The department of Human Centered Design & Engineering welcomes individuals interested in making the world a better place through design. To help illustrate the type of students who put the "H" in HCDE, we are highlighting the backgrounds and experiences of several of our students and recent graduates in a new series of blog posts. Follow along!
Q: What inspired you to pursue a degree in HCDE?
A: I was inspired to join the HCDE program because I came into college with a strong interest in design but also a desire to learn coding and technical skills alongside that. I felt that Human Centered Design & Engineering would expose me to those technical and critical thinking skills a bit more than a traditional design program. Through HCDE, I gained exposure to coding classes that I really enjoyed as well as design fundamentals. I've always considered myself someone who loves being interdisciplinary, and I felt that HCDE was one of the programs that gave me a chance to still seek an interdisciplinary education.
Q: Tell us about an experience in HCDE that has influenced your career goals.
A: Like all undergraduate HCDE students, I had to take several research-based classes to complete my degree. While I appreciated the opportunity to learn a wide variety of skills in HCDE, taking these classes definitely solidified that I have no desire to be a researcher! I am really thankful I had the opportunity to figure this out the more harmless way in school instead of at my first internship or job. I also loved taking the classes where we would complete a project from start to finish, and this made me realize that a smaller, agency-type company would be a better fit for me than a larger company that requires more specialization on one part of the process.
Q: What have you been doing since graduating?
A:Since I graduated, I have been working full-time as a designer/developer at a digital strategy agency called Formative. Alongside that, I co-founded a small marketing and design agency called BXE Creative, specifically for providing affordable tools and services for startups ready to expand their brand. On a daily basis, I am involved in web design/development, data visualization, branding, social media marketing, and other various projects. I don't think all of these skills come directly from HCDE, but the design process, prototyping, testing, and other methods are all incorporated in how I think about each project that I face.
Q: Do you have any advice for prospective students who are considering HCDE?
A: I think HCDE is a degree that is particularly hard to understand from the outside, especially as a prospective student! If you can take some introductory classes or talk to current students about what HCDE actually is, do it! Although I really enjoyed the program, I honestly really didn't know what I was getting myself into when I started. I think having a strong understanding of what HCDE is, what UX is, and what UI is will help future students make sure HCDE is the path that best suits them.
Are you an HCDE alumnus interested in sharing your HCDE story? Let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be in touch.