While proper essay writing and a good understanding of the English language are still important when it comes being successful as a writer, editor, web developer, or whatever other careers an English major might be interested in, the internet and social media have opened up new, more successful pathways for English students. While reading Shakespeare is entertaining and teaches the reader how to develop plot twists and interesting characters, does Romeo & Juliet teach a student anything when it comes to getting a job?
As an English major, of course I enjoy Shakespeare and other traditional English courses like American Literature and Milton. However, as an English major focusing in professional writing, I find that courses that discuss HTML and web development are much more helpful than courses on literature. As a senior, I am taking more and more classes that are specific to my major. In other words, four of my five classes that semester all focus on some sort of web writing, from HTML to online collaboration apps to Adobe InDesign and Photoshop. While, all these classes are helpful, I simply get tired and sick of staring at a computer screen all day when the first couple years of my college education focused on textbooks and notes.
The only class I have this semester that is not computer-based is Shakespeare. And, boy, is it refreshing. While there may not be as many takeaways than my professional writing courses, I find myself appreciating Shakespeare more because it is different from all of the other things I am learning this semester.
New English courses are arising and are indeed more useful than Shakespeare and other literature courses when finding a job, but traditional English courses still have a place in education.