How to change your career to UX?
Changing your career can make for a very challenging time, even for the best of us. But everything is achievable if you want it bad enough. User experience design is no different to that. We will not lie and say that it’s going to be easy, but if you’r hard working and want it bad enough, you can make it happen. Here are our tips on things to keep in mind as you embark on this new life.
Hi guys, and welcome back to another episode of UX Clicks. We’re here to help you guys get into the world of user experience design and kind of be your mentors through your growth and learning, as you embark on this pretty cool journey.
So today’s video is about how to go about changing your career to UX. If you’re like both of us, we were in different worlds and we both discovered user experience through previous careers and then decided to make a shift from what we were doing previously over to user experience design.
So how did we do that?
Yeah, it’s a great journey, but there’s a couple of steps that probably will help you do it better. One of the things to remember is that UX is field agnostic. And it means that you don’t have to specialize in that field, say travel or healthy food or anything else, cars, boats. You don’t have to specialize in that to become user experience designer in that field. So that’s the main thing to remember about trying to make a change. Because the process is actually pretty consistent, depending on how you implement it. It should be the same whichever field you decide to go into. So you can literally work with Tesla and design a great user experience for them, without specializing in Tesla cars to do so. Of course, this may help, but in some respects, it might even play to your advantage to be detached from that business.
So, first of all, the first step is, if you’re planning to change your career, we’d recommend that you find a course. There’s plenty of courses these days, from General assembly to Career Foundry there are many great options out there now for you to get a grip on the concept of user experience design and to start understanding this fairly vast methodology. Simon here finished a General Assembly course and had a great experience with them.
Yes, that’s true, I had a great experience studying with them, way back when they were just starting to get going. They are massive now, but it was great. It’s really helpful if you can afford it, to go and do a course in person with experienced tutors who will run through with real practitioners knowledge. There’s lots of practical advice, there are some quite practical things like, usability testing, and how do you go about running those sessions. How do you pull together personas? What’s the process for interviewing someone? User research, and all of these things, you might want to ask in person questions. If you’ve got somebody experienced there that can answer those questions that’s a real advantage.
So, for that reason alone I would personally recommend going on a course. Alongside that, you are probably going to inevitably end up doing a lot of study. If it’s something you seriously want to do, then this is something that you should be doing. There are now plenty of amazing books on the subject, and the more you can further your knowledge, the better you’ll be at it when it comes to doing the real thing in your day to day job.
Now the next thing is, to get some projects. This will be your main challenge. When you want to find a job as a user experience designer, you will have to show some previous project experience. Now, it’s likely you will get some project experience from the course you took, as most courses will give you a chance to work on several projects and you can then obviously use them for your portfolio. But if you feel like you don’t have enough projects, you can always run some personal projects.
Try finding a friend or a neighbour who needs an application or a website and run the process that you have just learned from your UX course. Run that process for that project and there you go, you have an additional project to add to your portfolio. And that leads us to the next step, which is …
You are going to need to pull together a portfolio and a website, it’s kind of expected now and very rare that you will be able to get into the business without having an online portfolio. We would strongly recommend you consider your portfolio.
And just as important as your consideration for your online portfolio, it’s just as important to think about your CV. Your CV should be short, concise, wherever you’ve worked before and whatever experience you have, if you can bring that round to being relevant to user experience, which can be fairly achievable, as most jobs have some kind of connection that you can make to user experience design. Try and be creative with this, look for those connections, and put them into your CV and don’t forget to keep your CV short.
It is actually a really good point, be sure to make it relevant, add your previous experience too. The next step that you probably should prepare for is your sales pitch. Basically, when somebody comes from a different background and tries to get a new job, the first job here in UX field, the employers will be looking for that connection between your previous job and UX role that you are applying for. Now I would strongly recommend before you go for a job interview, prepare yourself, talking to yourself, in the shower or whatever works for you. Just sort of find that connection, whichever it was.
If you were in marketing, how that connects you to UX. Maybe you did some wireframing, maybe you did some user research while doing so. But whatever it is just find those connections, because that will make it much easier for the potential employer to see that you are the right candidate.
Yeah, it’s true, and give a solid reason. Think about why it is you’re making that change. You already know, so get that story tight so it comes across and it’s easy to relate.
Next thing, apply daily, the business is changing constantly and the more active you are, the more on other people’s radars you’re going to be. So if you’re talking to recruitment agents and you’re speaking to them, messaging them regularly that you’ll be on their agenda, so when something comes in they’ll think of you straight away so be active keep on it. And that can be challenging, and hearing lots of no’s is very de-motivating but just plow through, something will come up and that’s the attitude you need to have to stick with it.
Yeah, and also very good additional point, taken in to account is to interview as much as you can. So even if you find a job that you’re not interested in 100 percent, definitely go for an interview if you can. Whether it’s phone interview or face to face interview it’s a great experience to learn how to talk about you as a user experience designer, how to talk to somebody who has been in UX for longer than you have. And also just, in general, to understand how those interviews run. What kind of questions you might be asked, and maybe prepare next time for the better job a bit more and just land that first UX job you are dreaming of.
Yeah that’s great advice, the more you can interview, and each time you do, you’ll learn a little bit about the different businesses and what they know, and so it will be a bit of a discovery experience for yourself, let alone the organizations. I would as Anastasija recommends, interview as much as possible.
Great, so that’s our six tips for changing career over to UX and they were, UX is field agnostic which is great and really exciting for all of us. It means we can jump around industries and not get pigeonholed. Take a course, study up, it’s really important to know your stuff. Do personal projects, get a portfolio and CV up online. Prepare your sales pitch, apply daily and interview as much as possible.
That’s it, guys, thanks so much for watching and tune in back for next video, so new X stuff and please subscribe to our channel, we would really appreciate that and see you soon again.
Yeah, take care,