I see this question a lot around the internet:
“What should I major in if I want to pursue a career in UX design?”
As a college student and incoming product design intern at Facebook, I’ve done a lot of research on this question. It’s important to recruit new people to the field of user experience, because a diversity of people brings a diversity of experiences to digital products. If you have recently fallen in love with the field of UX design, I’m happy to help out in any way that I can — reach out any time.
HCI is a perfect field of study for UX design. It’s pretty self-explanatory, but the field explores the interactions between humans and computers. Human-computer interaction teaches a mix of communication, programming, psychology, and design. If you’re lucky enough to be at a school that offers this major, definitely take it. HCI blends together everything you need to know to have a successful career in user experience.
Believe it or not, psychology is super useful for a career in UX design and is my current major. Understanding human behavior and why you should design an interface a certain way is the ultimate factor that separates a UX designer from a graphic designer. During your college career, try to get at least some exposure to social psychology and human behavior courses.
Computer science teaches programming, algorithms, structures, and mathematics. While all of those classes are not completely necessary for a career in user experience, it will only help your career. A CS degree is looked very highly upon by firms that hire UX designers. Having programming knowledge can help to better communicate your designs to developers, and if you ever get bored of design you can easily pick up a front-end development role.
Any type of design education is also an obvious option to explore in college. There are majors in graphic design, interaction design, industrial design, etc. Any design major will teach you the basics of typography, colors, and computer software for design. If you’re interested more in user research, you might not benefit from this option — but it’s a perfect major for people who prefer to work with the visual aspect of design.
This major goes by many different names: information science, information systems, informatics, etc. For the most part, the majors are the same. These majors cover basic programming, information architecture, data analysis, and the study of the internet in society. This major will be useful for those interested in information architecture and prototyping. If you’re interested in computing, but not in-depth theory like computer science, this could be a good major for you.
Anthropology is the study of humans in society. This can be a good replacement for psychology if it’s something you’re interested in. Those interested in design research will benefit from this major, due to its focus on human perceptions, culture, and ethnographic research.