Of Diamonds, Lamborghinis, and Liberal Arts Degrees

I’ve been thinking about how a broad based liberal education might be viewed in the future – basically, as a luxury. Knowledge stability in many professions, particularly those based on technology, change faster and faster every year. In the past 25 years worth of computer experience, I’ve learned and forgotten a couple dozen computer programming languages. It’s impossible for a developer to keep their toolbox current and sharp following a traditional educational format. It just isn’t agile enough to keep up. On-line resources and educational opportunities have greatly facilitated keeping current in the field of software development.

Contrast this with accounting or law, for example. Yes, the knowledge base of those professions change, too. But they change comparatively slower. Accounting rules are accounting rules and laws change at the pace of lawmakers. For subjects such as history, the knowledge base doesn’t change at all. Or at least it shouldn’t. The fact it gets processed through different subjective filters is another issue.