There is no one-size-fits-all pathway to becoming a UX designer. Whether you pursue an undergraduate degree, enroll in a boot camp, or take online courses, consider how each option fits your learning style and personal goals. UX designers are in high demand by businesses because of the proven benefits of their work. Read on to learn how to start your UX design career journey.
Various degree programs and majors can prepare you to enter the UX field. For example, some aspiring designers earn non-UX degrees like art or psychology, then supplement their education with UX classes and a certification program. Others, however, take the more traditional route by enrolling in a UX-related Bachelor’s or Master’s degree. You’ve probably been asking yourself, what degree do I need to become a UX designer? There are various paths to becoming a UX designer, and the one that is best for you will rely on your situation and long-term professional objectives. Gaining practical experience through internships, entry-level jobs, personal projects, and participating in open-source design initiatives is essential in addition to learning the requisite technical skills, such as user research and strategy, wireframing, and prototyping.
Additionally, enrolling in a UX Design boot camp is an increasingly popular way to accelerate the skills development process and gain valuable industry experience and connections. If you’re considering a degree route, many universities and colleges offer programs specifically on user experience design. These degree paths typically combine art and design with technology and computer programming skills to provide the best foundation for a future in this field. Degree programs like this can assist you in developing a solid portfolio and give you the framework you need to increase your understanding of and proficiency in UX design and other crucial soft skills like design thinking. When deciding on a degree program, look for one with a good reputation and a structured, hands-on learning experience. It’s also important to consider whether the program is taught by UX professionals with extensive industry knowledge and expertise.
If you’re not interested in a formal degree, there are many other ways to learn the necessary skills for a UX design career. For example, interactive online courses and self-guided learning or UX communities can help you develop your skills.
Some of these educational routes are more time-consuming than getting a degree and may have hidden costs, such as materials, tools, travel expenses, and accommodation for in-person courses. However, they can be a great way to get started and network with other UX professionals. In addition, they can also be a great source of information about the latest UX trends and developments. Generally, the most successful UX designers have a combination of hard and soft skills. They can create compelling visual designs and make products intuitive for users.
Computer Science (CS)
When researching UX programs, make sure to ask about the qualifications of the instructors and professors. Look for those with experience in the field and evidence of positive career outcomes among their students. Also, consider how well the program fits your lifestyle and goals. Many programs offer flexibility in scheduling, allowing you to work around your current commitments while learning the essential skills for a successful career as a UX designer.
When selecting a university degree or program, find one that offers hands-on learning opportunities and allows you to apply your new knowledge immediately. It’s also important to find a program led by experienced UX professionals that provides networking opportunities with fellow designers. While a degree in programming may not seem like an obvious choice for those looking to become UX designers, it prepares students with the hard skills necessary for the job. Programming degrees allow students to learn the basics of front-end coding in various computer languages. Additionally, this major develops soft skills, such as communication and collaboration, that are critical for UX design.
For those who would like to return to school, several online resources can help you learn the required skills for a successful career in UX design. Reaching out to seasoned UX designers and asking for mentorship is another great way to learn from the experience of others and gain valuable network connections.
Human-Computer Interaction (HCI)
HCI is the study of how people and computers interact with each other. It’s a critical component of UX design because it allows companies to understand how different users use technology daily and how they can better design products for those needs. For example, a person with a visual or hearing impairment may need larger text, text-to-speech capabilities, or specialized keyboard commands to use a computer. HCI helps designers and other professionals in the tech industry ensure that all these users can fully enjoy their digital experiences by giving them the tools they need to interact with technology. An HCI degree covers ergonomics, human behavior and interaction, usability and accessibility, user research and analysis, and UI prototyping. Combined with a background in computer science, HCI is a perfect foundation for UX/UI design. HCI programs typically include a thesis or capstone project, meant to be an empirical study of a specific user-centered problem and applying research results to design a product. This hands-on learning experience is essential to becoming a successful UX designer, and it’s one of the things that sets an official degree apart from other paths to becoming a UX/UI designer—like boot camps or self-directed education. These routes can also be very helpful, but a UX degree will allow you to collaborate and network with other students and build your portfolio.
An English degree may seem like a strange choice for someone pursuing a career in UX design. However, all designers need to be able to communicate their ideas in writing clearly. Moreover, English majors often have excellent organizational skills for future careers. Another benefit of pursuing an English degree is that it allows students to understand other people’s cultures better. This is particularly important in a field such as user experience, where empathy with other people’s experiences is an essential skill. Lastly, an English degree also gives students a good background in the rules of grammar. Adhering to the strict rules of grammar helps avoid confusion and misunderstandings when communicating with others.
While the degrees listed above are the most common for those pursuing a UI/UX design career, there are several other ways to get involved in this exciting and growing field. One popular option is to enroll in a UI/UX design boot camp. These programs are more flexible and affordable than a traditional college degree, providing a great way to get hands-on experience in the field. In addition, many UI/UX design boot camps offer certification, which can be a valuable credential to include on your resume.