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What I Did with My Degree

Graduates of our programs in linguistics and literature write about their professional life after Bar-Ilan

 

Dr. Gila Fartuk

Organizational Consulting and Executive Coaching

Maayan Sarig

Content Editor

Miriam Schwab

Web Development and Marketing

Gil Shidlansik

Senior Software Engineer

Mor Seban

Technical writer

Tzippy Snir

High School English Teacher

Nofar Spalter

Computer Programmer

 

Add your own story!

 

 

Dr. Gila Fartuk

Organizational Consulting and Executive Coaching

In the past years there has grown to be a great interest in issues such as Emotional Intelligence, Communication, Interpersonal Communication and the Importance of Language – verbal and non-verbal. In my career as an Organizational Consultant  (HOT-communication company 6,000 employees, Mirs Communications Ltd.-cellular operator 1,000 employees, and others), I combine what I have learned in my years of study for my PhD in Psycholinguistics (Interpersonal metafunction in schizophrenic speech) with direct experience in the business world (Partner Communication Ltd./Orange, Pelephone Communication Ltd., and others).

I implement my knowledge of Psycholinguistics in processes inside and outside organizations, since one of the most important elements of success in organizations is using language to optimize Human Resources, and the interaction between its components.

  1. Sales: the best salespersons show understanding and identification with customers' needs through language.
  2. Customer Service and Retention: the service of a consultant to customers should be proactive to establish trust.
  3. Management: the reason number one why people leave their workplace is their direct manager. Positive communication with subordinates brings out their creativity and enthusiasm.
  4. Executive and Business Coaching: existing communication must be mapped onto other factors in the organization, and  recommendations must be developed on the best ways to improve communication, mainly through language.
  5. Employee interaction with other factors in the organization: Strong verbal abilities are highly appreciated in meetings and other interactions. It is not only the ability to speak – but rather to design and influence emotions, feelings and ideas, and to reach understandings with others.

Choose to learn what your heart yearns, fulfill your destiny, and success and prosperity will follow.

 
 

Maayan Sarig

Content Editor, Jerusalem College of Technology (JCT) - Machon Lev

I work as the Content Editor at the Jerusalem College of Technology (JCT) – Machon Lev. My job is very versatile; over the past year of working here I have pretty much utilized every writing skill I acquired during my degree, from writing journal articles and press-releases to editing research papers and promotional material. After graduating, I was surprised at the amount of jobs available for someone with an English degree; but the fact of the matter is, everyone needs to produce materials and now, more than ever, everyone needs to produce content in English. My degree definitely aided me in producing better quality work, from teaching me how to properly organize and articulate my argument, which is essential with anything you write, to teaching me the value of self-editing.

 

Miriam Schwab

Co-CEO and Founder, Illuminea Web Development and Marketing

I received my BA from Bar-Ilan University. I loved my studies at Bar-Ilan, because studying there not only taught me to appreciate literature and art, but how to think critically. I learned to make a case and argue a point, to approach issues from many angles, and to appreciate diversity and uncertainty.
 
I left Bar-Ilan with mad writing and editing skills, and landed my first job as a patent editor. I always loved writing, so I began to dabble in marketing writing, but I saw that the future lay in the web. So I began to teach myself to build websites. My ability to write well and make a persuasive argument helped me market my new services online via blogging and participation on social networks. Today, illuminea is one of the leading WordPress development agencies in Israel, with a fabulous staff of seven.
 
So here I am - managing a web development company in Jerusalem and having a great time, and yet I often find myself recollecting the days when I could sit around discussing the virtues of a Shakespearean text or the weirdness of Dante. Those were wonderful days, and I am so grateful that I had the privilege of studying with the fine teachers at Bar-Ilan's English Department.
 
 

Mor Seban

Technical Writer

Back in 2008, when I enrolled at Bar-Ilan University, I let my heart lead me to the English Literature building. Worried family members and friends announced that I was going to find myself unemployed, or worse, an English teacher. But after only one semester I knew that they were wrong. I felt I was being taught by the best literature scholars in Israel. The English Lit. program at Bar-Ilan broadened my mind in ways I never imagined possible. I was taught how to think, analyze and criticize texts, and also improved my writing skills.

In my last semester I took a course with the boring title: Technical Writing. What sounded so mundane turned out to be a valuable writing skill and, eventually, my career. During the course I learned of the Technical Writing world, which I hadn’t known existed. In the past decade, technical Writers have become an essential asset in every respectable high-tech company, exclusively responsible for the entire company’s documentation field.

After graduation I took a professional course in Technical Writing which included an internship, and six months later I was on a direct path to the high-tech industry. I now work as a technical writer in an international software company based in Tel Aviv, proving those worried family members and friends wrong, and doing what I love.

 

Gil Shidliansik

Senior Software Engineer

A programmer by day, and a writer by night - these two worlds seem on opposite ends of a spectrum to many. My current job has to do with high tech and computers (and has for most of my adult life) – and I still chose to do my BA in English Literature.

