Advice on getting started


Hello I am outside of Boston and had been a technical writer in health care IT for many years. I am out of the market and trying to re-enter with a newfound interest in UX Design. I already have a Master’s degree from Northeastern University in Technical and Professional Writing. My interest now is not to get another degree but a certificate to launch this new career direction.

Here are my key questions:

  • Are the online formats are sufficient to compete with the many know on-campus programs?

  • Is a certificate enough to compete for entry into the field?

  • Is there something I should consider as I review online programs to best prepare me for entry?

My research and attendance at conferences informs me that portofolio is key. I am trying to figure out ways to build one without breaking the bank.

Thank you all for your thoughtful consideration!

Getting Started in UX

Hey there,
Welcome. :slight_smile:

I would say yes to questions 1 & 2. There is definitely no hard requirement to complete a formal on-campus UX qualification. I suspect you’ll find that the majority of people here didn’t.

Regarding 3, I think that talking to people that have already done the courses is a good idea. They can be very differently balanced with some pitched at self-directed learners and others with a lot of mentorship and hand-holding.

@jdebari would be a really helpful person to hear from here. She mentors for several programs.

A portfolio is a big part of the process although I do know of successful UXers that have survived without one (e.g. @AshleaMcKay). They don’t have to cost money though. In fact, most don’t.


Hi @annesavitblondin,

Hawk gave some great answers. You could transition into the field as a UX writer and move into design from there if you wanted. You could start with a simple portfolio showing examples of writing such things as simplifying complex topics, instruction text, etc. Most UX writers focus on writing for interfaces. There are some good articles on Medium about this.

“UX Writing. Let User Interface Speak.” @tubikstudio

I know in San Francisco we have a UX writers Meetup. See if you can find some similar groups in Boston and start networking. You can create a simple portfolio with Wix, Wordpress, or Squarespace to get started.

Hope that helps!


Hi @jdebari
It does help! I had no idea this existed. Thank you for such a helpful post!

Now to find companies that want such a resource here on the East Coast!


Many thanks for your responses. I am sensing that there area many approaches to the field and glad to know the options exist.