Yes, becoming a UX professional within a year or less is possible. This was demonstrated by students like Felipe Borges, who enrolled in the Mastering Interface Design (MID) program in December 2017.
Within a month, he began receiving interview requests and even managed to succeed in four out of five selection processes he participated in.
This article will explore the key factors that can influence someone's path to becoming a UX Designer and provide insights on how to succeed in this field!
UX Design: A growing market
The field of UX Design has been around for quite some time, with companies like Apple implementing User Experience techniques in their products and services.
However, it's only recently that the UX market has experienced a surge in demand, attracting professionals from various fields and young individuals starting their careers.
Due to its rapid growth, many individuals have become curious about UX and its differences from the UI field, which is also highly sought after in the market.
They want to know what it takes to become a UX professional and how long it would take to enter the field. As a result, we frequently receive inquiries such as:
- Can I transition to UX even if I'm not a designer?
- Is a college degree necessary to secure a job in UX Design?
- Can I land a UX Designer position with less than a year of study?
- Is it still feasible to switch careers even at an older age?
- Do I need programming knowledge to succeed in UX?
Reading Tip: 10 Reasons Why UX Design is an Amazing Profession
Factors That May Impact Your Journey Towards Becoming a Successful UX Designer
Your potential to become a successful UX Designer is not limited by your background.
The world of UX is diverse and exciting, and your previous experience can be a huge asset! By applying your past knowledge, you can identify UX problems more effectively and come up with innovative solutions.
If you come from a Design-related field, it's likely that you have some understanding of certain concepts, processes, and theories that can serve as a foundation for your journey into UX Design.
It's important not to limit yourself. Whether you come from a different field of study or work, switching to UX Design is always an option.
Our MID program is made up of students with different backgrounds, such as Administration, Law, Advertising, Psychology, and Customer Service. They have all come together to explore the exciting field of UX.
There's no need to worry about your past experiences. Even if you're not familiar with design, you can make a smooth transition.
Examples of different backgrounds
André Borges, a student of the MID program, was a Marketing Analyst before switching to UX Design.
André landed his first UX job after only 8 months of studying. For those looking to switch careers, he offers the following advice:
First, set a goal for yourself. Family support also helps a lot. […] So the key is to have a goal, focus, and not let fear get in the way of your dreams. […] Today, particularly, I am very happy with what I do, and every day is a new opportunity to learn and seek knowledge. If I made it, anyone can!”
In addition to André, other MID students have also been able to transition to UX/UI Design from the most different backgrounds:
- Inis Leahy – Psychology;
- Neudson Costa – Advertising;
- Lívia Assunção – Biology;
- Fábia Coelho – Customer Service;
- Leonardo Andrade – Civil Engineering;
Academic background may not be the most crucial factor in UX Design. Many design courses in universities fail to keep pace with the ever-changing market or provide sufficient knowledge on effective creativity methods and processes.
"Whether you work in a related field or not, my advice is to study hard! Study a lot! It may sound like a cliché answer, but it is true. Learning is very important. Go to events, search for material online, watch videos on YouTube, etc. And the time is now. The industry is still growing and being defined. I think we are in the best moment to embark on this world."- Joy Almazan
Joy Almazan recently shared her experience of landing her first job in UX after dedicating 7 months to studying.
Another student, Felipe Borges, adds:
"But the main thing is that you have to be very passionate. You got to have a sort of fire in your gut, a change of mindset, you have to say to yourself: I'm going to make it somehow, I'm going to do it! And then dedicate yourself 24 hours to it."
André Borges also emphasizes the importance of focusing on studies:
I started the MID in January 2018 and soon established clear rules for myself. One of them was to focus 100% on the studies. I set a goal that in 8 months, I would be at MID level 3 and building my UX portfolio. I studied an average of 7 hours a day and took the weekends off to rest.
In this sense, one of the first things you should do when you decide to pursue a career in UX is to look for a good (updated) course to learn and develop UX techniques and skills.
Please remember that the quality of the course ultimately depends on your effort. Your diligence, dedication, commitment, and initiative in seeking additional resources and implementing what you learn through various projects are what truly make the course valuable.
