How big a deal is being older when starting out in UX career?

Another question about how hard it is to get into a UX career. I’m 56 years old. I know, hard to believe, right? :slight_smile:

Last night I was at a UX Meetup event in San Francisco, USA and talked to a couple of people who thought it would be harder getting into a UX job at my age. I always sort of figured it’d be a little bump in the road, but after talking to them I’m wondering if it might be a really tough hurdle.

What is your experience with this…from the hiring side, or for yourself or colleagues?



I can imagine that it is hard to be hired for a UX junior position in your age, but I am sure you can find some interesting alternative for you. Look at this situation from another perspective than to present yourself as an employee. Sell your own service!

3 simple steps can change everything:

  1. Grab UX Skills
  2. Network and make connections
  3. Sell your skills packed as a service (consultancy, agency e.g.)

I do believe that in this situation your age is only a plus, as you have a huge experience behind it.

Make your ages work for you :slight_smile:

Armen—I really am looking to become an employee (after the last 12 years running a one-man architecture business), and I’ve thought of your solution before. I’ll have to see what I really want to do most: what you suggest or maybe eventually looking for work in a different field.

It’s only a big deal if you make a big deal out of it :slight_smile:

My manager at work is 55 years old but I don’t see his age. I see someone who: never stops learning, constantly questions everything around him, is committed to continuous improvement and growth and damn good person.

I had a 73 year old lecturer at university (now 78) who used to say that age is simply a proxy.

Yeah sure, a handful of people at a meet up had the opinion that you’re going struggle but hey you do know what they say about opinions right? Don’t make me type it- it will get blocked :slight_smile: Don’t let that get you down- my manager sure wouldn’t.

​You’ll be fine @dougc - follow your dreams and try not to over think things.

1 Like

Ash—Yeah, I talked to some other folks and realized I should “Keep calm and carry on.” Thanks for your comments.

I can’t imagine why it should make any difference at all. Did the people that you spoke to have a reason for saying so?

Forget about what other people says, period. Just move forward with your goal, if your goal is to get a job, work hard for that. The opportunity will come…

Hawk—They weren’t specific, but it was in San Francisco where lots of people are founding and working in start-ups full of young folks.

visualbug—You’re right. Thank you for the words of encouragement.

Heh, hearing you – I happen to be in SF right now. It’s a culture shock…

Hi Dougc - I am in the same position as you - 55 years old, had my own micro-business for 6 years (video production) and worked in tech before that but decided that I really didn’t like running a business. I’ve dabbled in and around "Human Factors " but was having a heck of a time getting job interviews after the age of 50. So I’m seriously looking at Career Foundry’s UX Designer’s course. My main concern is if age will continue to be an issue as, like you, I want a perm job not more freelancing (although long term contract work is fine)

Welcome @scrow9 – glad you found us. Welcome! I’m going to tag @dougc in so that he gets a notification of your post.

As an aside, @Lukcha also comes from a film background (and I think @leighrubin may have as well).

Oh, thank you Hawk - that would be neat. I’ve decided to enter Career Foundry’s UX Design program starting in May and will hope for the best, they do have a money back guarantee if I don’t find work but that’s hardly the point of the exercise. I gave some thought to doing their UI Design course instead but I feel UX is where my interest really is and I can always take the UI course after “graduation.” Is there any salary or career advantage to going the UI route as a first step vs UX?

Video production and UX share some pretty core skills:

  • collaboration
  • ideation
  • storyboarding and storytelling
  • interviewing
  • empathy
  • research/preparation defining the project
  • editing/iterating to get things right
  • focus on a great user experience

  • There is even crossover in some of the software tools, especially Adobe’s.

Here are two articles you might find interesting, @scrow9:

Good employers really should recognise the benefit of life experience with the above. It’s shameful they often don’t.

Do UX first. If that’s where your passion lies, do it. There is no advantage that I’m aware of to prioritising UI. They compliment each other.

I assume you know that @dougc has done the CareerFoundry course also?

1 Like

Thank you @Lukcha and @HAWK. I will definitely check out the two articles you mentioned Lukcha

1 Like

Hi SteveCrow,
I am 56 years old with medical background planning to enter clinical UX/UI. not started learning yet.
may I know if you have already started your journey in this filed . I am also concerned about my age like few others here.
thank you


I wish I had better news for you but no I was never able to gain even entry level employment in UXD - not even get an interview in fact. Was my age the total reason for this? I can’t say for sure but I have to think it was a very large factor in how things went.