My motivations were pretty clear at the time: I wanted to become an author (in English), and felt a better understanding of English Literature, the Classics, and writing would help me along.

Only later I learned the meaning words had in my life, which goes beyond work and studies.

I honestly believe words create. We shape our reality, world and understanding of both with our words, our imagination. We must pay careful attention to the things we say, when we say them, and how we say them – in order to fashion our world to our liking.

A degree in English Literature will not prepare you for a job in Hi-Tech (although a wonderful course in Technical Writing will get you to the vicinity which is great) – it will however

  • Teach you about the origins of our society, culture and world - through a literary, philosophical and historical overview of the past. I believe understanding and appreciating where we can from and how we came from there is paramount to better understand our own persons, views and ideas
  • Teach you how to read closely – how to read a poem (and appreciate it), how to read a short story and explore its wonders, how to read a novel, and how to read a work a few times, with care, to really understand and appreciate its medium
  • Teach you how to write better – how to convey yourself properly, how to form and convey an argument, how to write academically, and through this and close reading – to better value words, to use them more effectively and to communicate better

It is clearer every day, especially in the technological part of the workforce, how the combination of the logical and the artistic/Humanities is beneficial to all sides. The written medium – whether in books, articles or websites and emails - grows all the time, and talented people with related skills are always in need.

I am thankful to/for the people I met during my studies, the wonderful assorted staff at Bar Ilan’s English Literature Department –

with a unique mix of distinguished members from all the best universities around the globe – for allowing me the opportunity to learn these skills. They serve me every day.

Choose from your hearts, knowing hard work and determination is required. You’ll enjoy yourselves immensely.

 

Tzippy Snir

High School English Teacher

 My name is Tzippy Snir, mother of four, high school English teacher and graduate of Bar-Ilan University. I got my Bachelor's degree in English Literature in 2003 and continued to get my teaching certificate in English. Since graduating I have been putting my degree to good use. I taught English for many years in elementary school and recently started to teach English on the high school level, where I prepare students for the bagrut exams.
 
Growing up in Israel in the 1980s, and learning English over 15 years ago in an Israeli high school, I was not given the tools necessary for analyzing literary texts. This was one of the great benefits of studying English Literature at Bar-Ilan. I was exposed to a whole new approach of looking into the world of literature. I can still feel the tug of joy and sadness while experiencing the  blooming romance between Mr. Rochester and Jane Eyre, or the anger at the social injustices in Toni Morrison’s Beloved – both works which we studied in Bar-Ilan. 
 
Today, thankfully the high school English program is a much richer one than the program that I experienced. The fairly new program of the Literature logs has become part of the English bagrut. I feel confident that I am sharing the tools that I was taught while learning in the English department at Bar-Ilan.   When I see the spark in my students' eyes that can only come from connecting with a complicated storyline, I know that we’re on the right track.  I’m looking forward to many more years of creativity for both me and my students.
 
 

Nofar Spalter

Computer Programmer

I got my professional training as a computer programmer in the army, and was encouraged there by my colleagues to learn something that I really love, instead of computer science. So I began studying English Literature as my Major and Computer Science as my Minor. After about two years (I started my degree while in the army, and so studied "part-time") I discovered that I loved everything about my English Lit degree, while the only thing that I enjoyed about my Computer Science degree was the math, and that part was quickly coming to an end.

So I switched to a full time English Lit degree, and I have thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed it. I know: how decadent of me, to actually enjoy the degree that I'm taking. This year I will be finishing my MA in English while managing the system mainframe team at Israel's largest bank, and heading three major computer infrastructure projects as a project manager.

For the pragmatically minded student who wants to know how an English Lit degree has helped me in my professional life as a computer programmer, the answers are as follows:
  • I have learned to clearly present a written argument and defend it. This has proven invaluable in my line of work, as much of my job involves researching several solutions for a problem, picking the one that I believe is best, and then defending my choice. 
  • I have learned to carefully, carefully read, particularly what "goes without saying" or is between the lines. This has saved me from making embarrassing mistakes because of fuzzy documentation, and has allowed me to catch vendors trying to "get away with murder" several times.
  • My English has improved to such a degree that I'm called to translate and clarify during many conference calls with labs from abroad, as well as when vendor representatives from the US (and elsewhere) arrive to our department. They have also helped me be first in line when it comes to being sent to conferences and courses in the US and in Europe, as I usually manage to make the most out of such opportunities (no language barrier problems). 
All of these skills, learned in the English department, have made me a better computer programmer, a better system administrator, a better project manager, and a better manager in general. And I sincerely doubt that I could have learned these skills anywhere else.
 
   

 

 

* If you are a graduate of the Department of English Literature and Linguistics and would like to write here about how studying for a degree in the department has fit into your professional path, contact Dr. Shapira: shapira.yael@biu.ac.il

Last Updated Date : 13/02/2017