From the IxDA mailing list:

“Hi there…I’m brand new to this list and looking for some advice on how to move from the field of visual design into interaction design. I’ve been working as an interface/interactive/web designer for over ten years, but now find myself drawn more to interaction design and usability. I’ve read many of the recommended books, like “Don’t Make Me Think” and “The Design of Everyday Things” and I’m currently reading “About Face.” The books are good resources and I’m learning a great deal, but I’m certain that’s not enough for me to transition into what is essentially a new field. I’m a freelance designer, so my time is flexible and I’m considering taking classes or pursuing a certification—if anyone would recommend this as a good move. And yes, I’ve been reading the threads about HFI certification and I’ve been considering that, as well. Also, if anyone knows of an online master’s program in IxD, I’d love to hear about it.”

First, the idea of an online masters in IxD scares me because it demeans the discipline. But it also makes me wonder what it takes to become an interaction designer. There are plenty of folks who call themselves interaction designers who don’t have a masters in IxD, more than actually have the masters. Can someone just read a few books and start practicing? Is it just a matter of practicing?

I feel like my design school training does make me different, as if I have a greater understanding of design than those who have not studied interaction design. I’ve been pondering how to articulate this, or if it’s actually true, or if it’s just me wanting to distinguish myself from others.