Does it worth doing a 7000£ Masters to become a UX designer?

9 Aug 2011 - 9:01am
3 years ago
6 replies
4171 reads
calliope
2011

Dear IXDA, 

I have been a member of a few months now, since I have decided that I would like to specialise my career towards UX design after a degree in Multimedia Tech. and Design. 

I have been pondering on what makes a UX designer, how does one call oneself as a HCI specialist or UX designer, there are hardly any specialised degrees on this subject.

Until I found HCI with ergonomics from University College London. I decided to undertake this MSc in the hope of responsively entering in the job market of UX design and also for the love of Gestalt and problem solving design.

Now, I would like to return back to Dublin where I have lived for about 4 years previously. And here is my questions:

 

  1. Are there more than a handfull of  UX jobs in Dublin?
  2. Do they rather need you to already be experienced to consider you as an applicant?
  3. Does it worth doing a 7000£ masters for a job in this field? Or is it only experience that counts?
  4. Last but not least, do you see UX design as a quirky job or as an up and coming job of the next 5 years at least?
What is your suggestions-advice on the matter please?

 

Comments

10 Aug 2011 - 6:10pm
sorewinner
2011

I've been asking myself the same question. WHY on Earth am I going to start this MSc (the exact same one, by the way)???

Really looking forward to your answers. Please take into account the fact that I'm actually about to move from Romania to London to do this.

19 Aug 2011 - 7:30pm
calliope
2011

I guess each of us is starting this cource for their own reasons. I am sure you want to progress in your career. OR you might have been allured of the zero figures on the UX annual salary even! what is for sure is that a generic "why" will give you a generic answer.

Instead, I am asking myself these following questions: 

what is this interaction design about that I like? 

-psychology, sociology, gestalt, problem solving, career profile specialisation, holistic design approach along with multimedia 

do I give back a pleasurable experience to the user, to the individual to the society?

-yes

what is it about it `I am unsure?

-am I going to stop develeping and designing and start drawing comparison sheets and market  competitor analysis and wireframes and prototypes and all those colourless things?

another quesiton for me is: where (which country-city) do I want to be in a years time after my degree?  

(if I go back at my hometiown I might do something with my degree, but with my masters there is no chance to find a job), 

Financial factors= loans, funds, cafe jobs, rent, books ,

work experience factors=how much do I have now, how much will I have after this,

job market factors=it is true no one is asking for a masters degree out there, hardly are they asking for A degree to begin with ... AND  EVERYBODY values experience AND  hardly anybody will train you to give you the experience !

Networkd factors=University fame, degree fame, networking potentials, business links

---------------------------------------

and also have these questions from a budhist business consultant I heard of a podcast recently about awarenes in business:

  1. is my decision the only best solution I am taking for this point in time?
  2. am I happy with what I am doing in my decision or what I am doing now? 
  3. if not then what is it that brought me to think that this decision (which is the best for me at this point in time) is not making me happy
  4. and how can I change it so in a years time I will be happier. 
---------------------------------------------------
I went to the opening day and I remeber I left with this vision and broad smile in my face that there is jobs oute there, there is more than 90% employed students, and they themselves where saying to me that when they go to conferences they are recognisable, when they go for interviews they are hired by people who probably have done this course a good while ago, so they know what you know and what you studied.
 -----------------------------------------------------------
Questions my cousin has posed:
how poplular will UX design going to be in next 2 years?
(is it an ephemeral whim of the giant companies or is this the job of the future really?)
Again this question researched riched an ex-educator of HCI who now works for the industy and he himself cofirmed that this is a job that its still in it infancy
I did my own research both here in London (senior experienced loads of jobs) , US (loads of jobs!!!)  and in Dublin (a handful of jobs) and as the previous commentor is suggesting and it coincides with what I see, what the educator said both here in London and in USA...
basically
read a book from that reading list we have been given to familiarise yourself .  I am currently reading "designing for interaction" by dan saffer,
do your research 
ask yourself where you want to be after this degree?
answer a simple but so deeply existential question: "is this degree going to make you a happier person?" and how? (for me it makes me happy and politically more aware to design for the user, the users, the society rather than the capital
last but not list..remember to share your thoughts and decisions  here Wink

28 Aug 2011 - 6:07am
Shekman
2008

 

 

Hello calliope and ...sorewinner,

I am almost finished with my MSc Human Centered System degree at City University London, and I want to share some of my thoughts on this:

Does it worth doing a 7000£ masters for a job in this field? Or is it only experience that counts?

