It’s official. I have graduated from Kent State University with a Master of Science in User Experience Design! Over the past 2 years there were many times that I considered not finishing the degree.
I often questioned why I was putting myself and my family through this. It wasn’t easy at this stage of my life. But with the support of an amazing wife Alexa Seretti, son, family, and friends I was able to get through it!
I can’t thank those that helped enough.
I have had people ask me, “Did you really need to get a Master’s Degree in UX?”
The short answer is NO. I have 13+ years experience of real world… hands on… in the weeds design experience that no class can teach or that no one coming from another field could match. I love my career so far but that’s not why I decided to do this.
The long answer is YES. I didn’t NEED the degree… I WANTED it. I wanted to have a refresh in the field… I wanted to continue to learn… I wanted to understand and get experienced in the branches of UX that I didn’t have a ton of exposure to (Research… Content Strategy… Information Architecture). As a UI designer by trade I knew I needed to round out my skill-set.
Most importantly, I wanted to be even more of an advocate for the user.
Now…when a fellow UX Designer or Manager or Director asks me that question, I wonder ‘What truly makes them qualified to call themselves a UX Professional?’ What qualifies anyone to call themselves a UXer? That is the real question the industry is going through at this point. There are a TON of posers out there (See Darren Hoods posts about this topic on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/dwhood). There are also a lot of people, unfortunatly, in positions of power in the industry who are potentially leading the practice in the wrong direction and hiring other posers.
I’m not saying the degree makes me a better UX Professional… but it sure as hell doesn’t hurt.