Did you transition into UX from another field/industry?


We’re doing some research into UX career transitions. Did you move into UX from another industry?

Tell us your story…


Didn’t you ask this question before? :thinking:


Well remembered. I did ask it out of curiosity in the past, but we are now doing formal research so I’m asking again. :slight_smile:


I started with BAs in Graphic and Interactive design, mostly working as a dual graphic/web designer. Much later, I got my Masters in Interactive Media hoping to get a step up the career ladder, but that’s not really happening. I put UI/UX Designer on my CV, but I’ve mostly had to be a design generalist who knows how to use Sketch.

As a web designer, I was always informally doing UX design beyond what items the marketing director told me had to be in the nav. The Masters just refined the philosophy and goals. I’m not even sure how much of a “transition” I’ve done when it comes to daily work duties except for what software I use more.


web development > web and graphic design > UX


My career has been a very twisted journey.

  1. Fitter & Machinist, and CNC Programmer
  2. Salesperson
  3. Insurance Worker
  4. Graphic Designer
  5. UI Designer
  6. UX




Front-End Dev > UX Designer

I thought the transition would be easy since I already understood all the concepts and had some UX work in my portfolio. It ended up taking a year and a half to land a full-time UX job. The hard work and perseverance paid off. I’m in a much happier place now.


Undergraduate with creative writing degree > Office Manager > Webmaster > Front-end Developer > UX Professional (Sr. UX Designer > UX Architect)


Sports Journalist -> Retail Store Operations Manager -> Call Center Rep -> Senior Call Center Rep -> Corporate Trainer -> Learning Design Developer -> Corporate Communications -> Software Engineer -> Digital Signage Design & Development -> Digital Signage Design & Development Team Lead -> UX Engineer.

It’s been a long road that included being homeless, living out of the back of my car, teaching design classes at 2 AM, and now settling down to a full-time UX career in FinTech.


I did graphic design, motion graphics, web design and advertising work, sometimes overlapping for about 12 years. I also have a traditional art background. During my advertising days and while doing web design I started to become more interested in how people were using the sometimes pretty work I and my coworkers would design. When I got the chance to do my first wireframes back in 2007/2008 I jumped all over it, though I didn’t know what I was doing in hindsight but interestingly enough they were annotated wires. Those wires just kept ramping up into more complex and demanding opportunities and UX deliverables, including user interviews and research. I’ve since dropped the hybrid/multidisciplinary title and have largely focused on UX Research, Design and Strategy for the last 8 years.

As I look back there were signs I ignored all along. My mom is a career psychologist. I won an interesting award in elementary school that speaks to the empathy I personally believe UX designers need. My dad bought my sister and I the Encyclopedia Britannica when we were younger and was BIG on us researching topics daily and telling him what we learned when he got home. I’m annoyingly curious and ask a lot of questions, about everything. I genuinely enjoy helping people and solving problems but not always in the context of what is traditionally defined as UX work.


humanities refugee > brick mason > failed freelance designer > jr baby ‘full stack’ dev > account manager / project manager > am/pm + ux design > ux consultant

i did read “tell us your story” tho… so here’s some of that

i spent 14 years in construction, i’m a licensed brick mason.

i got physically sick and couldn’t do labor anymore, wasn’t in love with the admin and sales side of the work at all. in fact i had no connections or chops to make sales. i also was non-union and couldn’t just jump into a higher profile company - or at least i thought. looking back i had more options than i knew. but - you don’t know what you don’t know.

was able to put together some passive income, juuuuust enough to be ramen profitable :smiley:

i spent that time of my life scared af. i thought i was dying, which wasn’t even the worst thing that could happen to me. i thought i would be dying, and also a financial and emotional burden on my family who were already struggling.

i started learning whatever i could, seeing what would stick. khan academy math courses, thinking i might go back to school and test out of math courses i hadn’t taken since the early 2000s. this was a really scary and dark time in my life, but whoa boy did i zero in my focus. i quite seriously cut everything out of my life that wasn’t helping me find a career.

i ended up slipping back into dev, thinking i could lean on my mid 90’s design chops if needed. i had learned html/css as a 12 year old, was pretty good tactically with creative suite (you used to make websites in adobe by slicing PSDs, btw :smile: ), and had generally been into this between 12-17. but i had largely considered this stuff to behind me though, i really had a ‘been there done that’ kind of attitude to it before deciding to jump back in.

i would have to check the hospital records to be sure, but it was maybe 8 months of all-day sessions in my kitchen studying, coding, breaking everything, losing patience (repeat) until i landed an internship as a developer at a super scrappy startup. i worked for free for a long time, which i always hear not to do, but whatever i was desperate, and no one was paying me to sit in my kitchen either. at least this way i was working with a 23 year old full stack dev black belt. this stuff just made sense to him, and he was generous and friendly. he also had a super bright attitude which helped motivate me. it was worth a lot then.

eventually, a big company made him a really good offer and he left. the scrappy startup took a nose dive - i couldn’t replace him.

somehow, through like 2 levels of acquaintances, really happenstance stuff, i got an interview at a small agency that had just hit a big growth spurt. like, a month later after sending several reminder emails, i got the interview and walked in thinking i was applying as a front-end dev/ designer. turns out they outsourced all that, and they needed an “account manager”

it paid like shit, but it paid! i was making my first regular income. this became the am/pm + ux role.

i’ll end this here unless asked otherwise. it’s late.


@mrcn That’s a fascinating story! Would like to read the continuation…