Self-learning beginner with totally different background


Hi all,
I’m so grateful to have come across this website! Thank you for taking the time to maintain it :slight_smile:
I’m a registered nurse by profession with no design experience whatsoever but I have an interest in pursuing a UX career.
I wanted to see if there were people like myself who are totally new to UX design but come from very different backgrounds.

  1. What are your experiences?
  2. Is it possible to become hirable from self-taught education?
  3. Can soft skills from other professions like nursing be leveraged into a UX role?
    It would be fantastic to hear stories of people who are self taught and found a job after!

Is that possible self-taught?

Thanks for your kind words! We’re glad you found us.

First of all, the overarching answer to your question is yes, it is a reasonable expectation that you could transition into UX from another career – many people do it. If you are interested in why people behave in certain ways, have the ability to be empathetic, and are naturally process driven then you’re on the right track. I’m interested to hear what it is about UX specifically that attracts you.

Regarding soft skills, the one that stands out the most to me is empathy. It is such a fundamental part of both UX and nursing. Being able to put yourself in the shoes of the user is something that lots of people have to work really hard to do, so you’ll likely have an advantage there.

And yes, it is absolutely possible to be hired from a self-taught education. The trick is putting together a great portfolio. There is a LOT of information that might be helpful to you in this thread. Keep an eye on [URL=“”]this thread too.

Have you made a start with your self-learning yet, or would you like some direction there?


Hi Hawk, thanks for your answer. I havent officially started with self learning yet, but more so dabbling into the world of UX so I am definitely open to more direction. I’m drawn to the UX design because I have a natural creative inclination that I haven’t fully explored, and I find myself interested in building a product that provides exceptional value to the customer. I think stepping outside my nursing career might give me this freedom. I found that I’ve come across UX a lot more often than I thought in my experience using healthcare software. Often it can be a confusing time but stubbling across this website has opened my eyes to the possibility.


Great! First up, I’d have a read of this article, and potentially [URL=“”]this book, if you have a budget.

As far as training goes, we have compiled a huge list of online UX courses, which you’ll find here – many of which we have taken and [URL=“”]reviewed. My recommendation would probably be [URL=“”] (there is a discount for UXMastery members – the code is mastery30)

That should give you somewhere to start.


I’ll echo what excellent advice @HAWK has already provided. You’ll find that our Get Started book really is targeted at someone like yourself, and answers a bunch of questions about how to a) identify the gaps in your skill set, and b) how to fill in those gaps. At the crux of that, as mentioned already, is getting a portfolio together, and there’s no shortcut here. You just need to do the work to be able to talk about it. Whether that’s a hypothetical project, or a personal project, or a pro-bono project, pick something and start unpacking the problem and how you might be able to improve it. What’s important when you approach employers is not what the end product looks like, but how you arrived at it. What did you learn? Why did you make certain decisions? What did you get right off the bat, and what was based on false assumptions that you were forced to change tack down the track.

You have been given plenty of material (courses, books, articles) to consume, and I encourage you to learn as much as possible from these. But you still also need to apply what you learn to get runs on the board, otherwise you’ll be full of theory and be missing the experience that employers are looking for.

Good luck! You’re in good hands here, so please make sure you check in for guidance and keep us updated! You’ll probably be surprised just how much you can apply from what you’ve learned in nursing (especially if you decide to specialise in the exciting and burgeoning field of UX for health industry). I wish you all the best.