UX Design is a fast-growing field that demands highly qualified professionals to fill job vacancies. There are many challenges involved in this field, and the question is: how can I transition to UX Design?
What are the fears and obstacles surrounding a career change? The truth is that no journey is easy when we are at the beginning.
Keep reading for valuable information to help you embark on your exciting journey toward UX Design and ensure your success right from the start. So, let's dive in and explore these tips together!
Why do you want to transition to UX Design?
Have you thought about the reasons that make you want to change careers?
Usually, when we have this type of thought, we are not happy in the area we are currently in, so we look for other opportunities to improve our lives. But what's your reason?
Let's list some reasons that make people want to transition to UX. They are:
- Dissatisfaction with their current field;
- Salary increase;
- Working remotely;
- Working abroad.
Several factors can help in your decision. Perhaps at some point, you have realized that your current field is not offering you career growth. And now you wish to pursue something better.
Does your salary cover your expenses? Can you live well with what you earn? This question is extremely important because we need to earn a good salary doing what we love.
Working from home can be an advantage for those who want to work in UX. Not only that, it gives us the opportunity to carry out projects for companies abroad, which can be amazing.
The truth is that organizations are looking for UX professionals all over the world. So if you've made that decision, we can tell you that it won't be as simple as it seems, but it will be worth it.
Check out what Amanda Menoti, a student from the Mastering Interface Design (MID) program, has to say about transitioning to UX:
"I got my degree in Architecture and Urbanism in late 2018, but I wasn't passionate about it. It was very difficult to get a job because my field was undervalued. In 2020, the pandemic came and with it, some existential crises. That's when I realized that I was putting a lot of energy into courses that I just couldn't picture myself working in. So I decided to change careers and, while researching on the internet, I came across Aela's workshop and learned about the UX universe. I took some free UX courses and fell in love with it." – Amanda Menoti
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Research about the field
Before taking action, it's important to collect information about the field, highlight the aspects you like, watch videos, and inform yourself regarding the job roles available.
In addition, understand the possibilities of working in UX that you believe match your profile.
Gather your doubts and seek answers. Talking to people who have already transitioned to UX Design is also a great alternative because they will be able to show you another perspective of the field.
It's important to know the position you want to reach and create a schedule with an estimated time frame to start your career change.
Be realistic with your goals and set short objectives that can be achieved every day.
Acting on emotion can bring future regrets, so be aware of what you want for your professional life.
Ask yourself the following question: Do I really want to become a UX Designer? What do designers do on a daily basis? Is this what I want for the next decades?
If the answers give you the certainty that this is what you want, then you are on the right track.
It's important to research remuneration as well. Check the levels and positions you can reach and what efforts you should make.
After going through all of these assessments, write everything down and prepare your career change strategy. At this point, you should already focus on the position you want to work in.
This plan may change, so it's important that you be flexible with the goals set and invest your time looking for the best decisions for your transition.
Reading Tip: How to Pivot Into a UX Design Career: 10 Initial Steps
Spread the word about your interest
Now that you have researched the field, you must spread the word about your interest through different communication channels.
Use social media to show your friends and colleagues that you are changing careers, make new connections with people who are already working in UX, and promote your profile.
Knowing how to use these networks will be of great importance to you. Corporate social networks can also increase your possibilities. Show that you are available for the market and that you are studying the subject. Networking is the best way to increase your personal and professional relationships.
Through these relationships, you can better understand the field. There are several questions we can ask ourselves when looking for an opportunity:
- What certifications do I need?
- Which area do I relate to the most?
- How should I write my resume for a career transition?
- Am I prepared to earn less in the beginning?
These questions should be answered honestly, understanding the reality you are currently living in. Felipe Melo Guimaraes, mentor, design lead, and founder of Aela, says the following about UX positions:
The first step is to have an idea of what you want to pursue. It's important to note that this may change as you learn more, gain further insight into the field, and start working. However, the sooner you identify your interests, the easier it will be to focus on your studies.
Once you've identified your area of interest, pursuing relevant certifications is crucial.
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Look for certifications
UX Design courses can contribute greatly to your career development, so invest heavily in your studies and focus on the area to which you will transition.
