I'm an Architecture student, but I want to be a UX Designer or researcher, a choice I am quite definite on based on my interests and passions which I've come to learn throughout my years in college and in life. (That's the gist of it)

Since there are no Graphic design, cognitive science, psychology or product design courses in my university, I feel the next best major I can take to pursue a career in UX design would be Computer Science, a course wherein I would be able to build and design websites, apps, software, etc work I can place in my UX portfolio, unlike in architecture wherein the products are structures and urban spaces. (Not that I would not be doing my own side projects in UX to place in my portfolio whether or not I push through with my Architectural studies.)

I understand that the design skills I learned in the two years that I've been in architecture school are totally applicable to UX or human-centered design in general, but it seems so much more possible to land my first UX internship with a computer science degree rather than having to explain why I pursued architecture to work in UX design in the first place. Also rather than having to do side projects in UX in my free time if I pursued a degree in architecture, these side projects would already be related to my learning in a computer course. (I.e. Hitting two birds with one stone)

I'm currently 20 years old. To all the seasoned UX designers out there, should I switch my current major to computer science? (I think this question is also applicable to anyone contemplating a shift in majors)

closed as off-topic by Evil Closet Monkey, Devin, Patrick McElhaney, JonW Aug 4 '15 at 18:13

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  • Welcome to UX.stackexchange. There are questions along this line - and perhaps some may vote to close this question as answers are going to be subjective. I think that getting an Architecture degree will help in the job market. You may have to get an MA or take other courses but there is overlap between the two fields - namely thinking about how users interact and use your system. I constantly use building analogies when talking with business users. If you've gone through the drop-out courses then consider finishing with your architecture degree. – Mayo Aug 4 '15 at 17:02
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is seeking personal career advice, not a specific UX concept or concern. Open ended questions which do not translate to the larger community are not good fits for the UX.SE environment. – Evil Closet Monkey Aug 4 '15 at 17:11
  • You might want to consider joining a UX meetup group in your area and talking to the folks there. The best way to break into UX (and for a lot of other things) is to have a mentor. Also, if your university has library (or information) sciences program, you might also want to look into that. That's fairly closely tied to information architecture... which is a branch in UX. Not all of us comes from a CS background. :) – nightning Aug 4 '15 at 18:25

You could. A lot of great designers were once (or still are) developers. Two come hand in hand in my opinion, because both look at very small details and how it affects the application as a whole. Both fields are very logical and research driven.

But consider this however: Studying about development and being a coder, you will be more geared towards the efficiency of how the application runs (optimizing loading speeds, how animations come in, debugging, etc), while a UX designer will be focused on how the whole site works from a user centric perspective. You'll be solving different problems, mostly how to display information or how a flow will work.

I used to be a developer(for a little while) and I found that if I continued that path, it would have taken me in a different direction. Most of my time would have been understanding code and keeping up to date with what's out there and learning new languages. As a UX Designer now (have been for 3+ years), I do other work, but look at a site from a holistic perspective.

I suggest you frequent this site to get better (I do that among many people), and design. Design your heart out. The only way you'll get better is to do. Another thing I suggest is taking a bootcamp. Best of luck.


Disclaimer: I'm about to be a senior pursuing an undergraduate degree in computer engineering. Here's my take.

It's never a bad move to earn a CS degree. However, you will spend a large amount of time not doing what you actually want to do. You will be required to take classes on computer architecture, operating systems, logic design, etc which have nothing to do with the front end UX work that you want to do. This may be frustrating and you may start to think that you have chosen a much more difficult major than you had to in order to learn what you wanted to learn.

That being said. It might be a huge benefit to you as a designer to have some empathy towards programmers and understand their workflow so that you can better present your ideas to them.

If the only reason that you want to do CS is to not have to explain your decisions to a recruiter, then you're picking it for the wrong reasons. You should join a club at your school and get to know programmers so that you can form friendships/partnerships and work on projects together. You lend your design expertise, they lend their programming expertise and you both learn along the way.

But if you want to do CS for the right reasons, I can't think of a more rewarding undergraduate degree path (especially if CS is in the engineering college at your university)

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