Hired a recent undergrad? If so, which school/program?

29 Mar 2010 - 8:16pm
6 years ago
8 replies
1663 reads

I'm trying to figure out which schools are churning out good candidates to fill junior IxD positions, and what these schools are calling the degree undergraduates receive (our HR department needs a better understanding). Schools in Southern California would be of particular interest since that's where we're located.

That said, if anyone steers clear of hiring recent undergrads (favoring instead graduate students or only those with a minimum level of real-world experience---regardless of education), I'd love to hear your thoughts.



29 Mar 2010 - 9:46pm

Georgia Tech has several excellent programs. The best programs for graduate students are Digital Media and Human, Computer, Interaction. They also have students coming out of Industrial Design that would make excellent candidates since the curriculum for all Georgia Tech students has a large computer science focus.

The GVU center at Georgia Tech is an interdisciplinary research center where different academic fields contribute to research in human centered computing. You can find a list of all the graduate students in these programs at the following link:


Most students have a portfolio online if you do a search. I'm not sure why they aren't linked here already. All these programs have demos throughout the year where companies come to check out projects and recruit. I am a graduating Digital Media master's student and we were required to complete a graduate internship between our first and second year. I've continued to work at my internship and think that many graduate students in the program have had a similar experience.


29 Mar 2010 - 9:49pm

Sorry I also read that incorrectly. The undergraduate program at Georgia Tech to look at is computational media.

30 Mar 2010 - 12:26pm

Perhaps I wasn't clear. Frown

I realize that IxD is widely considered a graudate level discipline... but I suspect there are plenty of good IxDs who don't have graduate degrees, so I'm curious -- now that higher education offers a wider array of programs -- whether anyone is hiring, or has hired, recent undergraduates to fill junior positions. If so, from which schools/programs?

Actually, even if you haven't hired, are there new undergrad programs from any school that you'd consider candiates from?

Again, if you steer clear of fresh-out-of-school candidates (for whatever reason) or if "any design related BS/BA will do, but you'll have to train them" ... please chime in.


30 Mar 2010 - 3:28pm
Charles Hannon

This is also not what you are looking for, but I think this is an interesting take on the oft-debated question of what degree/preparation is best for people getting into IXD. I would put in a plug for liberal arts undergrads with a major in information technology, and perhaps a double major in something like Psychology, or English, or a language. I teach in a program called Information Technology Leadership--the students take HCI, and programming, and database, and Java, and project management, etc., but they also have a grounding across the disciplines, including a smattering or research methods that are highly applicable. If a company is considering hiring someone straight out of undergraduate school, a good liberal arts student is a better bet than someone more technical or narrowly focused IMHO. 

30 Mar 2010 - 8:41pm

At Georgia Tech, we have a major known as computational media, which preps undergrads for various fields such as design, movies, video games or anything. It's a joint program between College of Computing & School of literature, communications and culture. Students take classes such as Information design, visual design, intro to UI and so forth. Some undergrads have been hired to work as UX designers or visual designers.

And here is the website: http://lcc.gatech.edu/compumedia/

Hope this helps! :)

30 Mar 2010 - 10:10pm

Northeastern University has an undergraduate degree program in their school of computer science called "Information Science". While interaction design/human factors is not the sole purpose or path that this degree could lead students - it certainly has a lot of potential in the right areas of training.  The degree focuses on a comprehensive background of computer science, business, and psychology.

You can find out more about the program here: http://www.ccs.neu.edu

One of the great things that Northeastern does is 3 six month co-ops as part of their program so students get real world experience.  My company and especially my UX team continually look for potential students to bring in as co-ops that we can then give full-time offers to.  It is a great opportunity to make sure that the student is a fit in the industry, company, and team before bringing them on full time.  We already have had many success stories from this school.

Catherine Weeks - UX Lead

SeaChange International

31 Mar 2010 - 12:44am
Michael Jones

Digital Design / DAAP @ University of Cincinnati.  Solid communication fundamentals, strong internship placement facilitators. Students graduate with a couple co-ops under their belt, which sounds similar to what Catherine said about Northeastern. Plus their unique semester schedule means they can intern when everyone else is working (and when companies are busiest). We also frequently hire FT staff designers from our pool of former interns, if they don't transition directly. You go with what you know, you know?


Others & grad programs: CMU, Stanford, ITP, Umea. I know there are lots more, but having reviewed a lot of internship portfolios, these schools tend to be more consistent.

Mike Jones 

Senior Interaction Designer - Smart Design

31 Mar 2010 - 9:25am
Cathy Wang

In Vancouver we joked that SIAT (Simon Fraser's School of Interactive Arts & Technology) is Electronic Arts' HR department.
Many graduates head straight to either EA or Blast Radius. It has really bumped some great new blood into the technology industry in Vancouver. The school focuses on interaction design, but more importantly, communication, team work and creative thinking.

It's one of the few schools focusing on IxD at undergrad level. Give them the right opportunities and they will flourish to something much bigger.

I graduated from SIAT myself as well. :)



Cathy Wang | Interaction Designer



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