Human Computer Interaction (HCI): Is a Degree Worth It?
People are fascinated by the connection between humans and computers. Today, several fields of study are now dedicated to developing new algorithms and technology that help computers improve our everyday lives, especially as the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to grow.
With these advancements, more and more individuals are considering a career in Human Computer Interaction (HCI).
Question is: Is a degree in Human Computer Interaction necessary to land a job in this field? And what are the costs and benefits of studying Human Computer Interaction?
In this guide, we compare college costs to earning potential, college alternatives, and other factors to determine whether a Human Computer Interaction degree is worth it.
What is Human Computer Interaction?
Human-computer interaction (HCI) is an area of study that involves better understanding the connections and interfaces between humans and computers. HCI professionals research how users interact with computers and then design programs and technologies that help users use computers to their full potential.
What Can You Do with a Degree in Human Computer Interaction?
In today’s technologically enhanced landscape, we humans rely on computers to communicate, complete tasks, and make our lives easier. So, a degree in Human Computer Interaction can be highly useful to any individual wanting to pursue a career in computer science and technology.
A degree in Human Computer Interaction allows you to understand how to improve the human interaction experience with technology. This is a valuable skill to the end users, as well as the companies that serve them.
Types of Human Computer Interaction Jobs:
- Human Computer Interaction Research Scientist
- User Experience (UX) Consultant
- UX Designer
- UX/UI Designer
- Product Designer
- User Interaction (UI) Designer
- Information Architect
- Software Engineer
- Systems Engineer
- Project Manager
- Computer Programmer
- Tech Startup Founder
Is Human Computer Interaction a Good Major?
Human Computer Interaction is a major that it gives you a wide range of career options and equips you with many of the skills you need to enter a variety of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields.
- Gaining an understanding of fundamental computer design concepts and practices associated with human computer interactions.
- Evaluating the impact of security, authentication, identification and automation on the design of UX and human computer interaction.
- Analyzing human behavior factors such as cognition and how they impact UX and relate to the development of human computer interaction.
Why Study Human Computer Interaction?
You might want a degree in Human Computer Interaction if you:
- Want to understand how people depend on and interact with computers
- Want to learn more about human behavior
- Love solving complex problems
- Enjoy working with computers
- Are interested in designing human-focused systems, networks, or software
- Are looking for a field that is challenging yet fulfilling
- Are searching for a field with endless job opportunities
- Want to make an investment in your future by entering a potentially lucrative field
Is It Worth It Getting a Degree in Human Computer Interaction?
When considering whether any college degree is worth it, you should weigh the costs of the degree versus the earning potential in your chosen field.
Fortunately, when it comes to the human computer interaction field, the projected earnings far outweigh the costs of earning your degree – particularly if you attend a technology-focused university like UAT.
What You’ll Learn About Human Computer Interaction
Human Computer Interaction majors are immersed in a holistic, project-based curriculum that not only gives them fundamental skills but also in-depth experience to prepare them for a career in human computer interaction.
In most HCI programs, you’ll learn to:
- Synthesize the human elements of technology
- Create new user interfaces
- Produce your own innovative methods
- Drive fusion with UX, AI, and IoT
- Develop and manage digital assets
- Develop use cases with devices and software
- Create virtual environments
Beyond these skills, you’ll have access to a range of resources to help you prepare for and advance your career. These resources might include career counseling, internships, advanced degrees, study groups and more.
Skills to Find Success in
Human Computer Interaction
A college degree will teach you the ins and outs of human computer interaction, but there are other intrapersonal skills you’ll want to develop to see real success in your career. This is why UAT students are required to participate in individual and group projects with students with other majors that solve real-world problems. This requires innovation and creativity, as well as communication skills and critical thinking.
At UAT, students are encouraged to unleash their potential. Most students go on to complete internships, community projects, and apprenticeships to better cultivate their ability to succeed in the workplace.
How Much Do
Human Computer Interaction
A degree in Human Computer Interaction opens many doors to a variety of technology-focused careers. Human computer interaction experts transform the way humans interact with technology, not just computers. Jobs require real-world skills to tackle the evolution of IoT and UX infused hardware, software, mobile and more.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, some human computer interaction careers include:
- Front-End Designer/Developer
- Computer Hardware Engineers
- Computer Network Architects
- Computer and Information Systems Managers
How to Get a Job in Human Computer Interaction
Earning a Human Computer Interaction degree is one of the best first steps you can take to set yourself up for a successful career in human computer interaction. Not only will you acquire the skills you need to prepare you for a human computer interaction job, but you’ll have a marketable degree that makes you attractive to employers.
A bachelor’s degree in Human Computer Interaction studies remains the industry standard for entering the field and landing a career. Plus, at institutions like UAT, you’ll gain valuable career counseling to help you ace interviews, fine-tune your resume, land an internship and more.
Applying for Human Computer Interaction Jobs
Once you’ve earned your Human Computer Interaction degree or have otherwise gained experience in the field, you can begin applying for more advanced human computer interaction jobs.
Your best bet is to check your college job board, attend career fairs, search for “human computer interaction jobs” online, and check online job boards like LinkedIn, ZipRecruiter.com, or Indeed.com.
Here are some tips for applying to human computer interaction jobs:
- Read job descriptions thoroughly and write your cover letter to match the requirements the company is looking for.
- Have amentor, instructor, industry expert, advisor and even your peers review your resume, checking for errors, and providing tips on how to make it more appealing to hiring managers.
- Look into additional certifications to improve your skills and appeal to employers.
- Practice your job interviewing skills to master your interviews.
- Follow up with employers via email to keep your name top of mind and thank them for their consideration in interviewing you.
At University of Advancing Technology, we offer an Human Computer Interaction degree that incorporates real world applications and a deep understanding of human-computer interactions. This includes the study and development of novel uses of computer technologies, intelligent interfaces, augmented reality environments, new I/O devices, and more.
“UAT Students in the Human Computer Interaction degree program will develop use cases with software and devices, create virtual environments, develop digital assets, and synthesize the human elements of technology.”
If you believe a career in human computer interaction may be right for you, request more information. We’re passionate about helping students enter STEM fields and acquire the skills they need to land a lucrative and rewarding career in human computer interaction.