HCI programming Recommendations

24 Mar 2010 - 9:18am
4 years ago
14 replies
4353 reads
gejoreni
2010

I am a psych student preparing to apply to HCI masters programs. I currently have very little programming background and would like to take some courses before I apply. I was hoping you might have some advice as to which language will be the most beneficial for me to concentrate on. Programming, C#, C++, java, Visual Basic

Or is the something I am missing?

Thanks is advance.

 

Comments

24 Mar 2010 - 12:55pm
Samantha LeVan
2009

I highly recommend looking at the level of programming you'd be expected to do at the programs you apply for. Some schools may expect little to no programming as there are plenty of prototyping tools available that don't involve Java or VB. An introductory programming or computer science course would help you understand how applications are created so you can better communicate with technical people in the workplace but it won't be enough to turn you into a coder.

If there are programming requirements for your masters program, look specifically for training in those languages. Otherwise, consider boning up on your Flash skills and if you have access to it, Axure.

24 Mar 2010 - 1:23pm
Miaoqi
2009

I would personally go for C++. However, it may be unnecessary, as you are not developing kinda of intensive application as an interaction designer. Otherwise, you can learn Java, especially for web stuff. you do not have to take programming class , just teach yourself and practice everyday, you will see the improvement then. Smile

24 Mar 2010 - 1:59pm
ezilarsan
2010

VB would be of good help in prototyping for Windows intensive application.  For creating mockups plain one without interaction i.e.only screen shots , it can be done with gomockingbird which is  very good one since it is currently free available (i think for limited time till they build there customer base).. and also all important  icons needed for  mockup.

 

24 Mar 2010 - 2:24pm
Susan Oslin
2010

My first inclination is to say focus on HTML/CSS/Javascript as these are the tools used for developing the UI.  However, having a solid understanding of Object Oriented Programming (OOP) and design patterns will go a long way, so learning a more structured language as a foundation is probably a good route to go.  Check to see what languages are being used for the OOP classes in your curriculum, it varies. Focus on learning solid programming principles and software architectures and less on picking a language.   Every company, environment, project uses a different set of technologies, but all rely on the same basic set of software design principles.

It's very hard to learn OOP strictly from the front-end.  If anyone knows of any good OOP javascript learning resources please share!

26 Mar 2010 - 5:50pm
Marak Squires
2009

I would highly recommend HTML/CSS/Javascript.

http://articles.sitepoint.com/article/oriented-programming-1

It should be noted that functional programming in JavaScript tends to be a lot easier to work with then trying to do classical OOP in JavaScript.

On Wed, Mar 24, 2010 at 6:55 PM, Susan Oslin <contact@ixda.org> wrote:

My first inclination is to say focus on HTML/CSS/Javascript as these are the tools used for developing the UI.  However, having a solid understanding of Object Oriented Programming (OOP) and design patterns will go a long way, so learning a more structured language as a foundation is probably a good route to go.  Check to see what languages are being used for the OOP classes in your curriculum, it varies. Focus on learning solid programming principles and software architectures and less on picking a language.   Every company, environment, project uses a different set of technologies, but all rely on the same basic set of software design principles.

It's very hard to learn OOP strictly from the front-end.  If anyone knows of any good OOP javascript learning resources please share!

(((Pl
24 Mar 2010 - 2:56pm
Carrie Burgener
2006

Just one more opinion to add to the pile...I would definately look at what the programming requirements are for the programs where you are applying, they vary pretty significantly.  A lot of programs are actually setup to teach non-programmers from the beginning on, so you might not need to take the classes ahead of time.

If you do want to start teaching yourself, I would consider the types of things you want to be doing after you graduate...are you interested in HCI for the Web? Mobile Apps? Desktop Apps?  And choose your programming language/enviornment accordingly. 

Once you master the broader programming concepts with your first language, it is fairly easy to learn the syntax for an additional language.

Just my two cents.

Carrie

24 Mar 2010 - 9:33pm
gejoreni
2010

Thank you everyone for the great insight. I am mostly interested in desktop applications and OSs. As well as physical interactions ie. keyboard design, mouse design etc. I know a lot of Flash, and I currently use that to prototyping. I will write the programs I am applying to and ask what their labs use mostly.

I am applying to Iowa, Indiana, and Gatech ( all masters). I will also be applying to the UCF Human Factors PhD.

 

25 Mar 2010 - 12:53am
ezilarsan
2010

Desktop applications  -  adobe air , flash, catalyst and visio.  Visio is very good for  windows  based desktop application.

 

25 Mar 2010 - 5:25pm
maureenhanratty
2009

I was in the same boat you were in when I was applying to master's HCI programs (I wound up going to University of Michigan.) The requirement for our program was 2 semester programming courses (you could also elect to pass an exam to get credit for the requirement.) I took C++ and it did help me understand some basic programming concepts and helped me to easily pass the 2nd programming course I took in grad school.

