Quarter Life Crisis


So I’m 22, going on 45 it feels like (career wise). I graduated college 2 years ago with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with an emphasis on behavioral analysis, which I love but had no idea what I wanted as a career. Right out of college I was offered a job at a local county Economic Development Board doing research all on the quantitative and “big data” side. I was at that position a year and I knew it was not something I ever wanted to continue with.

I am a month into a new position doing qualitative research and ethnography’s, which is very interesting to me but I’m just not feeling it yet. Over the past few months I’ve been reading a great deal about user experience and interaction and have completely fallen in love. I have now realized that my ultimate goal is to do something around user experience or web design for major fashion companies.

My question is, how do I make this career shift without investing my life away into debt for graduate programs? Do I have to focus on computer coding, or can it be more graphic based? I have a good deal of experience with Adobe Illustrator, but none with coding. I want the experience and am willing to do what I can to get it. I recently started an online class in web-design with a certificate, but is this enough? Will companies or people even look at my resume and portfolio if they don’t see much experience?

Thanks for any help out there!

Good on you!

I think there are a few things at play here. Firstly, if you want to be a UX designer you don’t need to know how to code, although it can be helpful. We have a pretty comprehensive list of online UX courses here, that you could try your hand at.

Your Illustrator skills will definitely be useful if you want to be a web designer, but for that you will need to know how to code (at least HTML, CSS and Javascript).

Your first step is probably to decide which of those roads you want to go down. Doing a couple of online coding courses to see how you enjoy it would be a good starting point. Some people love the code, others hate it. There are plenty of resources around for that. Look at Learnable, lynda.com or Treehouse. Those are all paid, but I’m sure you’ll have no trouble finding some free resources.

Your point of difference might be the fashion aspect. If you have other paid work, you could approach small businesses and offer your services very cheaply (or even free) to get some experience.

Does that give you somewhere to start?

There are also some great courses on Udemy (free and paid), and also on Coursera.org

I did the Interaction Design Course on Coursera a few years ago, I found it great, really well presented and structured.