UX Career

Which UX Career is Right for You?

Job Title Roles & Responsibilities Key Skills to Know
UX Designer
  1. a “full stack designer” in that you should have experience in the design process from research through wireframing and even a bit of visual design or front-end development
research methodologies, wireframing, ideation, prototyping
User Researcher Maria Anders user interviews, survey design, data analysis, usability testing
Information Architect
  1. responsible for the a product’s organization
  2. determine how information should be arranged and displayed to make it easy to understand and use
  3. ultimately helps the user interpret her surroundings, navigate around a product, and easily discover what it is that she’s looking to find or do
card sorting, understanding of cognitive psychology, library sciences, user research analysis
Interaction Designer
  1. how the a product feels and responds to a user
  2. very focused on precise user interface details include anything from designing movement, animation, and visual aesthetics
  3. how products react and respond to users
visual design, knowledge of HTML CCS and Javascript, animation
User Interface Designer
  1. are most concerned with the look and feel of the actual page visuals and layout
  2. ultimately choose where buttons should be placed, what colors are used, and what style the drop down menu will display
visual design, user interface patterns, typography, layout best practices
Product Designer content strategy, sketching, scope defining
Front-End Developer
  1. a mix of programming and layout that powers the visuals and interactions of the web
HTML, CSS, Javascript, Javascript frameworks

Other References:

  1. UI, UX: Who Does What? A Designer’s Guide To The Tech Industry
  2. User Research Basics
  3. What are the UX Roles Within the User Experience Field?

Why Do Companies Prefer MBAs?

Why Do Companies Prefer MBAs?
By Jennifer deJong, Monster Contributing Writer

  • MBAs are sought after for their ability to think critically, deal with ambiguity and solve complex problems.
  • the master of business administration degree represents a way of thinking, not just a set of financial skills and business knowledge
  • looking for the 50,000-foot view — the strategic thinker who takes an analytical approach
  • Operations managers who have risen through the company’s ranks are experts at getting things done. But MBAs from the outside can bring a fresh perspective, like figuring out how to improve key business processes, such as filling catalog orders.
  • Training Critical Thinkers
    • an MBA can evaluate a company by looking at its financials, they also ask if the numbers make sense in terms of other realities
    • process of earning the degree teaches MBAs to think critically –  relies heavily on the case-study approach
    • requires students to evaluate business dilemmas and formulate the best plan of action
    • case studies typically reflect current issues
  • Professional Problem Solvers
    • know how to frame problems, ask questions and collect data
    •  MBA candidates who are ready to answer more than just stock questions –  done some research, called a few customers; you get a sense of how they might spend their first 60 days on the job, and that is impressive
    • ability to deal with ambiguity and create changes that help the company compete
    • demonstrate the ability to maximize talent, enroll others, champion change, look at the big picture and optimize the company’s interests
    • degree itself is not a guarantee, as many MBAs have gaps – It comes down to the person and their accomplishments. For example, if an MBA candidate says, “I lead the team that revised the billing process,” company recruiters dig deeper. If the process improvement didn’t yield a result, the candidate may not make the cut
  • MBAs: Not All Alike
    • Getting an MBA is a big accomplishment, but once you have it, you still have to compete for jobs.
    • Top schools are brand names – when you are competing against a brand name, the burden of proof is on you, even though core MBA courses remain remarkably similar across different institutions.

Can Less Mean More In College Application Race?

Can Less Mean More In College Application Race?

  • 23% of high school seniors applied to six or more colleges last year, a huge jump from 13% in 2000
  • The process should be fun, not stressful. It’s a time to learn about yourself and develop life skills like decision-making, researching, interviewing and networking.
  • The more colleges in play, the harder it is to write quality essays or get even basic information right.

Book: Competitive Colleges (29th Edition)

Understanding the College Admission Process – Ted Spencer, Associate Vice Provost and Executive Director of Undergraduate Admissions at the University of Michigan (p. 2)

  • Gathering Information
    • catalogs
    • brochures
    • pamphlets
    • DVDs
    • website
    • other helpful sources
      • High School Counselors
      • Parents
      • College Day/Night/Fairs Visitation
        • 5 major areas to know:
          1. Academic preparation
          2. The admission process
          3. Financial aid
          4. Social life
          5. Job preparation
      • Alumni
      • Campus Visits
  • The Admission Process
    • Admission Criteria
      • your academic record and skills
      1. Does the college or university require standardized tests – the ACT or SAT? Do they prefer one or the other, or will they accept either?
      2. Do they require SAT Subject Tests and, if so, which ones?
      3. Are Advanced Placement scores accepted and, if so, what are the minimums needed?
      4. In terms of grades and class rank, what is the profile of typical entering student?
      • Type of admission notification:
        • rolling system – within several weeks of applying
        • deferred system – notification is generally made in the Spring
    • The Application
      • Read the application to learn the following:
        • Is there an application fee and, if so, how much is it?
        • Is there a deadline and, if so, when is it?
        • What standardized tests are required?
        • Is an essay required?
        • Is an interview required?
        • Should you send letters of recommendation?
        • How long will it take to find out the admission decision?
        • What other things can you do to improve your chances for admission?
      • Submit your application early.
    • Transcripts
      • Required Course Work
      • Challenging Courses
        • expectation of most selective colleges: 7 or more honors classes or 4 or more AP courses during their 4 years in high school
        • important that you make good grades in those courses
      • Transcript Trends
        • performance in upward or downward trend
        • develop good academic habits
        • Freshmen – you are in the college-preparatory track
        • Sophomore – choose more demanding courses; become more involved in extracurricular activities; balance your academic and extracurricular commitments – most critical and telling year
        • Junior – 2nd most important year – at the end of your junior year, many colleges will know enough about the type student you are to make their admission decision.
        • Senior – Upward and positive trend must continue – almost all selective schools review the final transcript, so your last year needs to show a strong performance to the end.
  • The Application Review Process
    • 1st reviewed by non-counseling staff to determine if your have completed the application properly.
    • Reader Review
      • each application is read by two or more admission staff members and in some cases, faculty members are also readers.
      • if all readers agree on the decision, a letter is sent.
      • if the readers do not agree, the application will be reviewed by a committee or may be forwarded to an associate dean, dean, or directory of admission for final decision.
    • Committee Review
      • a committee member is assigned a number of applications to present.
      • that person will prepare background information on each applicant and then present the file to the committee for discussion and a vote.
    • Counselor Review
      • many selective public institutions use this process
      • the counselor responsible for a particular school or geographical territory makes the final decision.
      • the same counselor is also the one who identified and recruited the student, thereby lending a more personal tone to the process.
    • Computer Generated Review
      • many large state universities use this process
      • if applicants meet the required GPA and test scores, they are immediately notified of the decision.
  • Word of Advice
    • exploring as many college opportunities as you can
    • avoid focusing on just one college or, one type of college
    • take advantage of every available resource
    • build a checklist of what you want our of the college experience and then match your list with one of the many wonderful colleges and universities

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California Bay Area – Selected High Schools & School Districts




Accountability Progress Report

01 Alameda URL APR
07 Contra Costa URL APR
38 San Francisco URL APR
41 San Mateo URL APR
43 Santa Clara URL APR


School District


Accountability Progress Report

Cty #

D01 Dublin Unified URL APR 01
F01 Fremont Unified URL APR 01
L01 Livermore Valley Joint Unified URL APR 01
P01 Piedmont City Unified URL APR 01
P02 Pleasanton Unified URL APR 01
A01 Acalanes Union High URL APR 07
M01 Mt. Diablo Unified URL APR 07
S01 San Ramon Valley Unified URL APR 07
S02 San Francisco Unified URL APR 38
F02 Fremont Union High URL APR 43
G01 Gilroy Unified URL APR 43
L02 Los Gatos-Saratoga Joint Union URL APR 43
M02 Milpitas Unified URL APR 43
M03 Mountain View-Lost Altos Union URL APR 43
P03 Palo Alto Unified URL APR 43


High School



SD #

California High School
880 S01
Dougherty Valley High School
Academic & Career Center
905 S01
Monte Vista High School
Counseling and Career Center
897 S01
San Ramon Valley High School
Counseling & Guidance
Career Center
885 S01
Amador Valley High School
877 P02
Foothill High School
Career Center
889 P02
Dublin High School
Career Center
842 D01
Irvington High School
College/Career Center
830 F01
Mission San Jose High School
Career Center
948 F01
Granada High School
Academic Counseling Center
Career Center
830 L01
Piedmont High School
College Center
904 P01
Acalanes High School
Counseling & College/Career
902 A01
Campolindo High School
Counseling & College/Career
919 A01
Las Lomas High School
Counseling & Career Center
858 A01
Miramonte High School
Counseling & College/Career
Counseling Office
927 A01
Northgate High School
College & Career Center
855 M01
Lowell High School
949 S02
Cupertino High School
Guidance & Counseling
College & Career Center
879 F02
Homestead High School
Guidance & Counseling
College & Career Center
853 F02
Lynbrook High School
Guidance & Counseling
College & Career Center
926 F02
Monta Vista High School
Guidance & Counseling
College & Career Center
935 F02
Los Gatos High School
College/Career Center
874 L02
Saratoga High School
College & Career Center
933 L02
Milpitas High School
784 M02
Los Altos High School
College/Career Center
825 M03
Mountain View High School
College and Career Center
865 M03
Henry M. Gunn High School
College & Career Center
915 P03
Palo Alto High School
College and Career Center
899 P03
Gretchen Whitney High School
College Center
988 (#1 in CA)

Note: All APRs are linked to 2008-09 Accountability Progress Reporting available on CA Department Education API website.

Education Funding

Is CA ranked 47th or 25th?

10 Facts About K-12 Education Funding

Interactive Map: Title I Education Grants

Comparing California (June 2008)

Analysis of the 2008-09 Budget Bill: Education – Per-Pupil Funding

Getting the Facts Straight on Per Pupil Spending in California (Posted on April 03, 2008)

The Census Bureau report strongly refutes the oft-cited “fact” that California is near the bottom in per-pupil school spending. The national average was $9,138 in 2005-06. California was at $8,486, with New York the highest at $14,884 and Utah the lowest at $5,437 – one of 22 states, in fact, that fell below California’s level.

In terms of school revenues, California was 25th among the states at $10,264 per pupil, just under the national average. It was above average in per-pupil income from federal and state sources and about $1,700 per pupil below average in local revenues, thanks to Proposition 13, the 1978 property tax limit measure.

Per-pupil spending rankings all relative

Why are the rankings so different?

Education Week adjusts per-pupil spending to reflect regional variations in cost of living, particularly teacher salaries, and the National Education Association does not.

Both start with similar spending in California during fiscal 2004-05. Education Week uses federal data, $7,905 per pupil; the NEA uses its own data, $7,942 per pupil.

Then Education Week applies a 1990 federal “geographic cost of education index” that drops California from 30th to 46th at $7,081 per pupil, well below the national average of $8,973 per pupil.

Spending more than $12,000 per pupil in Education Week‘s ranking are New York, New Jersey, Vermont and the District of Columbia. Below California are Idaho, Arizona and, at the bottom, Utah at $5,463 per pupil.

Per-pupil spending in public schools (2001-2002)

National Per Student Public School Spending Nears $9,000 (US Census – May 24, 2007)

The nation’s public school districts spent an average of $8,701 per student on elementary and secondary education in fiscal year 2005, up 5 percent from $8,287 the previous year, the U.S. Census Bureau reported today.

New York spent $14,119 per student — the highest amount among states and state equivalents. Just behind was neighboring New Jersey at $13,800, the District of Columbia at $12,979, Vermont ($11,835) and Connecticut ($11,572). Seven of the top 10 with the highest per pupil expenditures were in the Northeast.

Utah spent the least per student ($5,257), followed by Arizona ($6,261), Idaho ($6,283), Mississippi ($6,575) and Oklahoma ($6,613). All 10 of the states with the lowest spending per student were in the West or South.

Education spending, per pupil, apples to apples

More spending doesn’t equal more learning

Los Gatos Education Foundation – Finance A-B-C’s

Q&A: Why disparities exist in some California school districts
Analysis compares districts’ spending, academic performance

Spending far from equal among state’s school districts, analysis finds

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Is college or postsecondary study really necessary?

  • Over the past quarter century, wage gaps between workers with different education levels have increased, largely due to falling real earnings for those with less education.
  • Real weekly earnings for workers with less than a high–school diploma fell from $462 in 1979 to $337 in 1998. This downward trend continued for all workers who were not college graduates.
  • Twenty years ago, the average college graduate earned 38 percent more than the average high-school graduate. Today, it is 71% more.
  • Occupations requiring a bachelor’s degree will grow almost twice as fast as the overall average.
  • The three fastest growing occupations, require at least a bachelor’s degree and have higher average earnings.
  • All of the 20 highest paying occupations require at least a bachelor’s degree.

Educational Level


Years in Workplace

Average Annual Income (US Census Bureau, ‘00)

Average Monthly Income

Lifetime Income (annual income x years in workforce)

Estimated Cost of Degree (Average)

Net Lifetime Benefit (lifetime income – cost of degree)

High School Graduate








Associate Degree








Bachelor’s Degree







Master’s Degree
















Professional (Doctor, Lawyer)








From the Department of Labor Statistics, 2000.

Source: Building a College Culture by Leslie Hays (Powerpoint)

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Public School Teacher Tenure in California

Proposition 74: Teacher Tenure Ballot Measure
January 2006
Prop. 74: Support 44.8%, Oppose 55.2%

  • California was the first state in the country to establish teacher tenure law in 1921.
  • Current state law mandates that teachers gain tenure in California after completing a two-year probationary period during which time they can be dismissed for poor performance by their school district.
  • Once tenured, teachers gain a degree of security in their positions and can be dismissed only for just cause. State law dictates conditions under which a tenured teacher can be dismissed including unsatisfactory performance or misconduct. Low student achievement is not included as a condition for dismissal.
  • The Initiative
    • It would raise the amount of time new teachers must wait before they are covered by job protection rules from two years to five years for a certified position.
    • It would also allow the school district to dismiss an employee after two consecutive unsatisfactory performance evaluations.
Other Reference

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