Any advice for a Career Change into UX in Melbourne, Australia?

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#1

Hi all,

Like many others I’ve been looking at breaking in UX - I’m about half way through the “Getting Started in UX” eBook which has been incredibly helpful so far. I’ve been thinking about making the switch to UX for quite some time; I feel like it’s the perfect match for my interests of loving visual design and research.

Currently, I’m working on a personal UX project for my portfolio and using online resources to guide this project. However, I’ve got to admit it’s driving me a little insane working at home so often - I definitely prefer working in a studio or office environment!

The main problem I’ve been struggling with is deciding on what step I should take next. Should I make the leap for an internship now or join a UX Boot camp?

Work Background

  • Graduated in late 2016 with a double bachelors in Digital Media Design / Marketing.
  • Currently working as a Marketing Coordinator, with another year of experience as a Marketing Intern.
  • Various freelance Graphic Design Projects.
  • Overseas Volunteer work.

Design Background

  • Comfortable using most of the Adobe CC suite: InDesign, After Effects, Illustrator, Photoshop, Audition.
  • Comfortable in HTML/CSS: Some Front-end experience producing static webpages and EDM campaigns.
  • Some prior experience using Axure and InVision, although not an extensive amount.
  • Link to my Portfolio (I’m currently updating the content).

Previous UX Experience

  • One semester at the Swinburne University Design Factory which involved a project with a financial industry client. Unfortunately, due to the NDA I’m unable to share specific work examples from this period.
  • A University research project, which involved primary/secondary research, persona and scenario generation. While I’m happy with the research/analysis process, I feel that the static webpage and motion graphic produced could’ve been higher quality with more time to prototype.

Perceived Weaknesses

  • Lack of UX portfolio pieces.
  • No formal UX education or certificate.
  • Not great at illustration.

Hopefully I haven’t gone over too much old ground here, any advice that can be provided is much appreciated :slight_smile:!


#2

Start applying for jobs now. No, seriously-- do it. The absolute worst that can happen is that they say no, and with your background there’s a good chance they may say yes, especially for entry-level UX work. You have the design/front end skills to be successful, and you have the thought process/passion for learning that bring many great new UX pros to the table.

As for your weaknesses:

Portfolio

Start writing about UX topics now. Demonstrate proficiency in the basics, discuss larger issues, and show that you have the ability to lead a group and though process from a UX perspective. Writing always does wonders to increase this perception.

Also consider working on some nonprofit/open source/just for fun projects. A great way to meet people who need UX help is through UX meetups. I’m not sure if there are any out in your neck of the woods, but they’re becoming more and more common world-wide.

No formal UX Education/Certificate

Here’s the big secret of the UX industry: you don’t need form education on the topic. It’s part of the industry’s strengths, in that it attracts problem solvers with different perspectives, from all different walks of life. Many of the UX pros you’ll meet on these forums and in your job search will not have formal UX training.

To be a great UXer, you need two things:

1.) The drive and desire to solve the interaction problems in the world around you;
2.) A never-ending thirst for knowledge on the subject.

If you can demonstrate that you have these pieces and a fair amount of proficiency on the topic, you’ll be able to get your foot in the door.

Not Great at Illustration

Most UX pros are crappy illustrators. Don’t let that stop you :slight_smile:


##Your Next Steps

If I were you, I’d take the next steps towards advancing your UX career:

1.) Start looking for open-source/non-profit jobs to contribute to.

2.) Start a UX blog. Even if nobody but you reads it, you’ll learn something, and have some writing to show basic proficiency on multiple UX topics.

3.) Start applying for entry level UX jobs. Don’t let years of experience or degree requirements throw you. The worst that can happen is that your resume gets ignored, and the best-case scenario is that you land a new gig.

4.) Keep reading and practicing. If you feel a UX Bootcamp would be helpful to you, by all means join one. Just know that formal education isn’t a necessary requirement for work. It’s more of a “nice-to-have.”

I hope that helps. I’m sure others will have other thoughts, but let me know if I can answer any questions!


