Can I transition into UX from another career field? UX Question #16

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Kira from New York asks, can I transition into UX from another career field?

I love that question. Thanks for asking, Kira. This is UX Question number 16 and I am Ben Judy.

Can I transition into UX from another career field. Yes, absolutely. People do it all the time. I think many if not most people in UX today did something else before they became a UX designer or researcher or strategist. UX is multidisciplinary, it’s a melting pot of all kinds of skills and approaches around human-centric digital design. So, you can come from almost any professional background and bring that knowledge and experience into UX. Just don’t make this one mistake.

I had a teacher in high school who taught a careers class. And he did something that made an impact. I remember it. He wrote three letters on the whiteboard in front of the classroom, and the three letters were, “DLY.” He wrote DLY and he said, this is an acronym. What do you think this means? What might DLY stand for?

We all took turns guessing. But he wouldn’t tell us what it meant. He only said, this is the best piece of career advice I can give you. But come back next week and I’ll tell you what DLY means. So all weekend we were thinking about it.

And next week came and he said, if you remember nothing else from this class, remember DLY. And we’re dying with anticipation and curiosity. What does DLY mean? He finally told us: “Don’t Limit Yourself.” That was his big piece of career advice. And sure enough, I don’t remember anything else from that class. But I remember Don’t Limit Yourself.

By the way, that’s a great teaching technique. Maybe I should do that I with UX Questions. I’m going to start doing that. I’ll ask the next question at the end, and I’ll give you my answer a few days later. So you’ll all be thinking about it.

So anyway, can I transition into UX from another career field? Yes. Teachers, developers, technologists of all stripes, graphic designers, accountants, retail store associates, corporate recruiters, whatever you do now can be a springboard into UX. Many, many, many of the people I have mentored through Designlab were or are career transition people, pivoting from whatever they have done and they discovered UX.

The common denominator among those who successfully execute that career transition is, they didn’t limit themselves. They believed they could do it, and they worked hard and pursued UX until they got that first job actually doing it. You can, too.

Keep asking your questions about UX. Next time, I’ll answer the question: What kind of company should I work in as a UX designer?

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