I only have two tips to offer here. Mostly, I’ll just share with you the journey I took in making a career change. Maybe you can relate to it.
During my college years, Iwasn’t exactly fond of web design because of the coding part. I sucked at it. I failed to understand the basic logic behind the development. I couldn’t do a simple if then statement even if my life depended on it. That’s how terrible I was at it. As for the design part, I did fine. I viewed it then as “art” *cringes*
But what I really want to do after college was 3D design. I loved it! When I graduated, of course I applied to companies for that position. I thought Iwas really good at it. Unfortunately, it turned out it was hella difficult to get in that industry. I got tired so I applied as a Graphic Designer. I got in.
After a year of doing graphic designs, I felt something was missing. It didn’t provide the kind of growth that I craved. Somewhere along the way, I got tasked to creating designs for the company’s website to accommodate e-commerce. I started researching on how to create designs for a website. Low and behold, I got super fired up. I read lots of articles and books on how to properly start a web design project. I was able to create it and then handed it off to the third party developers.
After that, I told myself that’s what I want to do. I continued to learn about UI design. I was able to land two good side gigs as UI designer. I continued to hand off my designs to developers. Constantly revising it too because, sometimes, the devs can’t code it because of browser compatibility. It also gets translated differently to how I designed it.
That was frustrating. This led me to studying frontend development. I did youtube tutorials and free online courses. I kept learning until I was confident enough to code my first website header and navigation. Boy, that was a huge milestone. I was amazed.
Now, how I got a job for something I learned mostly from the internet? Guts. I saw a facebook (yes, you read that right) job post from a startup. The requirements fit my relatively new skill set. I applied for it and got an interview.
While doing the interview, I decided to be upfront. I told them that my coding and UI skills are new and self taught. They were cool about it. After the interview, I immediately heard back from them. I got the job! I even waited for them to take it back. That it was a mistake. But, it wasn’t. I became their 2nd UI designer and front-end developer. Fortunately, the senior designer mentored and helped me hone my design eye and development skills. I never looked back after that.
Fast forward 4 years later, I’ve grown so much as a designer. I am now looking into transitioning as a UX Designer or Design Strategist. Diving deeper into how design can be used to properly leverage a business. Im still learning though. *winks* This new skill set is important also if you want to be an entrepreneur. (If you haven’t read my previous articles, I run a design studio)
Now for the two tips that I can offer:
1. Keep learning.
Really. Keep reading articles and books related to the field you want to get in, Do online courses even the free ones, listen to podcasts, and just keep learning.
2. Have the guts to go for it. Do it.
You may feel unqualified now, but no one started with exceptional skills right away. You just have to start somewhere. Rejection isn’t a bad thing. You still get to learn from it.
Those two things got me where I am now. But in order to get me to where I wan’t to be, I need to step up. So do you. Keep believing in yourself.
Fuck what other people say.
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