#3

I think it will be good if you bring a more focus to the leap motion project, it’s a unique project.


#4

Wow! Thank you for such a detailed response, that’s really put my mind at ease on what to do next. The UX blog in particular is a good excuse to finally get that started on my portfolio.

I’ve got some other questions:

  1. From a quick scan of the usual job hunting websites (LinkedIn, Seek), I struggled to find entry-level jobs; it seems like most firms are expecting a minimum of 5 years experience. Would it be worthwhile to apply to these anyway?

  2. Is there any website which would do a UX resume check? Based on my previous job history, my resume is pretty marketing focused, so it would be good to get some pointers on any specific areas to change.

  3. A silly one, but when it comes to LinkedIn & portfolio website, what would be a suitable job title? For now I’ve written ‘UX Enthusiast’ because I don’t feel it’s entirely accurate to call myself an established UX Designer yet.


#5

Hey there,

Based on what I’ve seen here in the forums since I’ve been here:

  1. Yes, it’s worth it to go ahead and apply for those jobs. At worst, nothing will happen. At best, you’ll have an opportunity to show your portfolio and shine that way.

  2. I don’t know about a UX resume check but people post their portfolios here and get feedback all the time.

  3. I like UX Enthusiast myself, but I think it would be better to go ahead and call yourself what you’re applying for because “enthusiast” sounds like it’s a hobby rather than a career.


#6

I’m really glad I could be helpful! To answer your questions:

1.) @Piper_Wilson has hit it on the nose. Apply anyway. At worst, you get no response. At best, you get a job. The middle ground is you get some experience interviewing for a UX position that you don’t end up landing. If that happens, be sure to ask for feedback from the hiring manager/team about what they viewed as your areas for improvement. You’ll learn a lot, get some practice taking constructive criticism (which is important skill for a UXer to have), and make some new contacts. I can’t remember where I read the statistic recently, but a large majority of candidates applying to positions do not meet the required work experience.

2.) I’d be happy to help with your resume. You can drop me a link in a PM or email me at DougCollins@outlook.com. I’m a new dad, so it may take me a few days to give it the attention it needs, but I promise I will get back to you.

3.) Piper is right again. There’s nothing wrong with giving yourself a LinkedIn title that describes your career ambitions. The only problem with the title you’ve described is that it sounds a bit amateurish, wish is not the right vibe to give off. I might go with something confident and playful, like “Your Next UX Designer,” “Up-And-Coming UX Guru,” or “UX Designer in Process.”

By the way, from your posts, it sounds like you might already be suffering from a bit of Imposter Syndrome, where you believe that you’re somehow BSing your way into a position you don’t yet belong in. Don’t fall for it! It’s an incredibly common issue in our community, and one that holds many people back from jobs that they can do, simply because they believe they can’t.

No one will hire you unless they believe you can do the work. Much of this is skills based, to be sure, but a fair part of that assesment is your own self-perception. Confidence breeds confidence. Assume you will be successful, and more often than not, you will be right.

Not only can you do this, you will do this. I believe in you. Get out there and kick some job-hunting butt. If there’s anythinng I can do for you along the way, let me know. I’m always happy to help out.


#7

Sorry for the late reply - I was away in New Zealand !

  1. Time to get my portfolio printed out! I think it’ll be well worthwhile to gain the feedback while job hunting. Thanks for the pep talk too :slight_smile: , it’s good to break out of the Imposter Syndrome headspace!

  2. Thank you so much, I’ve sent an email to that address.

  3. Agreed, ‘enthusiast’ does sound like more of a hobby. “UX Designer in Process” is perfect.

That article describing Impostor Syndrome definitely struck home, it’s relieving to hear it’s a common issue! I suppose it’s arisen because of the move into a new career - it’s why I’m now leaning to do a part-time UX bootcamp. I feel that it’ll be valuable to gain the confidence from completing the course in addition to the networking opportunities.

I was recommended this course by a mate: https://academyxi.com/courses/user-experience-design-melbourne/
It seems to be a new one and I think it’s more of a match for me than the General Assembly one, mainly due to cost and time commitment.