We have followed a great movement of people migrating from their careers to UX/UI Design. Among many factors, such as being one of the "professions of the future", a "strong trend" and the "human side of technology", this area has attracted professionals from various sectors who migrate definitively, as they find enormous professional satisfaction in a highly promising scenario. In today's article we will talk about how you can prepare yourself for a decision of this size.
Many of us "had" to choose our career very early in life. The point is: were we prepared for that decision? What were the external factors that influenced us? Were we sure of our abilities before choosing a path? In past generations, people accepted without blinking the fact that they had to pursue a single career, doing the same thing for 35 long years until retirement. Well, we know that today it's not exactly the same for many factors, and many people see technology as responsible for this "restlessness" of the new generations. But what we do know is that the world has changed a lot in the last 30 years and now people have many more career options. It would be a mistake not to look at these new options at least. And UX/UI Design is definitely one of the most promising and coveted careers in the world.
We understand that someone who decided to migrate to UX/UI Design did so because they fell in love with some of its aspects (when not all). Another reason is because they found in this profession the possibility to explore still under-utilized skills, which were in hibernation. Among many reasons, you can find listed below some of which have led an increasing number of people to become interested in UX/UI Design:
This factor is extremely motivational, and it drives many people's decision. It comes from personal observation and restlessness, that is, from your perception of people's relationship with products - and how that relationship could be better if these products had been user-centered. But since just seeing is not enough, the desire to generate this impact on people makes you act.
That term is often used nowadays, because it is too broad. But in the UX/UI Design scenario, the way this point is handled is very interesting. Problems are seen as challenges, starting points, not stumbling blocks. Solving them is not just finding a supposed solution; it is a constant practice of finding viable paths, validating them, implementing them, testing them over and over again, and collecting results with real people. It is not about technology, but about human processes.
Many companies felt distant from consumers who, for a long time, had no voice in the design of a product - just an opinion about the end product. Research stopped before they were born, or were limited to Marketing. In UX/UI Design, you go much deeper into people throughout the process, to avoid creating products that nobody wants to use. Understanding people in their different behaviors, profiles, cultures, luggage and opinion is extremely enlightening and rewarding.
To experience the feeling of having participated in the birth of a disruptive product is indeed something priceless. We can witness today the constant creation of digital products that not only innovate, but impact and reinvent entire segments, in businesses that very quickly become highly valuable. And, above all, people love those products to the point where they say, "I can't remember what my life was like without that."
No matter how many companies are resistant to change, digital transformation is real, and the mindset of creating user-centered products has become imperative if they are to remain competitive in the market. UX/UI Designers are those transformation agents, whose work question the entire internal product development process so that the company not only gets more results on a business basis, but also gains the heart of its customers by retaining them.
Take hold of your previous experiences and acquired skills. If you put down on paper everything you know, I can assure you'll be surprised. Make this list and select which of these items can be used in your new career. Also, there is something important to mention: Find something that makes you unique. This can make a lot of difference when companies are looking for a professional with your potential profile. What can you do that will contribute significantly to your professional value as a UX/UI Designer? We've seen companies looking for a UX Designer with a strong background in Psychology, others looking for someone who have been a writer, and still others looking for someone with experience in product management. These professionals composed their profile in order to use UX/UI Design as a channel for their experiences and expertise.
Specifically speaking of UX Design, unlike other professions, it is not imperative to have a background in Design. In fact, this may even be an advantage in some cases - there are companies and opportunities that value professionals from other careers. People who have been in X situations, dealt with X type of business, known X processes, understood X tools or have solved X problem in order to get good results, can fit like a glove in unexplored gaps within Design Teams.
There is one point of paramount importance that is well worth raising: Your Soft Skills. For you to become a UX/UI Designer, it is a fact that an immersion in the studies of practices, methodologies and processes is necessary, so that you learn effectively how everything works and have a satisfactory delivery. As stated in the article Knowing how is not enough in the UX/UI Designer career, it is the Soft Skills that open the way for you to enter and stay in projects. If in your previous career you already mastered skills such as collaboration, empathy, resilience, public presentation and leadership, your new career will inherited them, increasing your professional value.
Define a purpose for your migration, and stick to that purpose until the process is over. Don't act on impulse: Because your friends are doing it, or because someone has promised stability and high wages. Your motivation should be solidified in your own profile. This factor is very important for you to stay focused and eliminate the fears and uncertainties that will arise during this journey.
This change can be slow, often painful, full of surprises and still force you to take steps backwards in your career. But know that the more dedication you apply to your new professional life project, the faster you will overcome these obstacles and find opportunities that value your professional profile.
In many cases, there is much to lose if this transition does not happen as expected. It really takes courage, as many give up before it even begins. To do this, listen to people who have been through it, always keep yourself very well informed, seek theoretical / practical training and find a mentor to follow your development more closely.
Never underestimate the power of a “cold” contact. After all, you’ll need new contacts, new friends, new groups – and the good news is that the UX/UI designers are very close, being formed by people who always help each other. Don’t stand still waiting for people to come to you e be the missing piece they need.
It is important to stress that learning in this area never ends, as it is constantly (and very fast) evolving. Even the most experienced professionals are always attending courses, seminars, reading several books and getting to know new methods for the improvement and specialization of their careers. This is a practice to acquire that is one of the pillars of a UX/UI Designer's career, and no doubt it is what guarantees the constant evolution of the sector: People pushing it forward.
One thing they don't say to the new UX/UI Designers: "You have something special that brought you here, but that something needs refinement." Deal with this, accepting your mistakes and learning from them so that your deliverable can reach an alignment with its maximum potential. It may take time for that barrier to be broken, and for you to be proud and satisfied with your own work.
There is no ideal previous path that can label a UX/UI Designer as better or worse. Everyone has a profile, path, culture, vision and experience that they can add to their professional career. Search for your own profile, train it to your professional goal and look for opportunities that value you.