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The secret to a successful and rewarding career in UX/UI design

Get to know Touro Graduate School of Technology Web and Multimedia Design professor Enrique Paz and find out what he says is the biggest secret to success when it comes to building a rewarding career in UX/UI design.

Ask Enrique Paz, Adjunct Professor at Touro University’s Graduate School of Technology, the best part about teaching, and the answer might surprise you: “I love teaching because I learn so much from my students,” he shares. “I’ve been teaching for over 20 years, and I still feel giddy and get butterflies at the start of the new term. I know I’m embarking on a new learning journey!”

Enrique’s learning journey at Touro GST began in the fall of 2022, when he started teaching several courses for the Web and Multimedia Design master’s degree program. However, he’s no stranger to growing and evolving. He actually began his career as a graphic designer, but the birth of the internet opened the door to possibilities he couldn’t have imagined. “With print, you print it out once and you’re done, but with tech, you can keep nurturing your work and see it evolve.” Eventually, he went back to school to earn an M.S. in Computer Science, and “the rest is history!”

While he still works as a freelance front end developer, Enrique’s also in the midst of his second semester teaching at Touro GST and has been enjoying getting to know the students and imparting his expertise. “Every school’s student body has a different personality. Touro students are very into their studies, and their attendance is phenomenal! They show up, and that says to me that they’re really eager to learn.”

Enrique’s currently teaching two courses that are part of Touro GST’s Master of Arts in Web and Multimedia Design (WMM) – an 11-course STEM-certified program that approaches design from a user-centric perspective. Students learn design thinking and how to leverage research techniques to create interactive apps and web sites that incorporate best practices and adhere to regulations and guidelines while also optimizing the experience for users across multiple devices.

“Touro’s WMM program is a unique balance of computer science and design,” he says. “Students do learn coding and touch on JavaScript and other languages, but the focus here is on building in a way that’s aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly.” Along with JavaScript, students also gain in-depth knowledge of front-end scripting languages like HTML, and SASS, as well as industry-wide UX tools like Adobe XD, Figma, Sketch, Miro, and InVision.

Along with building a strong technical foundation, the Touro WMM program also teaches students the principles of design and how to apply them to create intuitive user experiences. Enrique tackles those ideas specifically in both his courses. The first, called “Responsive Web Design,” gives UX/UI students the skills they need to build websites for multiple devices. “Students actually develop a responsive website as their final project, so it really teaches them how to think about creating a good user experience.”

Enrique also teaches “Intro to Web Design,” which gives students the knowledge and vocabulary they need to interact with developers. “Development can be like a foreign language,” he explains. “This class gives designers what they need to know to be part of the conversation and engage in shop talk.” The course also takes students through the entire development workflow process, from coding to design to building.

While the WMM master’s program focuses on the fundamental skills students need for careers in Web and Multimedia Design, Enrique also emphasizes the need to look at the big picture. “I try to get the students to understand that this field isn’t about coding or design, it’s really about problem solving. You have to understand the problem and have a clear understanding of what you’re being tasked to do.” Teaching students to do this due diligence up front is just one of the ways he sets them up for success.

For flexibility and convenience, Touro’s Master of Arts in Web and Multimedia Design (WMM) is available both online and in person, and Enrique particularly enjoys the real-life interactions, which he says adds a layer to the education. It also gives him a chance to connect with students in a more informal way during casual conversations after class. “That’s when some of the guards come down and you’re not student and professor, you’re just people sharing a common passion.”

Once a student has earned a WMM degree from Touro GST, Enrique says the career options are expansive. “We’re moving toward a world where screens dominate, so you’re not limited to a singular industry.” He gives the example of advertising, which used to primarily focus on print or broadcast media – but now digital advertising is everywhere. “UX/UI has expanded beyond apps and is integrating into other fields,” he explains. “Lots of companies are hiring in-house teams to do that kind of design work.”

Earning an advanced degree like Touro GST’s M.A. in Web and Multimedia Design can help students set themselves apart and make them more competitive candidates for these kinds of design roles. “In today’s world, you need a master’s degree,” Enrique stresses. “Having a master’s degree gets you into the room.” This opens the door for a wide range of in-demand, high-paying design careers that include UX/UI designer, front end web developer, and digital animator – with brand new careers emerging as the field continues to evolve.

While Enrique’s courses – and Touro GST’s WMM degree – go a long way toward preparing students for these types of design careers in UX/UI, he says that the real secret to success is something students have to do for themselves beyond graduation. “Don’t stop learning!” he exclaims. “Tech is moving at such a rapid pace, and you can’t just learn and then stop. Keep your eyes on the tech and adapt as it adapts.”

For Enrique, this continuous learning is part of the fun, and he encourages his students to embrace it with a sense of inquisitiveness and excitement. “Enjoy the journey! Enjoy the ride! Approach it like a three-year-old – with curiosity. If you can do that, you’ll enjoy what you do, and that’s the biggest reward.”

If you’re ready to take the next step in your learning journey and start building a rewarding career in design, contact the Touro University Graduate School of Technology to learn more about its Master of Arts in Web and Multimedia Design today!