Are you interested in finding a place in a rapidly-growing industry with an average salary of more than $97,000 a year? Do you have a background in art, illustration, graphic design or web development? Are you simply looking for a fulfilling and exciting career change?
UX design is a rapidly growing industry and there are numerous resources out there for individuals who want to break into the field. In fact, there are a lot of UX designer jobs in San Francisco, New York, London, and Berlin. If you’re interested in building UX design skills, you may wonder whether it’s a good idea to enroll in a paid degree program, such as a UX design master, or if you can learn what you need to learn via reading books and using free online resources.
While there are a lot of free resources available to aspiring UX designers, going to school for UX design can help you learn the theories behind UX design, master the tools and processes you’ll need to succeed in the field and produce a portfolio that you can show to potential employers.
A Traditional Degree Program Makes It Easier to Break Into the Field
As with most fields, it’s hard to get an entry-level position in UX design without some experience. It’s not impossible; many determined professionals are now working in UX design after spending years absorbing free courses, podcasts and books; attending networking events; and creating their own opportunities. But earning a traditional college degree or UX design masters will help you transition into the field much more easily.
A traditional degree program teaches you the concepts behind UX design. It gives you a chance to master the tools and processes used in the industry and become familiar with industry jargon. It creates an environment in which you can learn to work on teams, network with peers and industry professionals and seek mentorship.
Yes, you could teach yourself all the concepts you’ll need to understand UX design by consuming free online courses in UX design, reading UX blogs, listening to UX podcasts and attending conferences, seminars and industry events. But, you may not know where to start, and you may not get the chance to apply what you’ve learned into projects that you can show to potential employers. Nor will your self-directed learning be structured in the same way that learning in a traditional academic environment will be. If you’re not someone who excels at self-motivation, self-discipline and self-teaching, you may not succeed at teaching yourself UX design.
Enrolling in a degree program gives you valuable time and space to ease into the field. You’ll form relationships with classmates who could later turn into important industry contacts. You’ll work on projects and build a portfolio. You’ll make contacts in the field. You’ll build credibility and get work experience through internships. You’ll emerge from the program in a much better position to land an entry-level job.
How to Choose the Right Degree Program
Once you’ve decided to enroll in UX design degree, you need to choose the right program. If you’re already working, you can choose an online masters program that will let you earn the credential on your own schedule and in your spare time, without the need to leave the workforce. This is often the most economical and pragmatic option, especially for adult students with families and other responsibilities.
If you prefer the traditional on-campus experience, consider where you want to live and work once you’ve completed your degree. You might want to attend a school in or near a tech hub, like Seattle or San Francisco. This will make it easier to get a job once you’ve graduated, but it’ll also make it easier to attend industry events, schmooze with UX professionals and build relationships that could help you get your foot in the door for your first job after graduation.
Are you dreaming of a well-paid and fulfilling career in the tech industry? Even if you’ve never worked in tech before, a UX design degree could help you break into the field. You’ll learn how to create stellar user experiences for websites, software and apps by making their interfaces more user-friendly. In return, you’ll enjoy a lucrative career in a dynamic and rapidly-growing field.