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University recommendation - HCI

Hi!

Thought I'd ask here in the hope that some UI geeks were reading Joel on software.

I'm a programmer looking for a really good master's degree in CS/HCI in USA. I've been looking at Carnegie Mellon HCI and Georgia Tech but I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts on the subject. Which one is better? Is there another one that you would recommend?

I'm looking for computer software oriented studies, less interested in working in the area of say, car stereo design ;-)

Thanks,

Gauti

Gauti Reynisson
Wednesday, August 06, 2003

heard good things about CMU and Gatech...

what you should really look into is the prof's you will work with, the type of stuff they do, are they difficult people to work with, etc. If you are in the US - you should visit both them both, talk to the people there - that would be your best bet.

Prakash S
Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Anyone here have an HCI degree?  How do you like your job/field?  I asked on the comp.human-factors newsgroup about jobs and generally it seemed like they were the first to go when the economy goes sour.  I think it is an important job, but I can imagine how difficult it can be to prove that you really add value.

I am interested in this a bit, but maybe not enough to take a pay cut over being a programmer and having even fewer job prospects.  Just wonderring what other people's experiences are.

Andy
Wednesday, August 06, 2003

I don't know that you can get a degree specifically in HCI there, but I know a guy that teaches at NC State who did HCI research for his doctorate.  His name is Martin Dulberg (I may have spelled that wrong).  You could try to contact him; he would probably know who has a good program and who doesn't.

One-Armed Bandit
Wednesday, August 06, 2003

I went to Virginia Tech as an undergrad, still live in town, and two of their HCI professors, plus their grad students and their $700,000 in grant money, just left for Penn State.

I'm no expert in the area overall, though.

Mikayla
Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Well, I'm sort of counting on this degree not to hurt my job oppertunities. I already have a BS in CS (from Sweden) and I wanted to sort of expand my skills/interest... or CV ;-)

What do you think... will I "overqualify" if I hold a masters in HCI?

cheers for the replies

Gauti

Gauti Reynisson
Wednesday, August 06, 2003

I don't think it can hurt, since you still have your CS skills... but I think it might not help as much as you would like.  The impression I got was that usability people are pretty few and far between, and most companies don't have them.  I guess the attitude is that a programmer with no special training should be able to come up with a decent interface.  After all, we have been using computers for a long time, so hopefully we should have picked up what the standards are.

Andy
Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Unless you plan to teach at university, a Master's Degree in CS or any IT field will do no good whatsoever in getting you a job.

Actually, I'm sure it helps pull resumes to the top of the stack on occasion, and some employers will respect it, but others will think it automatically puts you out of their price range or that you'll think you're smarter than the boss. Given that, it's about a break-even issue, which means it's not worth the time or money.

Mind you, pursue the study if you want to do so for your own enlightenment; just don't do it to help you get a job.

Philo

Philo
Wednesday, August 06, 2003

I think that is a total overgeneralization.  It may be true in business... but why do you assume he is looking for a business-type job?  (finance, insurance, whatever).  He could want to work for a government lab, or something like that, in which case a Master's is almost required.  I guess this board is oriented more towards IT/business stuff, but not everyone on it is in those fields.  Software development practices are applicable in... well all software development.

I wouldn't consider an HCI degree an "IT or CS" degree either, so I'm not sure what the point is.

Also, If you want to teach at a university, a Master's is not enough... you typically need a doctorate.

Andy
Wednesday, August 06, 2003

This comment:
"I wanted to sort of expand my skills/interest... or CV ;-)

What do you think... will I "overqualify" if I hold a masters in HCI?"

is general. So I gave a general answer. If he has a specific area of expertise or practice in mind, he's welcome to clarify.

Philo

Philo
Thursday, August 07, 2003

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