In addition to the knowledge you will gain, your network of relationships will also expand, which can bring many future opportunities.
Depending on the course you take, you may even end up with a secure job, so don't skimp on your studies and focus your efforts on what you really want.
If English is not your native language, it might be a good time to practice and upgrade your language skills. By speaking English proficiently, you can effortlessly engage in effective communication, allowing you to express your thoughts precisely and succinctly while using the right words in the right context.
Another advantage of taking courses is that your instructor will most likely be professionals in the field who can guide you down the right path.
Even without experience in the field, having a certification can make a big difference when transitioning to UX.
Also, it is important that you try to relate to the area you like because that way the transition process can be simpler. Felipe talks about this:
"If the person can get to what they want, that's great, but it's difficult. Depending on what it is, things can be more difficult, but that will be at the beginning. As they persist, it will get easier. An example is the game industry, it's very closed and will only accept people who want to make games."
It's not just about knowing what we want. As time passes, you may choose other things, but Felipe means that if you know what you want, things will be simpler.
When you know what you want, you have a purpose and a clear goal, so it's easier to put more effort into your studies, seek more information, and always look to improve.
Here at Aela, we have the MID (Mastering Interface Design) certification program that specifies the characteristics of UX and UI Design to prepare individuals for the job market.
How long does it take to transition to UX Design?
There is no right time to start your career in UX design, as it depends on your willpower and persistence during your studies, as well as your personal marketing on social media. LinkedIn is a great social network to showcase your work.
While some people have landed their first job in less than a year by taking UX courses, the exact time it takes to enter the field can vary. One of the key factors that will catch the attention of recruiters is your portfolio.
Your portfolio is a reflection of the ideas and projects that you will carry out as a UX Design professional. It will help you throughout the hiring process and will be your most important tool to showcase your work.
If your portfolio is already structured, it's a good idea to share it on your social media. Remember when we talked about networking? At this point, your portfolio will be your greatest asset in sharing your work so that it can reach large companies.
The sooner you start building your portfolio, the sooner you can get an interview and even a job. So, direct your knowledge toward building a strong portfolio.
Reading Tip: 7 Mistakes to Avoid In Your UX Design Portfolio
List what you don't want
Just as it is important to think about what we want to do, we must also consider the things we don't want. By doing this, you eliminate the chance of working in areas you dislike.
Some jobs will come more naturally to some people than others. It is important that you make clear what you don't like because it will help you focus on what you do like.
We know that in many cases, we do not have the opportunity to start working in the exact role we want, and we might work in a different area for a while.
Generally, it is not easy to start exactly where we want, and the reason for this is simple: lack of experience, certification, and other factors. Felipe also talks about this:
I've heard some people say they don't want to work in anything related to the financial market. With that, all their studies and projects will point elsewhere.
If you don't like a job role, don't waste time with it. Focus your efforts and projects on things you enjoy.
You may miss some job openings initially, but if you have the opportunity to choose, it is always better to look for something you enjoy right from the start.
Why should you risk an opportunity and afford to be picky? Because the chances to succeed in something you're naturally interested in are always higher than in something you don't like. You'll be giving your best.
Patience is one of the most important attributes, but it can be difficult to control. This is because we always want everything immediately, especially what we are obsessed with.
Sometimes, we do not consider the time things take to happen, and we become frustrated, sad, and demotivated. One of the reasons for this problem is the distractions that are all around us.
It is very easy to get sidetracked by internet videos or to use your phone just to waste time that could be spent studying.
Having patience is about understanding where you are and where you want to go and creating a plan to achieve that goal.
"Everything we want, we want it fast. Usually the patience we have is for something we don't care about much. If we really want something, we will have less patience. If a person is able to focus and create an introverted state while studying, they will improve more." – Felipe Melo
Find the balance. If you commit to studying for 2 hours a day, try to dedicate 100% of your attention and really focus during that time span. Look for precise information about your field and don't chase after 20 or 30 different references, focus on one or two.
Create a plan for yourself, but proceed one day at a time, be patient, and set a daily goal for what you want to study. If you don't plan, it's easier to get lost – and exhausted. You can easily lose sight of your goal without a clear plan and strategy.
