Hi everyone! Super stoked to be here and to have found the UX field.
Where in the world are you?
Tiny Texas Town, USA.
What stage of your career are you at?
The trying-to-enter-UX-ASAP stage.
My background: I have a PhD in an experimental psychology field. However, I realized that I also had interests in tech that I would never have time to explore (and would regret not exploring) if I stayed on the psych track. So, after wrapping up the doctorate, I've worked in an applied org research role at a university during the day (surveys and focus groups and interviews and statistics, oh my!), helped evaluate search engine algorithms part-time for another company at night, and have taken classes and/or independently studied web development, SEO, a/b testing, etc., when I wasn't doing either of those things. (It's been.....busy!) Somewhere in the midst of doing all of this, I discovered UX and everything suddenly "clicked". Never thought I'd "stumble" upon a new career ambition but, hey, life's full of surprises.
What are you current challenges?
I would say two things.
First, there's the hurry-up-and-learn grind (have read Albert & Tullis's Measuring the User Experience and am currently reading Baxter, Courage, and Caine's Understanding Your Users and Lebson's UX Careers Handbook). However, that has more to do with my own patience than a legit "challenge" per se. It's hard being patient when you're excited to do something now.
Second, there's the job search. I'm very strong research-wise, but everyone seems to also want a designer with a portfolio and "stories to tell". I know that employers are projecting the "unicorn" ideal out there, but...I'm just not accustomed to applying for things without meeting at least half or most of the criteria. So, that's been discouraging, and is largely why I've only been able to send out a couple of applications so far so my areas of interest (Denver, Austin, Seattle, Plano so far). Design is definitely next on the professional development list.
What aspects of UX are you passionate about?
I'm a research geek, so naturally UX research methodology will always be an interest. Apart from that, though, I am interested in accessibility, design, and information architecture.
Cats or dogs?
Oof, well, I have a Shiba Inu who is cat-like and a Maine Coon who is dog-like, so....to me, they're basically the same soul and I cannot choose.