First, I think "Doing a Masters to become a UX designer" is a misleading statement. There is a big misconception that universities will directly train people for jobs. Unfortunately that is not very true, and it probably shouldn't be. 

Companies won't hire a person *only* base on the graduate certificate. You are right, experience is the key. 

However, I think universities provide a great environment to learn and practice: 

  • Coursework provided me a chance to get a hands-on experience in the UCD process and applying theories into practice. As you said companies value experience, showing good project work (or demonstrating the process) should get you at least an intern position to start off for more experiences.
  • Taking part in online discussions about current topics with course-mates is also a great way to learn from others.
  • City university hosted a number of UX events last year (every time there was a small number of tickets reserved to us). These events (especially Design Jam and UX camp) were also extremely valuable to meet and learn from industrial practitioners as well as gaining more experience in design. 

 

In-addition, we get to learn about many interesting research topics, theories and access to some novel technologies from universities. Many of them may not be directly useful in the industry but some of the academic researches are very influential to both the study of HCI and the design of products.

More interestingly, I've met a number of people in the course who are already practicing UX/IA in small agencies or big companies like BBC for many years. From what I understand, they took on this degree to become more recognizable and to advance their careers.

To sum up, (1) studying a Masters degree in HCI is only one route to learn and practice the skills required for becoming an UX designer. But it is not the only route. There are a lot of great UX designers came into this field through many different routes - some came from psychology background; some practiced in the software industry for years; Des blogged his way to a full time position... (2) Universities are more than just equipping people for work. There are a lot of goodies to learn in the academic side.

Instead of judging whether a £7000 Masters degree have bought you an entry ticket to the jobs market, may be you should ask yourself what you have learnt from this degree.

 

Are there more than a handful of  UX jobs in Dublin?

I did my own research both here in London (senior experienced loads of jobs) , US (loads of jobs!!!)  and in Dublin (a handful of jobs) 

This is tough but true. Honestly I think there are not too many UX design jobs in Dublin at the moment if you want to compare with London or US. From what I gathered (unofficial), Google HQ in Dublin is filled with engineers and business roles, but Google London office has way more designers.

I did found the same problem in this field - Lots of companies are looking for senior designers but rarely offering junior positions. I'd be also interested to see what others think of it and I hope that more companies are willing to take people who are trying to switch to this career.

I am very lucky and thankful that iQ Content has offered me an intern position, I have gained a lot of valuable experiences out of it.

 

Sorry for rambling and my un-organised thoughts,

- Shek

 

 

12 Aug 2011 - 6:19pm
Dave Malouf
2005

1. Are there more than a handfull of  UX jobs in Dublin?

Given that Dublin is the host of the next IxDA conference (http://interaction.ixda.org/) I would say that there is a burgeoning job market. We will be having a few sponsors from that market mainly who are recruiting in that area.

2. Do they rather need you to already be experienced to consider you as an applicant

Experience is key, but that doesn't mean that there isn't room for Jr. designers out there. This is a market by market consideration for sure, but the more that UX/IxD grows the more that companies are seeing the value in solid jr. (fresh out of school) designers.

3. Does it worth doing a 7000£ masters for a job in this field? Or is it only experience that counts?

HA! compared to US tuitions that's a joke. We spoke that to breathe during our degrees. That's about 1/3 an annual tuition at many design programs here in the states. so yes, most certainly worth it.

