How I changed careers at 39.
There are already quite a few ‘how to get into UX’ articles out there, I know this because about a year ago I read pretty much all of them. After some careful consideration, I decided the world needed another article 😉
Seriously though I believe everyone’s journey into UX is different so I thought I’d share what worked (and didn’t work!) for me. I hope some of these tips are useful to you.
A bit of background…
I changed careers later in life after working in IT for around 18 years. I’d always wanted to do something creative, and after doing a bit of web design in my previous role and discovering this thing called UX, I knew the direction I wanted to go. Here’s how I did it.
1. Have a plan
Work out the steps you need to take to get your first UX job, and by when. Do you have a target date? I had decided to opt for redundancy at work due to a restructure, so I had a year to prepare before I left the company. This was scary but also motivational, as I had a clear date to aim for.
I mapped out a project plan (basically a massive Google sheet), with a list of actions and target dates. This eventually grew to be my central place for useful UX links and resources, and I still use it now.
Creating a plan really helped me divide everything into small achievable steps and figure out what I needed to focus on first, rather than being completely overwhelmed with the sheer amount of work I’d need to do.
Also seeing my progress as I ticked things off really helped keep me motivated.
Deciding which order to do things was sometimes difficult, but I started with finding a training course, and writing up case studies for the UX projects I’d already completed.