Day#362: Do you need qualifications to become a UX Researcher

Day#362: Do you need qualifications to become a UX Researcher

Hey Researchers week 4 more posts and then I have completed my 365 days of UX, can you believe it! Sometimes I can’t even believe it myself at first I struggled so much with the thought of writing everyday. Worried about saying the wrong thing or not having enough knowledge to share etc. It has been the best learning experience and I am looking to more projects like this, that keep ramping up my skills and self improvement. For today I wanted to discuss if you need qualifications to become a UX Researcher. There will be loads of people who will swear by it, and tell you that you won’t be recognized if you don’t do a degree or some reputable short course that they have also done. I say no to this mentality, as someone who is mostly self taught on UX and Research I don’t think going back to university is even necessary. When I saw self taught I am including short courses like the many courses I have done through Interaction Design Foundation, and lots of reading. 

Yes that is probably not fully self taught but it is not having the guidance of a mentor and instructor at every step of your journey. I first got into UX by watching Ted Talks on shopper psychology in grocery stores and was so surprised by the eye tracking software and wanted to learn more. There after I searched for every bit of free knowledge I could gather. I watched countless YouTube Videos, and even re-watched some YouTube videos. I read all the free articles on Medium and even subscribed to some mails from UX related sites. I think only once I felt like I had exhausted all the free avenues did I decide to venture into paid mediums. And even then did not go through extremely expensive institutions, I instead researched different online platforms and found Interaction Design Foundation to be the most cost effective with a multitude of courses. At that point I was not really sure on UX Research as a sole specialized role and was looking more at UX Design but it was comforting knowing that there were so many courses to choose from. 

I would say something that I see a lot of people do in a multitude of industries is that once they do a degree or even a short course that is where their learning stops. In tech you will be behind if you have this mentality and yes maybe you can land jobs but you won’t stand out as the best. When you don’t stand out as the best that reduces your power in terms of salary negotiations as well obviously once you are in the role then you won’t have the extreme arsenal that you need to be able to handle a variety of research problems that will need to be validated/invalidated. I think for me there is always more to learn and more to master in this ever changing amazing industry. I constantly find another door that I want to become more knowledgeable in, for example now I am considering doing a Statistics for Research and Design Course through the University of Witwatersrand. The course has a lot of quantitative methodologies and I am fascinated to learn about this side of the research space.

Maybe I don’t take on a full quantitative role in the future but it’s about immersing myself in this industry that I am so passionate about that drives me. I hope if you are reading this and you are not passionate, that you work on ways to understand what makes you passionate about something. That was something I didn’t understand about myself for so long, anyway finally I want to discuss the job opportunities for those without degrees since this is what I am advocating for haha! I think you won;’t have a problem at all, well at l;east in South Africa. As long as you can prove you have the knowledge and maybe if you have not worked in the industry that you have case studies and other personal projects to make up for your lack of experience. The industry is constantly growing and learning for more UX researchers, if ever you would like to chat about UX and all things research please do reach out. Happy researching until next time
Bye for now

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