Yes, this will be another one of those “is UX right for me?” threads, so please bear with me. Everyone’s story is a bit different after all. And I would absolutely LOVE some veteran input. Thanks in advance!
So, here’s the story. I turn 30 this year. My background is in social sciences. Until recently I was even considering pursuing a Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology. Consequently, I’m no stranger to applied research, and I believe this aspect has potential to carry over nicely to the world of UX. I also have work experience in advocacy, customer service, and project management.
Why UX? Ever since I was a kid I liked creative tasks, especially those related to visual arts. Back in high school, I really enjoyed art and drafting classes. I also tinkered with some amateur website design (Flash and Photoshop mostly). In general, tinkering with the look and feel of something (be it a website button or a PowerPoint presentation) allows me to enter into the state of “flow” – hours go by, and I don’t lose focus. I think a job combining research on usability with creative aspects would be really cool.
The BAD. At a gut level I think I can tell good design from bad. However, beyond this amateur appreciation, I have no formal training or professional experience relevant to this field. Sure, I can learn the tools, read up on theory and processes, work on my portfolio, and maybe even enroll in an online boot camp. BUT, will that be enough to land a job? Will I get hired without proper experience and/or design-relevant degrees or certificates?
I see a lot of people here crossing over from fields like graphic design and architecture. But is there also place for someone like me? Someone who has a social science background (applied research) and some “businessy” soft skills, but not necessarily a whole lot to show in the creative department. I wouldn't want to be stuck as someone who does research exclusively, I'd very much like to also get my hands dirty and do some light UI work. Is this possible?
- BA in Cultural Anthropology (USA)
- Soft skills / emotional intelligence / charisma
- Amateur knack for design
- Able to work in US/EU (flexible)
- No formal training or professional experience in ANY creative field
- No training/experience with UX, UI, or design (nothing relevant)
- Mostly irrelevant MA (International Relations)
- I can dedicate up to 6 months learning UX/UI skills & tools as well as working on my portfolio. I’m considering looking for an online boot camp (I cannot possibly devote time/money towards a formal 1 or 2 year degree)
- I would like a job offer in UX within a year, preferably after 6 months. In-house or agency would be best for me, I do not enjoy freelancing from home.
- I wouldn’t mind interning for a few months (but no more than 6)
- I would like to learn/experience some UI design on the job, so not just the research/analysis side of UX (realistic?)
- To increase my chances, I plan to start my career in a growing European startup hub (such as Krakow, Prague, or Tallinn). Would it be easier to launch a career there, compared to say Silicon Valley?
- With 5+ years of relevant experience I would like to start looking for six figure jobs in NYC or California (realistic?)
One last thing, please be brutally honest. If there’s something seriously wrong here, please do let me know. I’d rather know now than months/years down the road.