So, I'm at a point in school where I have to start looking for internships. But, I'm not entirely sure what I can do with my major. I am majoring in Informatics with a cognate/specialization in human-centered computing. But, I'm not really sure what I can do with it exactly. I know its about designing things for the user but I don't know what kind of jobs or internships you can get with it.

So, first of all, is human-centered computing the same thing as human-computer interaction? I don't know the difference, if there is one.

And, what kind of jobs can I get with a human-centered computing major? Would it be more interaction and UX designer stuff or something else?

Help, please?


Unfortunately, there is no "right" answer to this question, but I can share some of my experience.

Your education doesn't really dictate your job, it builds a foundation on which to build your career. One of the reasons that you may feel unsure about your degree program is that you have chosen an inter-disciplinary degree. That means that you're going to get a broad base of skills instead of being groomed for a particular job, so those internships and small jobs in the field will be especially helpful for you to find exactly what you want to dig into.

If I can give any advice, it would be to leverage the hell out of that. Look for ones that seem neat and maybe a little different. Also, don't discount big companies, but be wary of internships where you end up doing data entry or menial tasks while you watch employees do real work. Find places that will let you get in the mix a bit. Sure, you might not be ready to take on a professional project by yourself at first, but that doesn't mean you can't be a contributing part of it.

That was kind of generic, I know, but really, have fun with it.

Side-Note: HCI and human-centered computing are very similar. Human-centered computing is a slightly newer term, but the understanding I have is it's the academic discipline people are trying to create to further HCI.

  • Okay, so I can basically go in whatever direction I want to go with? The challenge for me though is to figure out what I want to do with it. I really like to design things and I can do a bit of coding (more of web development stuff) so I'm just trying to decide what would be a good fit for me.
    – taylor018
    Jan 29 '14 at 3:41
  • That's not abnormal - but that's part of what you use the internships and early jobs for - find what you do enjoy. That's why it's important to get into projects and try different things. It's pretty normal for people not to really pin down their area of expertise until their 30's so don't feel like you should know it already.
    – Daniel
    Jan 29 '14 at 21:47

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.