a gap in ux education

There are no signs on the doors of psychology classes letting students know there is an exciting career opportunity in User Experience. There are now labs in the anthropology department that studies human behavior as people interact with technology. Hell, most design curriculum doesn’t even scratch the surface of User Experience. There are no programs at most campuses in the US that help students understand the UX field is wide open and begging for good candidates to help carry the UX torch. User Experience is one of the fastest growing disciplines in technology and yet there is very little academic focus on it.

The UX disciplines have grown out of necessity to do things better. People from all walks of life have found themselves becoming part of UX movements organically, and in some cases formally – by leading the charge. This has worked for UX up until now. But it’s time the UX field grows up. It’s time to put some academic structure around it. It’s time to start training the next generation of UXers.

I recently gave a presentation about UX at the Insight Summit Series conference held at Marquette University. After the conference, I had a ton of students approach me and ask how they can get into the UX field. A lot of these students were genuinely excited about user experience, but had no idea how to get into it and what it all involved.

Interest in UX is becoming a 2-way street. There are lots of companies out there begging for UX practitioners; at the same time there are a lot of students interested in breaking into the UX field. In the middle of this is education – and there’s a gap. There are very few academic tracks – especially undergraduate tacks – out there for students to take. There is only a handful in the country.

This realization led to a conversation I had with Erica Conway of C2 Graphics – a creative staffing and training company – about the need she is seeing from her clients and how it is difficult to fill these needs. We decided to do a special mkeUX meet-up to address the need for more education. It’s a panel discussion allowing UX noobies to ask any questions they want about getting into the UX field.

This is a start, but it’s not enough. We need a UX Summit!

I am calling on the UX leaders in Milwaukee along with academic leaders in local colleges and universities – we need to get together and start building educational programs. We have an opportunity to put Milwaukee on the map as a leader in User Experience education.

The time is now. User Experience is exploding as a needed discipline in the world, and we have a great opportunity to help teach the next generation of UX innovators.

Who’s with me?

12. April 2013 by Mike Kornacki
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