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What kind of education, experiences, or jobs lead you to your current one?
I graduated in 2010 with an A.S. in Graphic Design and started off my career doing marketing and advertising, from printed materials to banners and websites. At one point, I started working with Fortune 5 enterprises and I realized that I enjoyed a lot more the user experience and product design realm. So I started pursuing that and now I'm a Product Design Lead. :)
What about you?
I started off my career doing Web Design, SEO. I worked when UX was not even really a thing, and have about 20 years. I graduated with a degree in English a minor in Spanish and specialization in creative writing. I originally was going to enter the teaching program but my course was changed. For about the last 4 years I have been teaching UX a program I co-founded at SMU Cape in Dallas . I’ve worked to mentor, teach, and employ large groups of UX design professionals. Through the course of my career I have worked with and in start-ups and large coporations. I currently serve as a Principle Immersive Designer at my own company focusing on UX Strategy, AR, VR and beyond.
I currently spend most of my free time in my life long passion of UX . This involves a lot of time evolving UX to a new form (MDUX) as we move into spatial worlds of dimensional design. To this end I’ve created a new class, and workshop that I’ve been teaching around the country.
I get the awesome pleasure Of training the next gen of UX pros and people at all stages of career and personal transformation. These professionals come from a wide amount of backgrounds.
I love questions like these! You will see that everyone’s path is different. There is no linear “one size fits all” path to this field. Honestly, that’s the beauty in it!
For me, my journey didn’t start in tech at all. I graduated in 2014 with a social science degree in Family, Youth and Community Sciences. This degree focused on building communities, knowing how to create resources based on the community’s need, etc. I specialized in Youth Development and enjoyed topics like gamification in education, using technology to aid urban communities and almost any community/tech related subject. See, I’ve always been interested in tech; however, the computer science route beat me up every chance it got. After trying to get into the CS major for two semesters, I gave up. I ended up picking the major I mentioned above just to finish out my college career without accumulating too much debt.
After graduating from college in 2014, I became a high school math teacher in my hometown. LOVED IT! I mixed our lessons with technology all the time. I told my students I wanted to try to become an “engineer” one more time before I gave up. So, that summer, I attended a coding boot camp. The boot camp focused on back-end languages (Ruby). I learned everything I could and applied for a job as a UX Designer. I know…I know…I’m sure you’re thinking, “What! You don’t know anything about UX?” You’re right, I knew nothing about UX, but I was naive enough to think it couldn’t be that hard because I was an artist when I was younger. (Seriously, I was pretty good! I won lots of art contest back in my day *Pats self on back*). Long story short, I got my job as a UX Designer and I couldn’t be happier. Three months in, I realized UX isn’t solely about being an artist at all. Yes, having an eye for beautiful layouts could suit you well for the visual aspect; however, there is also a psychology portion I didn’t think about before. Remember that degree I told you about at the beginning of my story? That degree focused on communities and that’s the same thing I’m doing as a UX designer. I had to keep the user/ the community in mind at all times. As a teacher, I had to tailor my lessons to the students I taught. I didn’t realize how much my previous roles helped me as a UX Designer. My skills were totally transferable. I guess I knew UX after all.
What about you? Tell us your story. I would love to hear it.
Hi all, and thanks for the great responses.
My journey to UX is similar to yours, Lenora. I started studying architecture, working as a community organizer and mentor at the time. I transitioned to studying urban planning, although it turned out that career path was different than I expected. I wanted to focus on improving the community based on the community's feedback, which isn't necessarily what an urban planner does. Eventually I ended up in fine arts with a degree in Visual Communication/Graphic Design (and Spanish!). I took at few web design classes, called myself a UX designer, and got a job as an intern at a tech company.
I have learned so much more about what UX is since then. It's definitely not just having an eye for design and being able to apply design principles. I taught myself research methods and started to advocate for training about UX for the team I work with. I work with clients to define problems and requirements, and sketch out their vision for the solution. I work with developers to advocate for the user and create an experience they want. Now I'm a Senior UX Designer who understands what user experience is :) It does tie back to my job working in communities, and ultimately is the perfect blend of art and engagement for me.
Always looking for more answers to this thread so we can see that UX is a diverse field that greatly benefits from humans with a breadth of knowledge and experience.
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