Sorry to be the one throwing cold water on this discussion but if you don’t think age is going to be a factor against you, you are in for quite a shock. I’m 55 and have several friends who are 40+ and, like me, attended or are attending CareerFoundry’s online bootcamp for UX Design.
The story is largely the same, they, like me, send tons of resumes in and the most frequent outcome is basically silence. I have been submitted to both senior and junior UX positions but the most I’ve gotten from employers is a preliminary phone interview, maybe once or twice (I don’t honestly remember even that much progress but I could be forgetting something) - you will hear terms like “over qualified” which, of course, is code.
Essentially they don’t know what to do with you. If you are older but don’t have much direct experience already doing UX professionally then it would make sense that you would start off in a junior designer role. But you would be 30 years older than their typical junior hire and maybe 20+ years older than the MANAGER for the design department. I’ve also tried to submit myself for Senior roles many many times but that doesn’t work either because the hiring managers for all their complaining that they cant find enough qualified and EXPERIENCED people to hire, don’t have the creativity or perhaps will to look at even related skill sets combined with recent UX education.
And yes, there are currently way too many new graduates seeking those very well paid jobs! The most common request is for people with 3+ years recent experience, those with 5+ are in a better position.
Yes, by all means, a portfolio is essential, and having at least 3 work samples focusing on process as much as outcome will be essential as will professional networking. Frankly, responding to online ads for UX designers at 50 and over is a waste of time…sorry to be so blunt but I am only sharing my actual experience and those of my friends in similar situations. Is it impossible? Hell no! BUT you will have to find a backdoor - the front door for regular employment is not welcoming at this time.
Try and find an online bootcamp that offers your money back if you don’t find a job within 6 months. There are several. Plan on starting out by doing freelance or volunteer work to get real world work samples under your belt. OR hire yourself and get together with your new friends from the course and create a virtual agency. Do you have business experience, can you SELL professional services?
One of my friends and classmates has over 25 years experience as an Art Director (most all of it in print) and so, naturally, has great visual design skills and HE is running into the same thing.