How do I change careers into the UX field without further education?
August 26, 2012 4:49 PM Subscribe
What's the best way to move into a career in UX/interaction design without professional experience or the degree to match? I'm moving to Chicago and looking to start a career change, and I don't know where to start.
posted by summerteeth to Work & Money (7 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
I am someone in his mid-20s who has a BFA in Photography from a highly-respected program. While my photography continues in the form of freelance and personal work, my employment since college has been mostly technology training/arts education, curriculum advising, and behavioral/disciplinary mentoring (in boarding school-type environments). I've always been an incredibly motivated learner, having taught myself a number of web languages, in addition to most of the Adobe Creative Suite and it is becoming clear to me that the thing driving my career the most is an real fascination with how the brain works. I did some psychology coursework in college, and I was at times more excited about it than the artwork than I was producing.
UX seems like the perfect combination of those two fields -- I am completely fascinated with how human brings interact with each other and technology, and I love the philosophy, process, and criticism of design. The only problem, of course, is that it seems near impossible to find your way into UX these days without a degree or many years of professional Graphic Design or coding experience. What I would love, more than anything, would be the opportunity to be mentored by someone in the field, and to get real-world experience. I have a strong concept of good design and thousands of hours clocked watching and training people in software, and I know that with the right mentorship I could be a hard-working asset to a team. The only trouble is getting my foot in the door. While I'd certainly be willing to go back to school, I honestly feel that I'd be better off learning on my feet, and would rather not have to pay for another degree.
In any case, I would love to hear about any experiences that any of you have had with developing your career, in UX or otherwise, and would love to know that further education isn't the only option. If there are books I should read, web resources to consult, or other field necessities that I should know about, then I would love to hear about those as well. Thanks so much!