how to become a ui designer (2022 Guide)

Do You Need a Degree to Be a UI Designer?

BrainStation’s UI Designer career guide is intended to help you take the first steps toward a lucrative career in UI design. Read on for an overview of whether you need a degree to be a UI Designer and if it’s possible to teach yourself UI design.

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You do not need a degree in a specific field to become a UI Designer. Certainly, a background in design can help you get started, but in reality, anyone can learn the necessary skills to land a career in UI design.

That said, looking at job postings for UI Designers, you’ll probably notice that most do require a degree—but there are two important clarifications that go along with that statement.

The first consideration is that, because UI design is so interdisciplinary, there isn’t a single academic area that covers everything that goes into the field—a computer science degree won’t teach you design skills, and an arts degree won’t teach you tech skills. Wherever you start, you’ll need to make up those skills somewhere else.

A second, related consideration is that, while many employers may want someone with a degree, none will expect that degree to be in UI—for the simple reason that there’s no such thing as a Bachelor’s of User Interface Design. This also relates back to the fact that most people enter the field of UI design from either the design side or the development side, sometimes—but not always—through Bachelor’s programs like graphic design, human computer interaction or interaction design; many others simply begin practicing design or development and pick up more expertise along the way.

In short, a Bachelor’s is quite often secondary to demonstrable UI design skills and an eye-catching portfolio—and even when a degree is required, it’s usually insufficient in and of itself. Essentially, what a Hiring Manager’s criteria come down to is whether or not a candidate demonstrates the requisite skills for the job.

Can I Teach Myself UI Design?

Whether or not you hold a degree, a transition into UI design will require the addition of demonstrable UI design-specific skills to your repertoire. Certainly you can teach yourself these UI design skills, but many professionals fast track the process with UI design courses, like BrainStation’s User Interface Design course, where you can gain first-hand experience with industry tools and techniques, and build a portfolio of completed projects.