13.4. The State of the Field
We recently surveyed information architecture educators and practitioners to get a clear snapshot of this fast-changing environment.[*] As Table 13-1 shows, we found that roughly half of practitioners have formal education in a relevant field.
[*] For complete survey results, see http://iainstitute.org/pg/polar_bear_book_third_edition.php.
Table 13-1. Formal education
|Do you have any *formal* (e.g., college, university) education in Information Architecture, HumanComputer Interaction, Usability, Library Science or a related field? || |
Among those with a formal education, roughly 70 percent hold a Master's degree, and as Table 13-2 shows, library science clearly stands out.
Table 13-2. Major field of study
|What was your major field of study? (if you responded "Yes" above)|| |
|Computer-Based Instructional Design||0.6%|
|Learning Design and Technology||0.6%|
|Library Science and Human Factors||0.6%|
And, among those practitioners with hiring responsibilities, roughly 50 percent responded that when making a hiring decision, they consider formal education in a related field to be either valuable or extremely valuable.
Fortunately, the volume and diversity of programs that offer information architecture coursework is increasing to meet demand. Schools that offer information architecture degrees include:
University of Baltimore, Master of Science in Interaction Design and Information Architecture
Illinois Institute of Technology, Master of Science in Information Architecture
Kent State University, Master of Science in Information Architecture and Knowledge Management
And, schools that offer substantive information architecture coursework include:
University of CaliforniaBerkeley, School of Information
Carnegie Mellon, School of Design
University of Michigan, School of Information
University of Texas, School of Information
University of Washington, Information School
In summary, the field of information architecture is in transition. After more than a decade, the field is no longer in its infancy, but there's still plenty of room to grow. Whatever your goals and educational credentials, there are two things you can count on as you look ahead. First, change will be rapid and relentless. Second, time and attention will be limited. So you can never learn everything, but your education is an ongoing process. Choose carefully and learn to love learning.