For Tyler Wain, the realization came near the end of his stint working in interactive and visual design at Dell Technologies in Austin.
In the nine years since graduating from the University of Washington with a major in visual arts and a minor in architectural studies, he had done all the right things to advance his career: find what you love and excel at, stay curious, and never pass on an opportunity to learn something new.
But as a UX (user experience) designer, he had chosen a field that was in a “hyper-growth phase,” and there was an incredible amount of information to keep up with—maybe even a little too much. And, while Wain made a habit of bookmarking articles he felt he should read, that list seemed to grow longer by the day.
“I was basically trying to create my own curriculum, and it was exhausting,” says Wain, who, as a triathlete, probably doesn’t use that word lightly. “It was really great, but I wanted something with a bit more structure.”
With Georgetown’s online Master’s in Design Management & Communications, Wain found that structure, as well as an understanding of the “big picture” of a field that is changing faster than any one person can track.
“I think the access Wendy [Zajack, the faculty director] provided was absolutely incredible,” says Wain, now a senior designer at Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Wash.
The program helped him better recognize the areas in which he was strong, those he had to develop, and those so new that “I probably didn’t even know where I fell on the knowledge spectrum,” Wain says. In addition, bouncing ideas off instructors and a diverse group of colleagues “challenged me to rethink my own and everyone else’s perspective.”