User interface engineering is a lucrative career field, offering professionals with the technical know-how and product design skills to flex their creative muscles with a bit of analysis mixed with psychology. If you’re in the user interface engineering field or considering pursuing UI engineering as a field of study – as your first foray into the world of higher education or for an advanced degree to specialize in this niche field of engineering – you might find that it’s not that simple to find resources and advice on advancing your career. That’s because the vast majority of resources focused on career advancement in user interface engineering are focused on UI engineering in the software field, meaning engineers who design prototypes and interfaces for apps, websites, and software programs rather than physical products.
That’s not to say the underlying principles aren’t the same; they are, in fact, quite similar. You’ll likely find that there’s some overlap in foundational courses offered in undergraduate and graduate programs. Studying the psychological elements of UI design, for instance, applies to both software and product design. The physical product end of UI engineering is sometimes called human-machine interaction engineering, machine interface design, human factors and ergonomics, and similar terms.
We’ve made it simple for you to determine precisely the path to take to advance your career in user interface engineering by curating the best resources for product engineers and designers interested in advancing their career by specializing in the elite field of UI engineering. In this guide, you’ll find everything you need to know about analyzing your current credentials and skill set, professional associations and networking groups to join, the best sites and resources offering career guidance for product engineers and designers, networking like a pro, conferences, industry events, courses, classes, tutorials, and degree programs, and the best job search resources for climbing the career ladder in UI engineering.
Table of Contents:
- Analyze Your Current Skillset: Identifying Knowledge Gaps and Creating a Plan
- Career Outlook and Salary Info for User Interface and Human-Machine Interface Engineering
- Finding and Securing a Job in User Interface/Human-Machine Interface Engineering
- Graduate and Undergraduate Programs, Certificates, and Courses in User Interface Engineering
- Internships and Other Resources for Graduate Students
- Groups, Associations, and Discussions on User Interface Engineering and Human-Machine Interface Engineering
- Journals and Publications on User Interface Engineering, Human Factors, and Human-Machine Interface Engineering
- Guidelines, Standards, and Best Practices
The first step in creating your roadmap to career advancement in user interface engineering is to take stock of your current skills and credentials. Doing so will help you pinpoint knowledge gaps and pinpoint educational opportunities that will provide the experience and certifications needed to secure your target career.
Check out the following 16 resources for information on user interface engineering careers, the typical skills and background required for UI engineering, human factors and ergonomics, and human-machine interaction careers.
- Preparing for a Career in Human Factors/Ergonomics: A Resource Guide
- Educational and Skill Needs of New Human Factors/Ergonomics Professionals
- Cornell University – 16 Tips for Finding an Ergonomics Job/internship
- UI Designer – Job Description
- Neville A. Stanton – Engineering Psychologist (Interview)
- Career Overview: Manufacturing and Production
- European Agency for Safety and Health at Work: Human Machine Interface
- Wikipedia – User Interface Design
- Definitions of Human Factors and Ergonomics
- What is Mechatronic Engineering?
- Design for living—why human machine interface matters
- Human Factor Engineer Job Description
- Human Factors & Industrial Design – Cambridge Consultants
- Human Factors Engineers & Ergonomists
- Human Factors Engineers and Ergonomists
- Postgrad growth area: Engineering psychology
What’s the career outlook for user interface designers? There are several routes to take to enter the user interface engineering field. If you’re planning on pursuing advanced education for obtaining specialized knowledge, certifications, or other credentials, you’ll want to know that your career outlook is promising and worthy of the investment.
The following 12 resources offer information on the career outlook in human-machine interface engineering, UI engineering, and related fields, including information on projected vacancies and salary ranges.
- PayScale – Average Salary for Skill: Human-Machine Interface (HMI)
- Information Technologv Forecast [Enabling and Emerging] – Human-Machine Interface (HMI)
- The Adolescence of Engineering Psychology
- HFES 2013 Salary and Compensation Survey
- Market for HMI services is predicted to expand
- Explore the Possibilities: Pursue a Career in Human Factors/Ergonomics
- Careers in Human Factors/Ergonomics
- Product Design is now all about Interaction Engineering
- Career Outlook for Human Factors Engineers and Ergonomists
- MyFuture.com – Human Factors Engineers and Ergonomists
- Human Factors Engineer: Job and Training Program Information
- Glassdoor – Human Machine Interface Engineer Salaries
If there are opportunities for you to move up in the ranks at your current company, a job search isn’t necessarily on your agenda. However, career advancement often means searching for a new career opportunity with a new company, plus it’s valuable to browse current openings in user interface engineering and related job opportunities to evaluate the current skillset and education background being sought by employers as well as the salary ranges offered. Even if you’re planning for a promotion at your existing company, knowing what your fellow professionals are earning in similar roles in the industry can be a valuable point for negotiating a salary increase.
The following 11 resources include job search platforms that list current UI engineering positions, human factors and ergonomics positions, and similar job functions. You’ll also find resources for navigating the job search and making yourself marketable in the human factors and UI engineering world.