4. Last but not least, do you see UX design as a quirky job or as an up and coming job of the next 5 years at least?

It is quirky in that it is hard to pin down exactly what the job is place to place, region to region and corp to corp, but the job has legs for sure. Definitely in the next 5 years. I'd give it more like 30. ;-)

What is your suggestions-advice on the matter please?

it is hard to give definitive advice to anyone about education. Anyone who does based on a single post like this is doing you a disservice. This is why I wrote the following article now now Johnny Holland: http://johnnyholland.org/2011/07/28/design-education/

Good luck!

-- dave

28 Aug 2011 - 4:49am
Kevin Cannon
2009

Here's my take on it:

 

1. Are there more than a handfull of  UX jobs in Dublin? 

 

No, there are not. There's simply not that many companies working on projects large enough to have dedicated UX/IxD people. There's certainly a few, but your job flexibility will be low. Not a reason not to do it, but to be aware of it. I would expect this to grow somewhat, as the entire digital design sector is. However, be aware you may find a lot of the jobs in large financial B2B applications.

2. Do they rather need you to already be experienced to consider you as an applicant

I find people in Ireland value experience and portfolio more than letters after your name. You can buildl up experience slowly, but it will be a challenge to get experience in the kind of jobs where a dedicated UX person is really needed.

3. Does it worth doing a 7000£ masters for a job in this field? Or is it only experience that counts?

 

 

That's up to you. Don't do it just for the piece of paper, but if you think the learning, and new tools will help you be a better UX designer, then go for it.

4. Last but not least, do you see UX design as a quirky job or as an up and coming job of the next 5 years at least?

It's a niche job, especially in Dublin, but it will grow moderately in the next few years.

 

Also, your point about large salaries is slightly misleading I think. There's only been a handful of UX jobs advertisied publically in Ireland, but many of them are looking for Snr UX people, working on large projects. Assuch, the responsibility and workload is high, which reflects the larger salaries. It would take a few years to work up to that.

29 Aug 2011 - 5:35am
antonella sassu
2009

Hi,

I work as Ux designer in Dublin. I think that actually the possibilities to find a job in the area are increasing. I'm experiencing an increase of interest toward our job.

  1. Are there more than a handfull of  UX jobs in Dublin?

As kevincannon already said, there are not too many companies with big projects but I think you can start as freelance. Since I'm in dublin, I received a good amount of emails from recruiters for Ux positions interviews. The good thing now is that there are not too many people trained to do it (and there are still a big confusion about our skills and the value we can add to a project). I'm talking about Dublin. I saw that Uk has several courses and seminars about ux.

If you didn't do it yet, build your linkedin profile (and also skill pages or other). You need to be visible. Linkedin is a very good resource and I found out that it is very used from recruiters and companies interested in particular job like our (maybe you think it is normal, but it is not in other countries!). Also keep up t o date your portfolio and spend time to design a good presentation of your skills. I really like the blog/portfolio of Whitney Hess, it is very clear.

About job positions: it is very common to find positions that require over the ux skills also programming skills. Well, there are professional able to do it but what I think is that: if you work as Ux and if you use the UCD process you'll never have time to program. Design in general and programming are complementary and, except for small project, it is not possible for the same person do both.  For this reason, I told there are still confusion about our job. 

Do they rather need you to already be experienced to consider you as an applicant?

Yes and no. Everybody experienced started without any experience! It is hard to start, of course. As I said you have to build your visibility and show your capabilities. In my case, I started with two internships. Did you thought about somethng like that? The internship is a real experience and it's the easier way to start to work in the area. 

Does it worth doing a 7000£ masters for a job in this field? Or is it only experience that counts?

The education is important as the experience because it gives you a whole vision of the area and trains you to be flexible. Although you have to be aware that the world of work is different than the academic projects.

Last but not least, do you see UX design as a quirky job or as an up and coming job of the next 5 years at least?

It is not quirky at all!  :) 

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