Originally published on The Digest
As a UX designer who has made the transition from another profession, people often approach me for advice on how best to make the switch. There is often a lot of fear that arises from thinking about changing courses in life. When a plan that you had made suddenly does not go as anticipated, it can be terrifying.
“Oh no, did I just waste xx years of my life?”
“But what about those people who went to school for UX? What about those people who have spent years doing it?”
Yeah, what about them?
If I can only give one piece of advice and one only, it would be to embrace your background. It does not matter what you did before you decided to make this transition into UX design, but chances are it will and it can help you. But only if you actively decide that it can. Be proud of your background no matter how irrelevant you think it is to UX design; trust me, chances are good that it is not as irrelevant as you think it is.
Case in point, as Head of Product Design at a young growing start-up, myWebRoom, I have been immersing myself in the mitigation between 2 essentially different types of user interfaces - universally standard 2D user interfaces which most internet users are familiar with stacked on top of our adaptation of 3D room models, which acts as the main profile page for a myWebRoom user.
Coming from an architectural design background, I am well familiar with working with both 2D and 3D drawings, often visualizing the former while working with the latter, and vice versa. Being able to think in spatial terms have helped me greatly in this endeavor. I have been able to draw inspiration from 3D modelling tools that I have spent countless hours navigating in the last years. Those sleepless nights building 3D sketchup models that my professors verbally ripped apart did not go to waste!
Every designer faces unique challenges based on the specific goals of the product which they are working on. You don’t have to, but it might help to start by finding a product where you can leverage your unique background. You possess skills in your arsenal you can bring to the table that no one else can. Never underestimate that.