Definitely look at the requirements of your program but also look at the classes you want to take and what you'll be building in them. Even though you want to do desktop OS stuff chances are you'll be doing some web-based stuff in school so learning HTML/CSS/Javascript is highly recommended (it's often expected that you know these languages when you enter the job market.) Make a project for yourself to code a portfolio site or blog and you'll be on your way.

25 Mar 2010 - 9:38pm
Joshua Muskovitz
2008

For desktop work, learn C# and the UI and Event Handling portions of the .NET framework. If you really want to know what it takes to turn wireframes into code, learn C, then C++, then Python, then C#.

For the web, HTML, CSS, and Javascript.

26 Mar 2010 - 5:50pm
Moisés Rangel
2009

i recommend iu focus on python, it´s a easy to learn language but very powerful with a very active community; few links may help you:     http://diveintopython.org/ http://www.learningpython.com/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Python_(programming_language)    
  2010/3/24 gejoreni <contact@ixda.org>

I am a psych student preparing to apply to HCI masters programs. I currently have very little programming background and would like to take some courses before I apply. I was hoping you might have some advice as to which language will be the most beneficial for me to concentrate on. Programming, C#, C++, java, Visual Basic

Or is the something I am missing?

Thanks is advance.

 

(((Plea
26 Mar 2010 - 5:50pm
tkbittner
2010

From a purely user experience perspective I'd have two goals:
1) Understanding programming to work with programmers effectively
2) Creating prototypes

Exactly what language you use is probably less important unless there is a specific business you want to work in that is dominated by that type.
Two broad tracks I see are:
1) Web (Recommend Open Source HTML > PHP > MySQL)
2) Application (from where I sit I'm seeing lots of Microsoft)
The first is probably the most accessible and useful. If you don't already know it I'd say learning HTML is a must, then CSS, and then possibly JavaScript.

Hope that helps,
Tom
 
> To: tkbittner@hotmail.com
> Subject: [IxDA] HCI programming Recommendations
> From: contact@ixda.org
> Date: Wed, 24 Mar 2010 12:11:33 -0500
>
> I am a psych student preparing to apply to HCI masters programs. I currently
> have very little programming background and would like to take some courses
> before I apply. I was hoping you might have some advice as to which language
> will be the most beneficial for me to concentrate on. Programming, C#, C++,
> java, Visual Basic
>
> Or is the something I am missing?
>
> Thanks is advance.
>
>  
>
>

26 Mar 2010 - 5:50pm
William Hudson
2009

I would suggest Java as first choice since it is platform and vendor neutral. My second choice would be C# but that is very much Microsoft-specific. (I am a long-standing C++ developer but it is harder to learn than the other two and is much less common these days.)

Visual Basic is very useful for programming Microsoft Office, but their again you are voting the Microsoft ticket (not necessarily a bad thing, but possibly more limiting).

Regards,

William Hudson Syntagm Ltd Design for Usability UK 01235-522859 World +44-1235-522859 US Toll Free 1-866-SYNTAGM mailto:william.hudson@syntagm.co.uk http://www.syntagm.co.uk skype:williamhudsonskype

Syntagm is a limited company registered in England and Wales (1985). Registered number: 1895345. Registered office: 10 Oxford Road, Abingdon OX14 2DS.

-----Original Message----- From: ixdaor@host.ixda.org [mailto:ixdaor@host.ixda.org] On Behalf Of gejoreni Sent: 24 March 2010 18:19 To: William Hudson Subject: [IxDA] HCI programming Recommendations

I am a psych student preparing to apply to HCI masters programs. I currently
have very little programming background and would like to take some courses
before I apply. I was hoping you might have some advice as to which language
will be the most beneficial for me to concentrate on. Programming, C#, C++,
java, Visual Basic

Or is the something I am missing?

Thanks is advance.

 

(

26 Mar 2010 - 5:50pm
Charlie Robbins
2009

I would suggest Javascript. People may disagree with me, but Javascript is the language of UX on the web (excluding things like Actionscript [Flash], or C# [Silverlight]).

So as such, Javascript is a much more practical language to know once you leave school and can be very useful while you're in school. For example Processing.js is an implementation of the Processing media and graphics framework in javascript ... people are doing amazing things with it (http://processingjs.org/).

Best of luck,
Charlie

On Wed, Mar 24, 2010 at 2:16 PM, gejoreni <contact@ixda.org> wrote:

I am a psych student preparing to apply to HCI masters programs. I currently have very little programming background and would like to take some courses before I apply. I was hoping you might have some advice as to which language will be the most beneficial for me to concentrate on. Programming, C#, C++, java, Visual Basic

Or is the something I am missing?

Thanks is advance.

 

(
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