- Glassdoor – Human-Machine Interface Jobs
- Human Factors and Engineering Society (HFES) Career Center
- Maintaining Agility in the Human Factors/Ergonomics Job Marketplace Webinar
- Quick Tips for Finding a Human Factors/Ergonomics Job in Industry
- A Guide to Successful HF/E Career Preparation: The Ultimate “Not-To-Do” List
- “The Real World” HF/E: Understanding the Realities of Your First Professional Job
- Maintaining Agility in the Human Factors/Ergonomics Job Marketplace Webinar
- Indeed.com – Human-Machine Interface Engineer Jobs
- Monster.com – Human Factors Engineering Jobs
- EngineerLive – Career Opportunities in Engineering
If you don’t yet have the credentials you need to ask for a promotion or apply for the roles you’re shooting for, your career advancement plan might include further education. Whether you’re looking for an undergraduate program, a graduate program, certificates, or online courses to enhance your knowledge on a specific topic, there are many educational offerings focused on human factors and ergonomics, UI engineering, human-machine interface engineering, and related subject matter.
The following 13 resources include direct links to relevant certificate programs, undergrad and grad programs, directories of programs in the U.S. and international programs, and more.
- HFES Educational Resource Project (ERP)
- Robotic Human Machine Interface Advanced Certificate
- Syracuse University Industrial & Interaction Design
- Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Directory of Human Factors/Ergonomics Graduate Programs in the United States and Canada
- Human Factors/Ergonomics Undergraduate Programs
- Degree Courses in the U.K.
- Training Courses in the U.K.
- Online Courses on General Topics Relevant to UI Design, Human Factors, Ergonomics, and More
- Continuing Education
- MIT OpenCourseware – Human Factors Engineering
- Virginia Tech – Human Factors Engineering and Ergonomics
- Human Factors Engineering at the University of Michigan
If you’re pursuing further education, an internship provides hands-on experience and valuable on-the-job training to help you land the career in UI engineering that you’re working toward.
The following 7 resources include information on internships in the industry, lists of programs and fellowships, and other opportunities for students.
- Federal Programs and Fellowships for Graduate Students
- Internship Opportunities in Human Factors and Ergonomics
- Internship Q&A
- LinkedIn – Human Factors Intern
- SimplyHired – Human Factors Engineer Intern
- Bosch – Human Factors Intern
- CareerJet – Human Machine Interface Internships
Networking is important for career advancement in any industry, but a highly specialized field such as UI engineering offers abundant opportunities to get ahead in your career by taking advantage of professional memberships, resources from industry associations, participation in online groups and discussions, and similar opportunities.
UI engineers and human factors and ergonomics engineers are in high demand; establishing a professional presence in the industry can lead to lucrative career opportunities that surpass your loftiest goals. Check out the 13 links below for information on associations, groups, discussions, and other organizations and insights on UI engineering and related fields.
- LinkedIn – Human Machine Interface (Topic)
- International Ergonomics Association
- Product Design Technical Group (PDTG)
- Stanford Mechanical Engineering Design Group
- Product Design (Quora)
- Interaction Design (Quora)
- User Interface Design (Quora)
- StackExchange – User Experience (UX)
- StackExchange – Usability Engineering
- National Science Foundation – Engineering Research Center
- Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering
- Bio-Interfaced Nanoengineering: Human-Machine Interfaces (TEDx)
- NASA Human Systems Integration Division
A freshly minted graduate degree doesn’t mean it’s time to stop learning. Highly technical fields like UI engineering require a commitment to lifelong learning and continuing education to stay abreast of the latest research advancements, techniques, and methods that improve the human-machine interaction and the user experience. That’s why subscribing to and reading leading industry journals and other publications is an important component of your career advancement program – today and long after you’ve secured your dream job.
The following 10 links will take you to some of the industry’s leading publications and journals to stay on top of the latest advancements.
- Ergonomics in Design: The Quarterly of Human Factors Applications
- Ergonomics in Design Blog
- Human Factors: The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society
- Journal of Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making
- Reviews of Human Factors and Ergonomics (Annual Series)
- The Ergonomist
- International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics
- Journal of Human-Computer Interaction
- Journal of Applied Ergonomics
- EngineerLive – Design Engineering
Engineering best practices are the gold standard for quality across the full spectrum of engineering careers –and most technical careers in general. In user interface engineering, staying abreast of the most recent updates to standards and best practices for designing functional and user-friendly interfaces is key to maintaining your competitive edge and producing products that meet consumers’ expectations.
The following 14 resources include links to organizations that set standards related to various relevant functions impacting UI engineering, specific guidelines for various applications, and best practices for human factors and ergonomics engineering, UI engineering, human-machine interface engineering, and closely related fields relevant to the day-to-day work of UI engineers.
- HFES Standards
- Guidelines for Using Anthropometric Data in Product Design
- FDA – Human Factors Considerations for Medical Devices
- Good Ergonomics Is Good Economics
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
- ANSI/HFES 200 Human Factors Engineering of Software User Interfaces
- ANSI/HFES 100-2007 Human Factors Engineering of Computer Workstations
- American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) International
- Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE)
- International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
- ISA101, Human-Machine Interfaces
- Top 5 Design Considerations for Human-Machine Interfaces
- Patient Safety: The Role of Human Factors and Systems Engineering
- Analyzing Human Machine Interaction and Interfaces through Model Based System Engineering Practice