Reading Tip: 5 Hurdles to Overcome When Switching to UX Design
Another educational factor that should be taken into consideration is the educators.
When selecting a course, it's important to research your potential teachers and mentors. Take a look at their professional backgrounds and ensure they have significant involvement in the UX Design industry, as experience is crucial in this field.
The influence of instructors can greatly impact your educational experience, so make sure you don't let a negative educator discourage you.
Our Mastering Interface Design program boasts mentors from top companies in the international market. They bring years of UX experience and a passion for passing on their knowledge to new designers.
Our final tip is to take things at your own pace, avoiding any comparisons with others. This approach will allow you to acquire knowledge calmly and effectively, preparing you for success in the job market.
Anyone who dedicates themselves to their studies can become a UX Designer, but to stand out and get the best positions in the job market depends on you and your effort!
The power of Community
Aside from taking a course, it's crucial to build connections and network with fellow members of the UX community. Our community is vast and open to collaboration, always ready to share their experiences in the UX industry.
Moreover, with these connections, you can enhance your knowledge, exchange valuable information, and even discover potential job prospects.
Our student Luka Vasconcelos, for example, who was able to secure a job as a UX Designer at Indra through the recommendation of another MID student, all within a year of starting their studies.
The MID community
The MID program is designed as a community where experienced professionals mentor and support students throughout their development journey.
Throughout the MID program, I focused on building my UX portfolio by utilizing the knowledge I gained, the attentive guidance from Aela's mentors, and the support of the Aela Community. Every step I took was motivated by the goal of improving my portfolio to be better equipped for interviews.- Fabia Coelho, MID student.
Age is not an issue
Age should not be a determining factor in pursuing a career as a UX professional, just like one's background.
A clear example is Jey Castro, a student of our MID program. With a degree in Advertising, Jey worked for approximately 27 years in agencies and now, at 40 years old, decided to switch careers.
It's never too late to reinvent yourself.
Something that brought you pleasure and motivation when you were 20 may no longer have that positive effect when you are 40. Understanding what is happening and going after something new can be challenging, but there is nothing stopping you from pursuing what makes you happy.
Software and programming
The tech industry is constantly evolving, introducing new systems, tools, and products. Keeping up with these releases, especially when they offer improved features that can assist and streamline your work, is crucial. It is important to recognize that software is simply a tool that is regularly updated and refined.
Choose software that is most suitable for you and your company. However, it is possible that a better option may arise in the future. Therefore, it is vital not to rely on only one tool. Don't forget to prioritize your human skills – while tools can become outdated, human capabilities do not.
A helpful tip is to start with pen and paper. This will allow you to visually map out your ideas and make it easier to use a tool to bring them to life.
Knowledge in programming
A controversial topic in the transition process is the issue of the need for programming knowledge. The fact is that a Product Designer does not necessarily have to know how to program.
The fact is that a Product Designer does not necessarily have to know how to code.
Sometimes as an interface specialist, you may encounter situations where you have to help out with coding or improvise. Some companies expect UX professionals to handle a range of tasks such as logo design, site design, drawing, and development, often at a lower salary. This practice undermines the true value of a UX professional.
Learning how to identify these positions is not only intriguing, but it also adds value to your resume. The more knowledge you possess, the greater your chances of success.
Programming knowledge is highly valued by many companies. They understand that individuals with such expertise possess superior communication and interaction skills with various departments, including developers. It is not necessarily because they will be directly involved in coding and programming tasks.
"Here at Wunderman, it's totally separated. Maybe knowing the code can help you when you think about the design, but I don't think it helps much in the day-to-day work routine."- Joyce Almazan.
After addressing common questions and identifying key factors that affect the path to becoming a UX designer, it becomes clear that achieving this goal in less than a year is achievable.
We have demonstrated several instances of successful student transitions from diverse backgrounds and age groups. Your commitment to your studies and completion of projects to develop a suitable portfolio will determine your success. We can guarantee that the effort invested will be rewarding.