Breaking into the UX field - Going to DePaul

31 Oct 2013 - 7:01pm
2 years ago
1 reply
5121 reads


I was recently admitted to the HCI master's program at DePaul and would like to get some input from people in the field. I am totally new to UX. I have 10 years of work experience.


3 Nov 2013 - 1:00am
I have my masters in HCI from DePaul. I have worked in the UX field since 1998. I would have been in one of the first graduating classes when the program started in 1996.

Overall it is a good program; it is more practical based rather than academic. I believe the program has improved as when I was in it, some of the design and psychology classes were in the Psych and Art departments, who did not know what to do with us 'computer science' students. All classes are now in the school of CDM.  Professors and instructors have both academic and practical experience, depending on whom you get. Classes have been refined over the years and there is a wide variety of classes. You have the choice to focus on design, usability engineering or development, so if there is an area of specific interest you have, you can take classes to support that interest.

Not knowing your background, I would suggest that you make sure you have or get relevant experience in design, usability engineering or development, depending on your interest and focus while studying for your degree. You are making a large monetary and time investment in yourself by getting a graduate degree in HCI. You will be doing yourself a favor if you get practical experience by doing internships and work related to your degree at the same time while getting your degree. I am both grateful to Rosalee Wolfe and Adam Steele for being my advisers while I was in the program. Make sure the program and curriculum is aligned with your career goals.

At that certain point in my life it was a great program since I could work full time and go to school in the evening. It was 'safe' and comfortable because I had gone to DePaul as an undergraduate art major, and it allowed me to stay in Chicago at a familiar job, be at a familiar school, and be with my boyfriend. I think now upon reflection, while the program was great and it's allowed me to have the career that I wanted (I live in San Francisco and am a UX Manager at a consumer finance startup doing web and mobile UX), I probably should have looked other universities that that had a stronger product design focus such as Stanford, NYU or Carnegie Mellon; that were outside of Chicago; and that were full time programs so that I could have immersed myself in product design.
The program opened a lot of doors for me because my career has involved working for some great companies and with great people, working on some amazing projects, and the opportunity to travel internationally. A defining moment for me was taking an internship in 1998. I chose to take an intenship with a large software company in Silicon Valley rather than choosing to work with a small design company in Chicago, and I've never looked back.



Syndicate content Get the feed