CS master's program in getting UX jobs

Hi Kaiting,

First of all, thank you for creating this website. It was really helpful when I applied to HCI graduate schools last year!

I received B.S in CS in my home country, and my goal is to get work experience in the USA as a UX designer. I applied to HCI and CS programs, I have received an admit from UMich MSI, Indiana HCI/d and several others.

I ended up making my decision to M.S in Computer Science at Brown University, because I wanted to gain knowledge about state-of-the-art technology (such as AI and self-driving cars) and apply them to UX. Also, I got advice saying that companies would prefer CS background.

However, as I deferred to Fall 2021 due to COVID and got more time before I enroll, I came to reconsider my decision.

I got worried about my portfolio since I would not work on in-depth UX projects in CS program, and I found out that job descriptions of UX designers mention HCI or design majors, not CS.

I think I would have 1-year experience in UX Design (defining user needs, producing wireframes, but not working on final UI), and one or two side-projects as a UX designer, before I apply to UX internships next Fall. I’m worried about not getting an internship chance, and eventually not getting a UX designer job after I graduate from master’s program.

Considering my background, I want to ask you for advice on whether it would be better to choose the HCI program than the CS program.

Also, I am wondering if IT companies would hire CS master graduate as UX designer (with much fewer UX-courses taken and fewer UX projects)

Thanks in advance! :slight_smile:

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Hi Jamie,

In my opinion, your marketability will come down to your portfolio. Your degree will be secondary. If you feel that you can have a competitive portfolio without a UX degree, then go for CS. However, if you feel you need some dedicated time to build up a nicer UX portfolio, then a UX master’s degree can be a good option.

I recommend checking out other designer’s portfolios and comparing them with yours. Be honest to yourself about what you are lacking. Good luck! :slight_smile:

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