Blog Entry

The UX Design Education Scam

A few years ago I wrote about my reasons for going to college. I only went for a semester before I ran out of motivation to keep going. I’m going to school again but my reasons have changed significantly. My purpose for going to school had to change or I wasn’t going to make it. But, my opinion that a web related college degree is pointless, remains the same.

I decided to pursue a degree in Sociology instead of a computer or web design related degree. Why Sociology? We can discuss that later. For now, here are some highlights from a recent post by web designer Andy Rutledge that explain why a web design education is a scam and a waste of time. I thought this was too good not to share.

If you emerge from university today with a web design degree, chances are rather slim that you’re employable as a user experience (UX) or web designer. Maybe you learned a lot of stuff; it’s just probably the wrong stuff. Congratulations, you’ve been defrauded. Hope it didn’t cost you or your parents too much.

Most academic administrators and instructors simply will not entertain the notion that design brought to the web is anything other than some sort of programming.

My personal experience is anecdotal to be sure, but in more than 5 years of hiring in the web design profession, having reviewed something on the order of 200 resumes, I have come across one (1!) individual recent graduate that was employable at the agency I owned or worked at. I’m talking about a crime here. I’m talking about fraud.

The time for political correctness, courteous patience, and the benefit of doubt has passed. The vast majority of institutional UX design programs are nothing short of scams. We must stop casually entertaining academic fraud and professionals must stop assisting in the scam. We must stop trying to change what clearly will not be changed and concentrate efforts where they will yield results. We must encourage and cultivate proper, relevant programs elsewhere and/or encourage self-directed study and give that path the respect is deserves.

The future is not dim; it’s bright, but universities and colleges have nothing of value to contribute in the context of UX design degree programs outside of the à la carte design and psychology courses they can offer, which form the foundations of that pursuit. But we must cease dialog with these institutions, for a worthwhile dialog requires something other than one interested party and one blind, deaf, unmalleable party, cowering within an ivory tower behind a brick wall and surrounded by a moat, fearful of losing the false cloak of competence.

Read Andy’s full post, The UX Design Education Scam.

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