Hi everyone! I've been lurking on these forums for a while now, and I wanted to introduce myself.
How did you get started in UX?
Well, to be perfectly honest, I'm still getting started! I'm in school in San Diego, CA, studying for my Master's in Psychology (or Psychological Research, to be more precise). My second and final year just started, and I plan on finishing with a degree in May of 2015. If I'm unable to collect enough data for my thesis project, I may end up graduating in December of 2015. Either way, I'm not planning on continuing for a PhD or a Psychological research career. While some of the work I encounter is interesting, most of the overall 'research process' (grant writing, protocol development, and other tedious and soul-sucking paperwork) turns me off to the prospect of making it a career.
One of my current projects, however, is related to usability. We (the Psych team in San Diego) are collaborating with some Computer Science students in Virginia to build a Health Education application. The collaboration consists of lots of back-and-forth emailing and an iterative design process using feedback from our target population. A few months into the project, I decided to start exploring usability research and the ways that I could help out the CS crew in Virginia. As it turned out, the usability 'testing' we were doing was very subjective and lacked some components of a practical usability test. So, using some knowledge I had acquired via reading, I helped the team tweak some of the testing protocol to collect more useful and practical data from the target user population.
So, that in a nutshell, is how I got started. However, the whole reason I'm joining this site is to meet some more seasoned UX Masters and solicit advice on how to navigate the launch of my own UX career over the next year or so.
Are you interested in a particular area?
At this point in my self-taught UX journey, I can't pinpoint an area that I am particularly interested in. Really, I'm just trying to learn the 'foundations' of the craft while maybe applying them and building a small portfolio. With that said, however, my Psych MA Thesis (which studies vaccination attitudes and doesn't really relate to UX) uses qualitative interviews to collect data on attitudes and factors that may contribute to health outcomes. In a way, building my qualitative interviewing skills should be a useful endeavor when I start a UX career, although I will definitely need ongoing practice to become worthy of a good job.
Do you work in UX?
No - at least not officially. As mentioned above, I'm a Psych master's student with some lofty goals of switching careers in the upcoming future.
I know I could have included tons more information, but I think this is a decent way to start my involvement in the forums. If you have any questions, let me know, and hopefully I can get some feedback from you guys about the steps I'm taking to reach my goals.