Wanting to get back into UX and do it remotely while traveling. Good idea or not?

So, my friend (who is a graphic designer) and I want to live the digital nomad life for a little while, starting off by traveling around the USA. We want to do this towards the end of the year or at least when COVID19 dissipates and it’s safe to travel. She was just laid off and so was I. She’s wanting to do more freelance work (she’s already doing it a little) and that would help fund her side of the travel expenses. However, I need to learn a skill that I can do remotely and (likely) via freelance. My first idea goes to UX.

I’ve got a Bachelors in Psychology and graduated in 2017. In 2018 I did a 10 week GA bootcamp and got a 9 month part-time UX job (from Aug 2018 to April 2019) before I was laid off. I got a little bit of design and UI experience, but nothing in the way of research experience. I did have a tiny bit of research experience thanks to GA. I have a portfolio with outlining a case study I did while in GA (it has an emphasis on research and design), and one case study from my time at the small company (it is more focused on UI).

I was unable to find another UX job, and the feedback that I kept getting is that I was lacking in design skills. Discouraged, I decided to work with my Dad to start his painting and roofing business, but things have slowed down so much that income is nonexistent, and the business still isn’t off the ground.

I want to learn or reinvigorate a skill so that I can travel. UX seems to be the best bet since I have some experience. But I’m rusty and I have a lot of confidence issues about my design skills. I have about 8-9 months to learn through before traveling.

First of all, is my dream unrealistic? Or is it doable? And second of all, where should I turn to get back in the UX world? It’s a little overwhelming thinking about getting back in.

You might want to try Springboard’s UX Career track and see if it might be a good fit to beef up your skills.
You could also check out the UX Institute as well. They have mostly videos, but have some support via Slack and a project you can put in your portfolio.

Hope that helps @geoffparker1988.

Good luck!

Thank you for replying @jdebari. I’m not currently in the financial position to afford another course at this time. In fact, I really have next to no income during this pandemic. Besides, I’ve already paid the thousands of dollars and went through General Assembly’s User Experience Design Immersive 10-week course… it was about two years ago though. I also had 9 months of doing basic UI duties working for a small tech company… but it’s been about a year since I last did any UI work.

Are there any free or inexpensive resources to get me back on track?

There are a lot of books and online courses you can do through the library. If you want to do a project, you can check out catchafire.org or volunteer match.org.

I also have some ideas on my blog, https://www.juliad.com/post/52-week-ux-challenge.

Hope that can help you!

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Awesome, thank you!

Hey man,

My personal opinion is, this is a highly sought after profession, with a bunch of highly driven student designers trying to get into the industry.

Looking to UX, because “well, i suppose it’s my best option and I want to travel”, isn’t going to cut it. And to be honest, comes across a little badly (in my opinion), on a UX board. You need passion in any creative industry, and without it, you will fall short every time.

Live UX first, and the good lifestyle will follow (if you put enough hours in).

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Hi Geoff!

I just want to say that I think the goals you’ve shared here are totally achievable.

That said if I were you I wouldn’t discount the fact that you have successfully completed a UX bootcamp and worked in UX in the past.

As a beginner these are some of the low cost or free UX Design resources that have been recommended to me:

  1. This free class: Human-Computer Interaction I: Fundamentals & Design Principles - free online Georgia Tech course via EdX

  2. Udemy courses on User Experience Design - You do have to pay for these classes, however the advice I was given is to wait until they go on sale before you buy one as the discounted price is often $12.

I’ve also found the two articles below to be helpful:
How I Landed My First UX Design Job — While Still Completing My UX Design Bootcamp via UX Collective

I talked to 3 people who got into UX in their 40s via Inside Design

In addition to beefing up my technicals skills, my approach to finding a UX job would also be to find ways to socialize (virtually) with people who work in UX Design b/c meeting ppl who work in UX may lead to a job opportunity.

I would see if a local chapter of the User Experience Professionals Association (UXPA) that is closest to you has any free virtual events that you could attend. Mine recently had a book club meeting before the pandemic. Going to these things and geeking out about design w/ ppl who share your interests is a great way to meet new ppl in general as well as UX professionals who could let you know about job opportunities.

I hope this helps!

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Hi @davidquill_ux ,

You are totally right, and I apologize for coming across as insincere, disrespectful, and lazy. Thank you for calling me out.

I was in a negative head-space when I posted this. There’s been a big loss and life-shift in my life (and beyond that I was laid off my job), so there’s been a huge vacuum left in the aftermath. I wanted to fill that vacuum by just getting away and traveling, but was feeling panicked and frustrated that I didn’t know of a way to finance my dreams. I was falling back on UX/UI as a result. I didn’t know where else to turn.

Because I left UX/UI nearly a year ago in the state that I did - out of fear and discouragement (basically I had given up), I had a ton of fear and shame about getting back into the UX/UI world. If my fear and discouragement about lacking in skills was prevalent nearly a year ago, due to the fact that I haven’t touched UX/UI since and I’ve thus grown more rusty, the current road ahead was freaking me out.

I’ve been reading a book called Positive Intelligence about how to manage these saboteur voices in my head (that I can’t do it, that I’ll never make it, that I’m wasting my time) and am now more excited about getting back into UX/UI. I’m starting to work on revamping my portfolio and planning new project ideas to fill out my portfolio with new case studies. Not because I HAVE to but because I WANT to.

I still want to travel and do either freelance work and/or remote work. That’s my ultimate goal. But I want to do it by doing UX/UI work. I know it will be a hard road ahead. But so will any other skill that would be able to fund my travels. The difference is that I have at least some experience in this field and I can think of ways I could use it to help people. I’m particularly thinking about how I could use it to influence better mental health, how to make travel a better experience, and a host of other things that will increase positivity.

Hi @jancam05,

This really helps! Thank you for these resources!

No problem Geoff, it wasn’t meant to make you feel bad in any way, but more to alter your mindset. If you need any advice, i’d be happy to help. Just drop me an inbox.

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It might not be another course that you need. It might just be a case of writing down what you want, what you have and where you want to be. You say you’ve had 9 months experience in UX? Write about that. Write about what you learned during your time there with the focus on what you learnt. Was there any work that you did some wireframes and mockups for? Check your notes and see what you can find. If you have got a few pieces of work, why not finish them? Fill in the gaps, apply your knowledge to them and document the process. Do this for on a few projects and boom. You have a portfolio. You don’t need another course, you probably know exactly what you need to know. You just aren’t showing it.