Pivoting to UX Design At 40 – Interview With Rodrigo Guilherme
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Pivoting to UX Design At 40 – Interview With Rodrigo Guilherme

Pivoting to UX Design At 40 - Interview With Rodrigo Guilherme cover

Rodrigo wanted to get more involved in projects and interact with a team. But he felt insecure about switching careers due to his age. After 13 months, since he made the decision to change fields, Rodrigo got his first role in UX Design.

Check out his overcoming journey and the tips Rodrigo shares with those who are also in this process of switching to UX/UI Design.

Rodrigo, please tell us a little bit about yourself

I majored in advertising, and all my background is offline – I worked for almost 15 years in this field. I've done everything from invoices to branding for large companies, regulatory agencies, and national organizations.

Before enrolling in the MID program, I was feeling the need to become more strategic – I was a very hands-on person, and this started to bother me.

I wanted to be able to exchange ideas and information with other people and work more as a team on projects.

I think this was the main reason that encouraged me to change fields.

The MID came at a very delicate moment in my life; my mother had just passed away, I was an only child, and I was emotionally shaken.

I was really unsure whether to start the course. But I talked to my wife and Aela's team, who all encouraged and supported me to continue with my studies.

UX Design Wireframe developed by Rodrigo Guilherme, Aela's student

How did you come across UX Design?

I couldn't stand to work isolated anymore, especially because I had no one to share my decisions with.

Also, I didn't get feedback from my clients, so I didn't know what the impact of my work was – that was something that bothered me a lot as well.

The first time I came across the word UX was in early 2018. A colleague told me he was transitioning to this field, and I thought it was pretty interesting.

When he told me that in UX, the designer in charge takes part in the whole process and that the work continues after the delivery, it resonated with me.

This colleague gave me some reading material, but I really felt the need for a course.

I spent some time looking for a quality course to help me in this process. That's when I found Aela's "Transition to UX/UI Design" workshop and decided to attend the classes, which was crucial for the moment I was in.

After taking the workshop, I signed up for the MID and found the framework amazing: the classes and all the projects the mentors give students to develop.

Detailed Project in the Portfolio – Rodrigo Guilherme, MID student

Reading Tip: How I Landed My First UX Design Role – Interview With Master Interface Design Students

Please tell us a bit about your journey in UX studies

First, what I worked on the most was a change of mindset. Despite coming from a relatively similar field, there were still many changes that I had to adapt to.

But I had a lot of support from the Aela community and received several recommendations for further reading and references. That was great.

I also took other online courses and participated in many events on UX Design, mainly in São Paulo.

I had some preconceptions in my head when I decided to change careers: that I was too old (39) and that I wouldn't have a chance in the job market. In the beginning, I even thought of giving up, but I thought: "if I don't do the work, no one will do it for me."

At this point, seeing other MID students' stories motivated me to keep dedicating myself to the classes and the projects. After a while, I stopped worrying and decided to do my part and see where I would get to.

The MID project presentations, which take place during the live classes, were also essential to my journey.

And if in some moments, I would get upset with one or another feedback, I realized that the high bar set by the mentors is essential, because the job market is also demanding.

Visual elements for a UX project developed by Rodrigo Guilherme, MID student

And how was the process for landing your first UX Design role?

I went through a couple of recruiting processes before I got to the position I'm in now as a UX Designer at Stefanini Brasil.

Some had design challenges involving wireframes, developing personas, and user journeys. I received a lot of Nos before I got the Yes, but I learned with each process and each negative answer.

It's a bit complex; at the same time that you feel prepared, when you apply for a job, you realize that you actually still have a bit to go before you get there. But this is part of the process.

The selection process for the position I’m in now was simple and surprising. I was in São Paulo when I got a call from a company person saying they liked my LinkedIn and portfolio. In fact, my portfolio only had two UX projects at the time, which were developed during the first 2 levels of the MID program.

The cool thing was that I hadn't applied for the position – it was a referral, and they eventually called me.

We scheduled an interview, and this time I didn't have to take the design challenge that many processes have, I just had to send my resume.

The interviewer asked me a lot of technical questions and asked me about my experience. I was very honest. I answered what I could answer, but if I didn't know, I was honest and said I was willing to learn.

The position was Junior level, he even asked me if this would be a deal breaker for me since I was a Senior in my last position.

This was something that I had already worked on internally; that to pivot, I would have to take a few steps back initially so that later I could get more opportunities than I had in advertising.

Final project interface by Rodrigo Guilherme, MID student

Reading Tip: The Importance of Psychology in UX Design

How is your work routine going?

My routine is completely different from what I used to do. In the old days, the first thing I did was open Photoshop and Illustrator.

Now I open my calendar to see if I have any meetings or presentations and the priorities for the day.

At first, I found the routine strange, I found it much slower than what I was used to. But now, I have gotten used to it.

I have a more flexible, calmer routine, not that crazy advertising routine.

Today I work in a team with two more UX Designers and developers. This is great because I wanted to work in a team and participate more strategically in projects.

What advice would you give to those wishing to pivot to UX Design?

It's important to remember that every "No" we get in an interview makes us stronger. We may be sad for a while, but don't let this discourage you.

The first piece of advice is to train yourself, study, and do your part. Seek professional guidance, like Aela and the MID program.

Besides the projects and assignments that help our portfolio, we have all the support from the community and the possibility to exchange experiences and learn even more.

Another essential point is staying humble. But this does not mean not taking risks.

Don't be ashamed to learn what you don't know or to put yourself out there. If you find an opportunity, go for it.

Persevere and don't give up. There is no shortcut, and it won't be easy, but the satisfaction of someone calling you and telling you that you got the job is priceless.

Final project interface by Rodrigo Guilherme, MID student

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