Here are the three most common career areas for our Linguistics major alumni. We have graduates working in every other imaginable sector as well, including healthcare, non-profits, entertainment, and law! See below for some featured alumni profiles.
- Marketing/Human Resources – Content Writer, Editor, Director of Marketing, Communications Coordinator, Operations Manager, Research Analyst. Students reliably find employment in this field with just a Linguistics major, although double-majoring in another field of interest (such as Economics, Communication, or a world language) is certainly a good option.
- Computing/Technology – Software Developer, Software Engineer, Research Engineer, Technical Services Analyst, Training Instructional Designer. Students interested in this field should add a major or certificate in Computer Science or Data Science.
- Education – English Teacher, World Language Teacher, Literacy Program Coordinator, Educator Vetting Coordinator, ESL Tutor. Students interested in this area might consider adding a second major or certificate such as TESOL, Educational Policy Studies, or a world language.
- And More – ESports Tournament Coordinator, County Park Land Steward, Magazine Art Director, Physical Therapist, Court Clerk.
My training in linguistics has been really helpful in two very different ways. On the one hand, it helps me when checking translated documents for accuracy and consistency at work; knowing how grammatical case works, agreement and syntax helps me to understand when to flag a question to a linguist about a suspected error and when I can ignore inconsistencies with the English source due to the target language’s features. On the other hand, linguistics training has helped me become better in my job at root cause analysis (essentially investigating failure in the production process), since both linguistics and root cause analysis require systematic approaches to problem solving.
Manager of Director’s Office and Strategic Initiatives
Walker Art Center
My experience with the numerous subfields of linguistics – everything from phonetics and syntax to sociolinguistics and pragmatics – helped me build a particular capacity for understanding and moving between levels of multifaceted systems. I currently apply this capacity in my role as an arts administrator, primarily within museums and cultural organizations, where I am tasked with synthesizing, communicating, and making connections across distinct areas of complex institutions. In this context, I also enjoy applying my experience with linguistics toward investigating and evaluating such topics as culturally-specific modes of organizing information.
Bio: Naomi Crocker graduated from UW-Madison in 2009 with dual B.A.’s in Linguistics and Scandinavian Studies. Motivated by her experience teaching Swedish language and culture in language immersions contexts, Crocker returned to graduate school and earned her M.A. in Curriculum & Instruction (Second Languages & Cultures Education) and a graduate minor in International Education from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in 2013. Based in Minneapolis, she spent four years in concurrent roles as Executive & Consular Services Coordinator at the American Swedish Institute (ASI), as well as the Honorary Vice Consul for Sweden for the Upper Midwest (Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota). Since January 2020, Crocker has worked in the Executive Office of the Walker Art Center: one of the most-visited contemporary art museums in the United States, which bridges local, national, and international communities with its multidisciplinary exhibitions and programming.
My linguistics background informs my work by providing me with augmented knowledge of language and its component parts. This strong foundation allows me to more effectively evaluate and treat speech, language, and communication disorders, especially in culturally and linguistically diverse client populations.
Associate AI Engineer
Educational Testing Service
Linguistics has a heavy influence in how I do my current work in natural language processing and AI at ETS. I regularly rely on phonetics, phonology, and sociolinguistic principles to help me understand and improve our automated speech recognition systems, we draw from many sub-disciplines to develop valid testing and feedback for non-native English learners, and it motivates me to create technologies that are compatible with the diversity of human language.
Milwaukee County Parks
My B.A. gave me a wide and varied base knowledge that kept me prepared for the different work places I’ve found myself. My environmental studies major gave context to the climate crisis we face now and different ways to approach stakeholders. My linguistics training helped me reframe my conversations and make sure my language is inclusive and informative.
We periodically conduct interviews and alumni panel discussions with recent graduates, which is a great way to learn from your peers’ experiences. Watch these archived recordings conducted by Lydia Odegard and Kaitlin Koehler of the Language Institute, and keep an eye out for future events!
- Language Institute Event Archive features multiple career events, including recent Language & Linguistics career panels, a Language Careers Beyond Translation workshop, and more!
- Language and Linguistics Alumni Panel Discussion Fall 2020
- Interview with recent alum Melissa Hill, who majored in Linguistics and East Asian studies with a TESOL Certificate
- Language and Linguistics Alumni Panel Discussion Spring 2021, featuring Linguistics & French major Cady Gansen, who now works as a Research Engineer with Educational Testing Services.
If you are an alum who would like to be featured on this page, just send Becky an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with these items:
- Your job title
- Name of your employer
- A brief (2-3 sentence) statement about how your linguistics training helps you in your current role (in direct or indirect ways!)
- A favorite photo of you
We love hearing from all of our alumni!