View Full Version : Getting a Job

April 8th, 2007, 08:18 PM
I recently graduated university with a bachelor's degree in Linguistics. I'm fluent in Chinese and Japanese (and English), and despite the news talking about globalization and the need for people who can overcome language barriers, when it comes to a real job search, I can't find anything good. As a result, I'm working two jobs just to get by. One as a tour guide for Japanese tourists, and a second as a server at a restaurant (and despite the need for bilingualism in a difficult language, the restaurant job pays better than the tour job). </intro>

So, I was wondering how long it you think it would take to get into the IT industry doing programming or something else. What areas pay the best? I have very little programming experience at the moment. I have taken a class in Java and studied some PERL on my own, but not a lot. Back in high school, I also learned VAX Basic, but nobody was using that even then (that's what happens when you take computer classes in Idaho high schools). So, where would be a good place to start? Any suggestions for getting into the industry without a CS or related degree? Any help would be appreciated.

By the way, I'm not sure if it makes any difference, but I'm in Las Vegas.

Macintosh Sauce
April 8th, 2007, 10:44 PM
Unless you are willing to move to a foreign country (e.g. India, China, etc.) to secure an entry level IT job, I personally would not recommend becoming a computer programmer. I graduated as a Computer Analyst/Programmer in June 2002, and I have yet to secure an entry level position. Bloody outsourcing!

I decided to go back to school to become a Mathematics middle/high school teacher, since I have always been very strong in Mathematics, and I care very much about education. As for programming, I will just create programs for my own use, etc.

H.E. Pennypacker
April 8th, 2007, 10:54 PM
I am terribly sorry you have a BA in Linguistics. That sounds like a degree most employers have no interest in. Sure, everyone wants an employee who can speak other languages, but that's only if you already come with other assets. In other words, being bilingual is only useful if you also have something else you're good at. For example, a lawyer who can speak different languages in order to, say, help Spanish clients, would be a good prospective employee. Being able to communite with your Spanish clients, and not have a law degree....well, they may as well hire someone who can do everything.

I'd suggest you look into support jobs..such as a secretary, where an employer may see you as being a benefit to customers/clients. You could also being a translator. They seem to make enough money.

As for programming, I am not sure what good a bilingual programmer is.

April 9th, 2007, 12:02 AM
1) What exactly are you looking to do?

2) For experience, do some volunteer work using your language skills.

3) For a paying job, look to the hotels. They may may not be your ideal job, but they will give you an income while you look for your dream job.

April 13th, 2007, 01:36 AM
The only thing I'm sorry about is the negative response from other members about your linguistics degree. Sure there are jobs! Of course, the job might not be under the title "linguist" but rather something more specific.

check out: http://www.linguistlist.org/jobs/index.html

If you want to do programming, check out the computational linguistics MA program at the University of Washington. It is in the linguistics department, and many students come in with little programming experience. In that case, they have some "ramp-up" classes to get you acquainted with programming. In my case, I am a computer science graduate (to be... in about 4 months) with some linguistic experience and fluency in Japanese (and moderately Spanish). I was accepted for the next school year. The program is 1 year full time or 2 years part-time.


you can also check out their "jobs postings" page to see what sort of options exist for graduates of the program: http://depts.washington.edu/uwcl/twiki/bin/view.cgi/Main/JobList

good luck!

April 13th, 2007, 03:07 AM
Courts need translators.
Companies need translators for their documentation/software.
There are specialist translation companies out there.
The UN.

Theres more but i cant think of them right now.

April 13th, 2007, 04:31 AM
A friend of mine (who's Chinese) got a job at this company near Boston a couple months ago --> http://www.lionbridge.com I haven't talked to him since he left, but I'm pretty sure he was working on translating software (his degree was in mechanical engineering, but he prefered coding).

April 13th, 2007, 05:28 AM
I'm not sure if you've ever looked into writing, but having someone who can speak different languages might be appealing to a relatively newspaper, although I'm not sure what kind of pay they would be able to provide. If not, other members have already mentioned trying translator positions, which I think can be very nice. A few of my friends went into translating, and they now make a fairly good living and have quite a significant amount of time to dedicate to other things.

At the moment, programming is quite a competitive industry, and I think that you would have trouble finding entry-level positions. I think that a degree in Linguistics can definitely help you out in finding a job that you like, you just need to find what it is that you'd like to do.