Majors & Minors to Get into UI/UX
Most students do not learn about UI/UX until after they have entered college. While you do not need to major in anything specific to get into the UI/UX field (most people come from all different backgrounds!), it may interest you as a college student to learn about these majors and how they relate to UI/UX.
It should come as no surprise that learning about humans and the way they think & interact can help a lot with a field like User Experience. Psychology and design go hand-in-hand, since design is more than just visual elements for aesthetic purposes. After all, creating an effective user experience is about understanding the user and being able to figure out the “what” and “why”. Having some familiarity or background in psychological concepts like Hick’s Law and the Von-Restorff Effect would definitely make you a more well-rounded designer!
Relevant courses: General Psychology, Cognition
A relatively newer major, cognitive science is also a solid choice, especially if you are interested in a variety of different things. It is an interdisciplinary field covering topics from computer science, psychology, neuroscience, philosophy, and linguistics, and focuses primarily on the mind and the functions of the mind. Although the classes aren’t directly related to UX, they can be useful for learning to design for human behavior and be exposed to other students coming from all different fields/backgrounds. Even if you don’t want to major in cognitive science, consider taking the intro course — it may also fulfill elective requirements!
Relevant courses: Sensation and Perception
Information Technology & Informatics
Relevant courses: Human-Computer Interaction, Social Informatics, Web Design
More theoretical and programming based than ITI, Computer Science can be advantageous for problem-solving and building user-friendly interfaces. Bringing products to life may intrigue you as a programmer, and a CS background could help you with figuring out the logic, accessibility, and overall appeal of the product in mind. While knowing how to code isn’t a necessity to get into UI/UX, it can definitely be of great benefit — and might even set you apart from others for job-seeking opportunities.
This major is another obvious choice because you can learn about typography and color theory. While there is a difference between graphic design and UI/UX design, knowledge in graphic design can be important towards learning about creative thinking, prototyping, and providing a visual experience for users.
Relevant courses: Design Fundamentals, Interactive Design
Although some may not realize, there is also an overlap between marketing and UI/UX: marketing is focused on customers and conducting user research, and appeals to more creative individuals. Sound familiar? Majoring in marketing and being in business can build upon valuable interpersonal and communication skills through group work, something that is doubly useful for situations when designers have to work in cross-functional teams. Having marketing experience can sharpen your attention to detail, foster creativity, and help you stay consumer-focused.
As stated in the beginning, it’s not necessary to major in only these subjects to go into UI/UX. What matters most is how you use your own experiences and the effort you put into side projects, your portfolio, etc. As a student, it may be more helpful instead to join clubs related to these majors, look for internships or research opportunities with related professors to gain more experience, or participate in design-a-thons! CreativeX has plenty of students from different majors who are interested in design, UI/UX, etc., making it a safe space to learn and grow.
Ultimately, it’s most important to pick a major that you would enjoy. If you want to gain more technical experience, ITI or CS might be of interest to you. If you are curious about user research and human behavior, Psychology or Cognitive Science might be a better fit for you. You can also choose different combinations and have minors, like majoring in Computer Science and minoring in Psychology. Whatever path you choose, you can get into UI/UX by working on projects, doing research, and reaching out to those of similar interests. If you have any questions or major-related concerns, please feel free to reach out to e-board members in our Discord!
— Khushi & Michelle