In this edition of Ask UXmatters, our experts discuss whether UX professionals need to have degrees or certifications in areas of study relating to user experience to practice in the field and the value that they provide.
In my monthly column, Ask UXmatters, a panel of UX experts answers our readers’ questions about a broad range of user experience matters. To get answers to your own questions about UX strategy, design, user research, or any other topic of interest to UX professionals in an upcoming edition of Ask UXmatters, please send your questions to: [email protected].
The year 2020 was a big one for many of us—and not for the best reasons. It was the year of COVID-19, the World Health Organization (WHO) Year of the Nurse; and working, teaching, and schooling from home. That year may also become known as the Year of User Experience—when UX design graduated from something nice to have to being essential.
According to a LinkedIn Learning survey of “The Most In-Demand Hard and Soft Skills of 2020,” UX design ranked #5 worldwide on their top-10 list of hard skills. User Experience dominated four of the top seven job titles in Onward Search’s world of creative, marketing, and technology careers. The 2020 Salary Guide placed product designers and UX designers in first and second place, respectively, with UI designer and user researcher in the fourth and seventh places. Read More
This is Part 2 of a three-part series on the state of UX design education. In Part 1, I discussed the role of undergraduate education in User Experience, including a comparison of design versus liberal arts and sciences programs and an examination of bachelor’s degree versus associate’s degree programs. Now, in Part 2, I’ll examine graduate degree and certificate programs and discuss how they might help or hinder a career in User Experience. Watch out for Part 3 next month, in which I’ll look at the future of User Experience and what hard and soft skills will be most in demand.
Needing Versus Wanting: Not the Same Thing
Before we dive into the question of whether UX professionals need a graduate degree, let’s first answer this question: does any professional ever really need a graduate degree? It’s true that some professions do require a master’s degree or the equivalent. If you want to be a doctor, lawyer, or librarian, you should plan to go to graduate school for your MD (Medicinae Doctor), JD (Juris Doctorate), or MS (Master of Science), respectively. If you want to climb the corporate ladder in business or finance or translate general business skills to a new industry, you’ll likely need an MBA (Master of Business Administration). Bear in mind that these are still edge cases. Most people working in the arts and humanities and many of the sciences have productive, successful careers without graduate degrees. Read More