Importance of Data Analysis for Graduates of Social Science and Humanities

By Mahnoor & Safa | 04 July 2022

There are a growing number of prestigious universities and institutes across Pakistan, from which graduates take pride in being associated with. Many of them have completed their undergraduate degrees in subjects such as Economics, Politics, Anthropology and Sociology and more. However, there is often a sense of loss and confusion amongst many of them once they begin to search for decent jobs in their fields. Once they are thrown out in the real world with its ever-changing economy they find themselves getting rejected, not just from their dream jobs but also jobs they thought they would be ‘settling for’ .

The reason is that they are often not ‘prepared’ for the practical world. They have written endless essays on  abstract theories, can critically analyze random sentences in a newspaper, can accumulate large followings on social media for social and political commentary, can probably win more dining room debates, but often go blank in front of an excel sheet. They mention random research papers they worked on their CV, hoping no company they apply to goes through the data part too rigorously because they do not quite know how they pulled that off either. When the interviewer asks questions about the various comprehensive data driven graphs they used in their final year project, their mic stops working suddenly, because they had a random kind Computer Science major do those, who is certainly not around to get them through this too.

In social sciences and humanities, having quantitative skills, knowing how to navigate, interpret and analyze data, is key for productive research. It is also key for making a wide range of jobs and work more efficient. And for these reasons, it is becoming increasingly essential for landing a decent job in today’s economy in more and more fields and professions.

Unfortunately, many of us with these supposedly esteemed degrees often lack these skills – Social Sciences and Humanities students having a sound applicable skill set in the likes of Python, Stata, R is considered an exception rather than a norm.

This is the demand of today’s transforming world – a demand that is only bound to keep growing. Renowned universities all around the globe are increasingly teaching their students quantitative skills to prepare them for the practical world and job market. These universities have made these quantitative courses compulsory for the programs that come under social sciences and economics, and the content of such courses are now considered pre-requisites for many jobs and internships. Even if these skills are not prerequisites, they are a valuable addition to a person’s, especially a fresh graduate’s resume – often giving them a competitive edge over other capable candidate. In an interview with the regional manager at Coke, he said, “There are at least 100 candidates for one vacancy. What makes your CV stand out are your skills and certifications. These skills compensate for a low GPA as well.” These basic quantitative research skills can help fresh graduates make their place in the job market relatively faster than those without this skillset.

Furthermore, for those who think they find it incredibly boring or for those who feel like they struggle extra with the quantitative side and prefer to work more on qualitative work – having such skills is still helpful and worth struggling for. It allows you to be more effective in your qualitative work and research as well, and these skills are widely applicable and can often come in handy. Basically, it opens doors for you even if you do not intend on being a data analyst, and you can take it as almost a guarantee that investing in learning quantitative skills, regardless of your degree/major, would not be a waste.