Different people have different talents and interests, however. For those who are passionate about the English language, an English degree might be a more appropriate choice for college and university studies. Who is the typical student who pursues such a degree? According to an Illinois university, that student is likely to be one who is more passionate about education than those in degree programs targeted more toward vocations. Some view graduates with degrees in English as caring about more than the financial rewards in life and as appreciating literature's artistic worth as it relates to articulating human nature, the website for this university contends.
Some of the well-known former college and university students who studied English, or English Literature, include Edward Estlin (E.E.) Cummings, Reese Witherspoon, Joan Didion, George Plimpton, Elizabeth Bishop and Matt Damon. While these former students of English followed career paths within the arts - literary and performing - an English degree recipient-turned-entrepreneur who serves as chief executive officer of an Internet company suggests that innovation is a product of the liberal arts.
English programs are a part of the liberal arts. The entrepreneur and English degree advocate, in a 2006 edition of a publication produced by a Washington university suggested that, because learning itself is the focus of liberal arts programs, students are better prepared for life. He likened liberal arts students to the "Swiss army knives" of employees in that, through reading, they might come to better understand a wide array of people and situations and in that they tend to be "generalists" able to communicate, manage and adapt.
While studying English in college, the entrepreneur served as public relations writer for a museum. Graduating with his English degree in hand, he worked first as communications director for a college and then in production and marketing for Microsoft, according to the Washington university article in A&S Perspectives. He has since established a company that designs websites, publishes a corporate Intranet site and designs Internet software programs and applications.
Technology itself has changed the arts in terms of digital video and photography, even the way that English degree recipients-turned authors are read. Books, fiction and non-fiction, are also available on hand-held readers as well as in audio format for iPods. The Illinois university contends that English is the international language, which could enhance worldwide job opportunities for these degree recipients interested in teaching English as a Second Language.