Where can I study UX? UX Question #53

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Nora Syrjänen from London asks: Where can I study UX?

I love that question. Thanks for asking, Nora. This is UX Question number 53 and I am Ben Judy.

Where can I study UX? Fortunately, there are more options now than there were when I started my career as a web designer back in the late 1990’s.

I’ll quickly mention a few different ways you can study UX.

You can go to a university and earn a UX related degree. Plenty of junior colleges offer two year programs. There are plenty of Bachelor & Master Degree programs around the world. I will drop a link in the description to a list on uxmastery.com with 146 of them. These degree programs aren’t all called “User Experience” but you’ll see related titles like, Bachelor of Design in Digital Technologies, or Masters of Interaction Design.

But those degrees take a long time and are expensive. Bootcamps have become a popular alternative for people trying to enter the UX career field. Check out episode 6 to learn more about bootcamps.

Many colleges and universities now offer certificate programs. You might think of this as something in between a short, online bootcamp and a college degree program. So there’s a wide spectrum now of bootcamps, certificate programs, college degrees—all semi-formal or formal education options for you to check out.

But you know, you can still learn a lot about UX and build basic skills on your own. If you are curious and driven enough to be self-taught, you should know there is now an endless supply of books—see episode 9—, web sites—see episode 10—video content and podcasts like UX Questions, and all manner of online resources, much of it freely available or low cost. You can follow some of the top UX experts and thought leaders online, see episode 14 for my thoughts on them.

Whether a recruiter or employer would be particularly impressed by you being self-taught is another matter. But if you have self-discipline and are wired to learn this way, you can get a certain distance on your own, at least in terms of building a basic understanding and practicing design and research skills. The piece you will miss being self-taught is feedback from others.

This is perhaps where mentoring comes into the picture. Get a good UX mentor who will guide you in your career development and give you feedback on your early project work. See episode 11 for more on mentors.

Lastly, I recommend online communities. Slack and Discord groups, discussion boards. See links in the description to a few that I like.

Keep asking your questions about UX. Next time, I’ll answer the question: What’s the difference between a user journey and a user flow?

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