We can assure you that you will succeed if you follow these steps with determination toward the goal you want to achieve.
Reading Tip: From Art Direction to Product Design – Interview With Jean Braga
Structure your plan
Now that you have done your research and are focused on your goals, it's time to put your knowledge and ideas on paper.
Set a period—for example, 1 year—for transitioning to UX Design and divide that time into activities.
Make a list of the activities you will perform, and as you complete them, mark them off so you don't get lost. Here are some activities you can add to your list:
- Submit the revised resume to recruiters;
- Structure the portfolio with your case studies;
- Develop projects at different levels;
- Develop your logical reasoning on the topics of your projects.
Organize these points on your list so that you can handle the daily activities. Be careful when selecting too much and not being able to deliver, be patient. First, develop your reasoning in the content of your projects, which will be acquired through your studies on the subject.
Second, start developing your projects and compose a portfolio. Your portfolio will be a demonstration of your knowledge in the field for recruiters and companies that are hiring.
In this sense, it's always important to remember that the portfolio projects should reflect your knowledge of UX Design. People who come from advertising and already have experience with design sometimes think they can create a UX portfolio without studying UX. Don't make that mistake.
After that, submit your resume to recruiters in order to secure at least one interview and job placement. Sometimes you need to take a few steps back to be able to see your future.
When you're creating the checklist, the most important thing is to look to the future and take steps back. If you're just starting out and imagine that in 2 years you'll be working in the field, this is your future. So on date X, I'll be working in the office, or at home, or as a freelancer. I have 2 years to achieve this goal.
Family support will be the foundation for success
Having the support of parents or family at this time can be essential, especially to help you through difficult times. Sometimes we need to take a break to be with the people we love; only then will we regain our energy and continue pursuing our goals.
The process of transitioning to UX is not simple, and you won't always be 100% motivated. Family and friends play a very important role in restoring your mental health for your learning, so be close to loved ones when things aren't going well.
In most cases, people work while making a career change because they can't afford to leave their current job.
If this isn't your case or if you still live with your parents, it's important that they can provide you with financial support during the process because you'll need to invest in your studies.
It's important that they can help, at least until you can work in the field and become financially stable.
Reading Tip: From Advertiser to UX Designer – Interview With Neudson Costa
Do you really want to switch to UX?
Switching to UX requires a life change. You need to be sure of the choices you will make so you don't regret them in the future. Therefore the question remains: do you really want to switch to UX?
Sometimes we get excited about some topics we see on TV and are taken by that emotion, but in practice, things are not always like that. We need to be involved with the decision we are going to make.
If you already have conviction of what you have decided, then there is no doubt, just start planning your career and transition process as soon as possible. Now, if you are not so sure, we recommend researching more about UX and talking to people who already work in the field.
Take a look at what Felipe says about it:
"The person needs to be really interested in the field. For example, they may have seen on the news that UX is a trending area with a good salary and became excited. However, this person tends to give up easily."
UX Design is a field with a lot of market potential that is constantly evolving. UX designers can earn good salaries, but it's important to have a genuine interest in the work. It's not enough to work in this field just because the salary is high or because you can work remotely; you need to enjoy what you're doing.
If you are working in a place that you don't enjoy, the chances of giving up will be very high.
Therefore, think carefully, research, and set your action plan, following the items and questions we've discussed in this article. We're sure this will help you achieve your goal of transitioning to and working in UX Design.
The MID: let us show you the way
To assist you in making this career transition, I invite you to explore our certification program in UX and Product Design: Mastering Interface Design (MID).
With the MID, you can start from scratch and acquire the necessary knowledge to become a talented UX and Product Designer.
You will not only learn the theoretical aspects but also put your learnings into practice.
At each level of the program, you will work on a project that will be reviewed and approved (according to our quality standards) by our team of mentors.
Each project can be added to your initial UX and Product Design portfolio.
The MID is a comprehensive program that has already helped numerous individuals successfully change their careers and become accomplished UX and Product Designers. We are confident that the MID can also push your career forward.
To learn more, please visit the link: Mastering Interface Design Program