Advice on getting back into a UX role

Hello everyone! I am looking to get back into a UX role and would love some advice.

Just for some background, I have about 15 years or so of total career experience (about 5 of that in a UX role). I started off my career in the field of Training as an eLearning developer creating web-based content, and then transitioned to a role as a UX designer for a Financial Services company. I was in that UX role for about 5 years and really enjoyed it.

I was presented with the opportunity to work remote for a Big Data startup, but in a role back in training, so I decided to take it and I haven’t been in a UX role for over 5 years now.

Lately I’ve really started to miss being a UX designer, I prefer the role much more than my current role.

Although I have past experience, I know that a big 5 year gap in employment since the last time I was in a UX role isn’t going to be appealing to employers. It also doesn’t help that I don’t have anything current to put in a portfolio.

In addition, I realize that a lot has changed in the world of UX in the past 5 years. I have however been trying to do a good job with keeping up with what is going on in the world of UX by reading blogs and experimenting with the latest tools, and also trying to keep my HTML/CSS skills fresh, but it’s still not the same as working in a full time UX role of course.

Any advice on how I might be able to find my way back? Should I take some classes? What does everyone think of certificate programs such as the one below, are they just a waste of time and money?

Thanks for any advice!

Im here with you mate.

20 years managing software projects, business analysis (from business case to UX to UI to Requirements Documents etc) to making writing tests cases that test the usability of a use case etc, right down to designing the usbability of a Database Schema for a product.

Id presume at some stage you would have worked as a BA or similar if in large companies?

I dont think you need a lot, how long have you had off? Ive been out a LONG time, but Im confident. I will likely do some generic BA software dev work and work my way back into a UX and wireframing type role for the BA as now it seems UX has been stripped off of BAs, and my reasoning would be, a lot were generic BAs ie Process BAs who dont get Soft Dev and the importance of design. In saying that there are a lot of good BAs with decades of UX knowledge who do it instinctively. Its that initial business case that writes the use case and the usability required to get the funding from a BA after all (that a PM will claim as their work lol)

1 Like

Hello! I have been away from a UX role for about 5 years now. I was never a BA though, in my role as a UX designer, I was responsible for creating wireframes, high-fidelity mockups, creating prototypes using tools like iRise/Axure and also by working with our developers and writing some code.

My role didn’t really require me to write use cases and such, we always had a BA or two on our team who handled that piece. Once in a while I did have to create task/process flows.

I think the hard part is I am not sure I’ll get any interviews if I apply for a job because the recruiters will see see a 5 year gap since the last time I have been in a UX role.

And then if I do get an interview, I won’t have any recent experience to discuss with the interviewer/hiring manager.

TBroas its all about righting a narrative for the time you have had off, and make sure you use the positives. For me it is working in ecology, something Im passionate about and secondly It was as a carer to my mother.

1 Like

I would look into doing a short term Bootcamp that has projects for real clients. You’ll receive up-to-date methods and expand your portfolio. I would also rework / update your portfolio. Avoid putting in old images of your previous work in iPhone 4s or something like that which will make your previous work look dated.

Thanks for the input @tim0, I will look into a Bootcamp. My portfolio definitely has some old iPhone mockups in there :slight_smile:

Hi @TBroas! I’d be happy to speak a little on behalf of my own experience in a UX bootcamp.

It sounds like you have much more experience than myself, as I’m new to the field of UX. But I’m currently taking an online bootcamp with Springboard. It’s about a 6 month program, but it’s self-paced. I’ve been enrolled since September 2019, and I should be finished by this April or May.

The main thing that attracted me to Springboard was definitely their career services, job guarantee, and also mentorship. I can schedule unlimited calls with professional career coaches who give me advice on where to look for opportunities, how to highlight my skills on LinkedIn, interview prep, etc.

In terms of the mentorship, this has been super helpful for me because I have a lot of questions about my projects, and my mentor always gives me feedback. The mentors have years of experience in UX, so they should be able to answer any questions you have about the industry, for example how it’s changed since you last worked in UX!

I know that taking courses online might not be for everyone, since you do have to motivate yourself to dedicate the time to studying, but I think this course is a really good option for someone who wants to build up their portfolio. And I’d especially recommend it if you qualify for the job guarantee, or if you’d like to take advantage of the career services.

Hope this helps! :slight_smile:

1 Like

Thanks @Genevieve_Smith :slightly_smiling_face: