How to transit from market research to UX?

I chanced upon this community and have seen a lot of awesome advice about getting a career in UX, so am hoping to get some personal advice here too! :slight_smile:

Just a little background about me… I’m a quantitative market researcher with 6 years of research experience. I typically run projects online to understand consumer behaviour within the mobile & tech industry. I’ve recently left my job and am on the lookout for an opportunity in UX. I’ve done some reading (I really enjoyed Don’t make me think!) and also attended Dr Travis’s usability course in UDemy to understand the building blocks of UX. What I find hardest in the whole process is to work out a portfolio - it isn’t very motivating to work on dummy projects and it isn’t easy to get real projects either. Do you guys have any suggestions on how I can build a portfolio from scratch?

It seems to me that the nature of UX is more qualitative driven (e.g. developing personas, user stories, contextual inquiry). Does this mean a quantitative person will find it harder to get into this field of work? I find it difficult to talk up my work experience in my resume as market research has few overlaps with UX… How should I deal with this?

Finally, in terms of the job role, which UX position will be more achievable and realistic for my background? Is it a UX researcher or a UX designer? My understanding is that it will be best to get exposed to different roles as a UX designer, and thereafter decide a specific area to specialise in. I thought about becoming a UX researcher but am afraid that it is too early to dive into a niche area at the start. But if I were to consider a UX designer role, I don’t have much relevant experience to put a strong case forward, and there aren’t many junior UX designer roles in the market as well. I’m turning 30 y.o. this year so this career transition will be critical.

Has anyone had similar experiences when moving to UX? Would love to hear from you!

And we’re glad you did! Welcome.

[quote=“juneceltic, post:1, topic:1410”]
Do you guys have any suggestions on how I can build a portfolio from scratch?
[/quote] This topic is a good read, as is this article. Also this.

It sounds to me like you have the perfect background to jump into a research role! You just have to back yourself. :wink:

@heather_wydeven would be a good person to jump in here and boost your confidence.

Fortunately, it seems like the UX experts themselves consider that there is enough compatibility between these two fields so that you can transition from Marketing to UX Desing.

In this regard, you should definitely take a look on this article. It’s spot on for what you are asking:

How to Change Your Career from Marketing to UX Design

“Finally, in terms of the job role, which UX position will be more achievable and realistic for my background? Is it a UX researcher or a UX designer?”

As you can see in the article above, “User experience, or UX, is a user’s experience of using a product. That sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? Well, UX design is the process by which we understand what users want and need, and incorporate that into product design to deliver greater user experiences—and that’s the complex part.”

Therefore, UX doesn’t seem to be a role, but rather, the process itself. UX Design is the role you are about to fill in.

I don’t deny the importance of a portfolio, but your self-confidence is even more important than that, especially in a fluctuating field like UX.

  • In order to increase your self-confidence in this field, the first step I’d follow would be to consolidate my knowledge with some certified online courses, since I don’t have the time and energy resources to graduate one more college.It’s good that you have followed Dr. Travis’s usability course on UDemy. Add something new to the list, to make it more convincing when trying to break the ice by getting that first job. I would go with The Interaction Design Foundation, since they are recommended by Don Norman himself, the man who coined the term “User Experience”.

  • Then, I’d start reading blogs and online journals, just to keep pace with the UX world. I recommend the following sources:

Elite By Design
Centre for Teaching Excellence
Change the Thought
Design Quotr
Cool Hunting

  • Try to freelance and land a job having the purpose of creating a portfolio in mind. Since you are now a multivalently certified UX professional, people are more likely to hire you. They might pay you less for the lack of experience, but it’s a start.

  • Then, you will evolve exponentially, while increasing the size and the quality of your portfolio too.

If you have any more questions, do not hesitate to contact me.

Good luck transitioning from Marketing to UX! It’s a good prospect.

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These resources are amazing, thanks for the share! I see varying opinions on using hypothetical UX projects to create a portfolio but I guess it’s still worth a shot to at least create a talking point? I wonder what do UX hirers think of hypothetical projects when they see them in the portfolio?


Thanks for the tips! The courses provided by the Interaction Design Foundation look really interesting. I’m eyeing on some psychology courses, though some are labeled as intermediate and advance. Not sure if that requires some UX background? I have some psychology background (did this as a second major on top of business marketing in university many years back) so I think there may be some overlap and can be a good way to learn how psychology is used in the UX design process. Have you personally taken the courses there before, are they worthwhile to attempt? There is only so much self studying I can do, but creating a portfolio seems to be the bigger task at hand for me now.

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We have an upcoming Ask the UXperts session with Cory Lebson which is focussing on careers, and this would be a great question to put to him. That will take place on July 28 (more details soon).

@deprecated will probably have something valuable to add, and I’d love to hear from @patrick_ashamalla as I imagine he’s hired a few UXers in his time!

I have some good news too. I found something on their platform that might help getting that first UX job and thus creating your portfolio:

Course Content and Goals
User experience is the key requirement of every product; digital or otherwise. You may already know this but getting your first job in user experience can still be a challenge whatever background you are from. This course aims to help you bridge the gap between your knowledge and that first job - using tried and tested techniques that employers respond well to."

To me, this course sounds better than the one with the Psychology element in it.
For your purposes, I mean.

Considering your background, I don’t think you need to worry about the Intermediate or Advanced levels anyway. Not to mention that you can try it for free one month, so if you don’t like it, you can simply cancel it.

I hope that helps. If I come up with new ideas about getting that first job, I’ll be back to help.


You should be able to edit your post to include the link now. I’ve updated your privs (there is a limit placed on users until x posts to block spammers).

Cool, I should bookmark this event! Let me know where I can get the event details once it’s firmed up! :smiley:

I’ve just signed up for this course - the content is spot on for what I’m looking for, thanks for the recommendation! I’ve also signed up for a HCI course, looks interesting on its own. Hopefully I can manage juggling 2 courses simultaneously!

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I’ll post them up on our main site, and you’ll see an announcement here.
But in short, here is the time of Cory’s session, and it will be held In our Slack channel.

I made a small research and I have found an interesting blog article about landing a UX job.

It captured my attention because it puts a lot of stress on the importance of understanding how business works. Given that you have a marketing background, I think you are bound to become very successful, maybe a UX unicorn on the long road, who knows? With this occasion, I have also learned something new.

I’m glad to see that things start to fall into place for you, now that you also have @HAWK’s wonderful recommendation. I am sure that it’s just a matter of time about landing that UX job, and when you do, please let us know, so that we can celebrate with some virtual champagne. There must be an emoticon for that.

Love this idea! :champagne:

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Here are some stories of people moving from X to UX Design Background, Hope these can help you out as well.