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  1. #101

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anita18 View Post
    Although, in these difficult economic times, what's more important than your major is your own go-getter attitude and the connections you make.
    Ding ding ding ding ding.

    I've had 3 different careers and worked for 6 companies in the 19 years I graduated with my BA. Every job I've ever got I got through a connection and very proactive pursuit of that connection. And I have never worked in a job that had anything to with my major. Ding ding ding #2 is about ongoing education. I've always taken classes, kept up and added skill sets and done self study.

    For those of you waxing poetic about graphic design, in 1999 I decided to change careers to graphic design and learned to code. I rapidly flew through a career that went from jack if all trades web designer to highly specialized information architect and user researcher. I am now a director of user experience at a Fortune 50 and I can tell you that we can't hire talent or retain talent fast enough -- people with GOOD skill in visual design for web, mobile or the tv screen/interaction design/information architecture/prototyping and psychology, cog sci or human factors skill sets. If you have a pulse and can document flows, wireframes and design or skin sites, apps and/or 10 foot experiences and you move to Silicon Valley with 2 years experience, you'll have your pick of employers large and small offering you 100K to start.

    As for degrees, I used skills learned from my first two careers in marketing and sales to establish and sell in the specialized arm of the UX practice I now run - grew it from a team of one (myself) to a team of 8 in less than 5 years. My rock star team works at the intersection of technology, psychology, cognitive science and design. We all do the type of same work yet have degrees that range wildly: physics, advertising, communications, anthropology, sociology, information systems and graphic design. What we all share is a passion for detail and logic, insatiable curiosity, fascination with technology, need to constantly be challenged, ability to work and think independently to solve problems, and high work ethic. And what everyone who works for me has in common is that they came to me through a personal recommendation and proactively pursued the position with me.

    And my personal learning never ends. While I run a UX team, I'm essentially an evangelist, coach, leader and manager and I actively seek out any and all opportunities to become a better communicator, presenter, mentor and motivator. I'm a long ways away from my original Physics BA or any graphic design class ... or even my graduate classes in human factors (a degree I didn't even bother to finish because job opportunities in UX are so great.)

    Get a degree in whatever interests you, but more importantly, learn to network, get good at making small talk, practice being proactive, learn to negotiate and always follow through. These are the soft skills that will open the doors for a job and help you land one.
    Last edited by BreakfastClub; 04-06-2013 at 05:15 AM.

  2. #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by J-Ro View Post
    To my mother's credit, she recommended I take Spanish, which I did for 8 years. I have to say that it has come in handy, even if I am far from fluent.
    I think learning a language goes well beyond simply knowing/conversing in it. I learned a ton about root words, structure, grammar, etc from le dead Latin. It's the way you learn to learn.

    BreakfastClub, I may have to pick your brain at some point. I currently do newspaper design/layout, but I've been thinking about getting into UX as I watch my industry slowly shrivel up and die. I just looked up what a wireframe is and boy does that look familiar! My alma mater (Kent State) actually offers a wholly-online graduate degree in UX.

  3. #103
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    BreakfastClub is going to be the most popular person in this thread, because improving UX for research scientists is like, my dream job.

  4. #104
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    Get a degree in whatever interests you, but more importantly, learn to network, get good at making small talk, practice being proactive, learn to negotiate and always follow through. These are the soft skills that will open the doors for a job and help you land one.
    Ding, ding, ding, and Ding. I would quote the whole post, but it's big. Very well said.

  5. #105
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    Quote Originally Posted by BreakfastClub View Post
    Ding ding ding ding ding.

    Get a degree in whatever interests you, but more importantly, learn to network, get good at making small talk, practice being proactive, learn to negotiate and always follow through. These are the soft skills that will open the doors for a job and help you land one.
    This. ^^^

  6. #106
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    This newly released study might be of interest:
    http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2...hose-they-hire
    Who wants to watch rich people eat pizza? They must have loved that in Bangladesh. - Randy Newman on the 2014 Oscars broadcast

  7. #107
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    Quote Originally Posted by overedge View Post
    This newly released study might be of interest:
    http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2...hose-they-hire
    To me, that's like businesses saying that they value good writing.

    If critical thinking, etc., is more important than major and technical skills have such a short shelf life, why is that people with technical degrees are hired so much more often than people who have non-technical degrees?
    Trolling dates all the way back to 397 B.C. - People began following Plato around and would make fart noises after everything he said.

  8. #108

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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    To me, that's like businesses saying that they value good writing.

    If critical thinking, etc., is more important than major and technical skills have such a short shelf life, why is that people with technical degrees are hired so much more often than people who have non-technical degrees?
    Because the tech skills are needed right now, immediately, and there aren't enough people with them. Employers can train to a certain extent, but they're relying on the fact that you're coming in with some sort of baseline in current technology.

    Your tech skills can get outdated very quickly. You get hired in for your tech skills, and then the expectation is that you'd constantly need to upgrade those tech skills.

    And my impression from that article and from actual hiring patterns over the years is that this article is painting an overly rosy picture. It's not that major doesn't matter. It's that you *do* need field-specific skills (as the article says) to get hired, but you *also* need more than just field-specific skills. I've been advising engineers for a long time, and one thing I tell them can really help in their career is an ability to write and otherwise communicate. This is in addition to their engineering skills, not instead of them.
    And so, dear Lord, it is with deep sadness that we turn over to you this young woman, whose dream to ride on a giant swan resulted in her death. Maybe it is your way of telling us... to buy American.

  9. #109
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    Quote Originally Posted by GarrAarghHrumph View Post
    I've been advising engineers for a long time, and one thing I tell them can really help in their career is an ability to write and otherwise communicate. This is in addition to their engineering skills, not instead of them.
    Exactly - as I mentioned above, engineering undergraduate programs have actually caught on to this and have increased both their humanities elective requirement, and their communications/presentation/writing requirement (no actual credits, but still required to graduate).

  10. #110

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    Quote Originally Posted by Seerek View Post
    Exactly - as I mentioned above, engineering undergraduate programs have actually caught on to this and have increased both their humanities elective requirement, and their communications/presentation/writing requirement (no actual credits, but still required to graduate).
    That is true. Unfortunately, however, I haven't seen much improvement in writing ability over the past decade or so.
    Creating drama!

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