Inside the UC Berkeley School of Information


We live in a world where there’s more
information than anyone knows what to do with.
It’s so cheap. We can share instantaneously around the
world, and yet it’s hard to find the information we need
when we want it. You can think of the School of
Information as being engaged in the big challenges of information
abundance, information ubiquity. While technology’s at the core of many of
the things we do, it’s only the core. It’s really the custard that surrounds it
that gives the place its meaning. How do you take information and make it
easy to understand and to work with How do you visualize it? How do you
communicate your findings to policy makers who are going to make
decisions based on it? Technology is just too consequential to
be left to engineers. You need other kinds of understanding.
You need to understand the technology — social, economic, political — that it’s
embedded in. People come here for different reasons. Some people are really interested in
user experience, design, user research. Some people are already software
engineers, and they just want to get more of a flavor of
designing. We’re a pretty small community here,
so it’s really easy to get to know people and not just on a social level, but also to
improve your professional outlook in the future and think about your goals
and get more ideas from each other Because of the flexibility of the program,
there’s only a few required courses so you can really decide what you’re
going to take. I think it’s valuable for the students to
have people come in from industry just for them to get a sense of really
what’s happening out there. The book I wrote was about designing the
iPhone user experience, but the class is much broader. So why add sound to your apps? I think the most applicable sounds for us
would be just like keyboard presses: that kind of feedback Perhaps when you mark some of your outfits
as favorites, we can add a little sound effect. The class is project-based.
The students are grouped into teams, and they’re all designing their own app
over the course of the semester. The attractiveness of the I School to me
was that I had the opportunity to do all these different things
and kind of pick and choose from the buffet of things
that I might find interesting. We strongly encourage our master’s students
to come in with a couple of years of experience I think they get more out of this program if they do it.
I think that they have more to offer. There are really tremendous advantages
to being here in Berkeley and in the Bay Area. There’s an extraordinary confluence of
worlds here. On the one hand, you’re in the middle of one
of the 3 or 4 greatest universities in the world. And there are first-rate scholars in everything
from history to physics to law to business and so on So that’s an extraordinary environment to
be in I think it’s even deeper than that.
The culture here — the openness of the culture, the lack of
traditional hierarchies that you find in older parts of the US
is very supportive of the kind of experimentation,
learning by doing, entrepreneurial attitudes that we find
are so successful in today’s economy The I School is really well known in the
Bay Area and part of it is because of where alumni
have ended up. I have my job, in no small part, because
one of my professors not just encouraged me, but actually
made the email introductions. There’s a lot of reciprocity in the
ecosystem, so there are a lot of opportunities for us to
come back. And we draw them back in for activities;
they come and help students find jobs — the alumni are really a core asset. Having this great combination of
proximity to where the magic happens in the industry
and access to best-in-class-professors in academia research:
it was what motivated my final decision We bring in bright people with great
backgrounds; we put them together in pretty intense
experiences; and by the end they often produce things
that we could never have imagined. We’re at the very beginning. The generations
that come through the I School will be pioneers in that revolution,
but it will last for many generations.

1 Comment

  1. troy 9568w88

    August 19, 2014 at 9:13 am

    So do you need just an undergrad to attend or should you have business as an undergrad to get the masters? 

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