobs of Apple think that Liberal Arts subjects have not lost their value in our time. Instead, he think that Humanities subjects are now more relevant in the technology industry and the business world than any other time in the past. In the launching ceremony of iPad 2, he said, “It’s in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough—it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the result that makes our heart sing, and nowhere is that more true than in these post-PC devices”. Just the opposite view of Bill Gates- isn’t it?
New York Times has invited some academicians and business people to take part in this debate. Stephen Joel Trachtenberg president emeritus and Professor at George Washington University and a partner in Korn Ferry International thinks that both Gates and Jobs are right and USA needs both their ideas. Vivek Wadhwa (an Academician with an entrepreneur background) also thinks that both the two men are right. “Our society needs liberal-arts majors as much as it does engineers and scientists.” This is how he ended his article.
I wish that all of you reading this post would visit the link given at the beginning and read all the articles written at New York Times. As for my own idea, first of all, I do not live in the US. I studied English Literature and then ELT (English Language Teaching). Now, I blog mainly about gadgets and technology. Before that, my main focus in blogging was business and economy and sports. So, for the last 5 years, I absolute have no relationship with what I studied in university.
Yes, I joined Internet for money. At first, it was very difficult for me to handle all the pressure to manage the technical aspects of blogging. However, soon, I discovered that it was not that difficult that many of us think. Yes, I cannot code and make a blogging platform like WordPress. Surely, I can handle it enough to publish my writing and earn some money. Some of my friends still cannot understand how I can survive in Internet. I just say to them that it is not that difficult that they think.
What I am trying to say is that if you have a degree in Humanities, you do not need to be worried about the technology or business world. Just take care that you do not want to be a purist or perfectionist. I studied Shakespeare in my university days. I enjoyed some of his sonnets and some of his dramas. There is no problem for me to enjoy his sonnets even today. I tried not to be a perfectionist about my career and I ended up writing about computer, Internet, laptop and gadgets. At first, it was really difficult but I enjoyed it to some extent and now even if I can find a job in my own field (English), I would not leave blogging about business and technology because I enjoy blogging a lot.
Of course, I am an ordinary person with hardly any impressive track record. What I am just trying to say is that the days of just studying Humanities or Science are almost finishing. The new trend will be studying both of them. If you study Engineering for 5-6 years then why not take one year and study some Humanities courses. The same can be said about students studying Liberal Arts. 

1 comment:

  1. I think both have their own mindset and approach when it comes to what do people really need to take in a university.

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