Education. On two levels it's necessary for me. In addition to working toward a career in UX design I feel it is important to finish an undergraduate degree. I also know that in order to move into a lifelong, valuable, and enriching career in UX I need to get focused training in UX design.
Initially, I had hoped accomplishing these two tasks could be done at the same time. Perhaps in a program like Human Centered Design & Engineering at the University of Washington, but this program is geared toward traditional students and not very suitable for working professionals. I feared that I had missed the boat by not studying something similar while at school and that a program like HCDE would be necessary to get into UX. Talking to a few UX professionals, they reassured me that this wasn’t the only way. (I’ll talk more about this in an upcoming posts.)
So because I can’t quit my job and go back to school full time I have to focus on each task individually.
Today I’d like to talk about first completing my undergraduate degree and in the coming weeks I’ll talk about specific UX training/education.
Late last year I had my eye on completing my degree at the University of Washington and I was looking at Business Administration degree. A few things were driving me toward this degree like in-state tuition, evening classes, and the fact that I have about one and a half years of business type course completed. On the other side of the coin though there were some downsides to this plan; the evening classes are only offered at a campus that is an hour and a half bus commute away and, probably more importantly, I really wasn’t excited about the subject matter. Yes, I think a degree is very important but I also have to weigh my time and money into the equation as well as the usefulness of my degree in the career as a UX designer.
A few months ago I widened my search for schools and found Washington State University’s Online Bachelor's Degrees program. At WSU I would have in-state tuition; I would be able to take courses around my work schedule; and I would be more excited about the coursework I’d need to take to complete my degree.
So, I’ll be pursuing a Social Sciences degree with an emphasis in Administrative Studies, Communication, and Psychology. I’m excited about this degree as I’ll be able to tailor my coursework (particularly in the the communication and psychology emphases) in a way that I hope will contribute to my goal of UX design. For example, in one communication course I’ll be learning content creation and evaluation in several mediums that I hope will aid my design and reporting skills. Additionally several of the psychology courses will help me to design, conduct, and report on research studies which are a key part of the work I hope to one day do, of course, with a focus on user experience.
Courses start in the fall and I have high hopes for my education at WSU.