You’re never too old to learn something new. After all, Vera Wang didn’t design her first dress until she was 40, and Colonel Sanders first franchised KFC when he was 62.
Still, as they enter their forties (or even their thirties), many people begin to wonder if it’s too late to change careers. As we age and our responsibilities grow, it can seem more difficult to start fresh.
If you’re thinking about becoming a UX designer later in your career, you’re in luck. The UX/UI industry welcomes individuals of all ages, and there are no official educational or experiential prerequisites to get started.
However, UX is not immune to ageism, and older designers may face additional challenges when they join the field.
In this article, we’ll share how you can navigate ageism and build an exciting UX career at any age.
Not at all! In the UX industry, ethical hiring managers make hiring decisions based on experience and qualifications, not age. However, not all hiring managers are fair, and unfortunately, you may face additional challenges.
For instance, some hiring managers may assume that you struggle to keep up with the latest tools and trends. You may even feel intimidated by unfamiliar design systems yourself. “Older” UX/UI designers can also feel out of step with their younger colleagues. In such a collaborative field, it can be difficult to work comfortably with people whose communication styles may not align with your own.
It’s wrong for hiring managers to make decisions based on these assumptions. If they do, you have a right to file an age discrimination charge with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission if you’re over the age of 40.
You can also take steps to prove others wrong and show them that your age makes you a better UX designer. Here are just a few ways to leverage your years and create exceptional user-centered products.
UX designers of all ages should keep up with trends through reading, podcasts, videos, and other ongoing conversations throughout the industry. By taking the time to brush up on UX concepts and current events, you’ll combat ageist stereotypes and show potential employers that you are a passionate and savvy lifelong learner.
If you are still thinking about starting a UX/UI career, reading books and blogs is also a good way to explore learning opportunities and choose a UX/UI learning pathway that’s right for you.
As a UX designer, you can create user-friendly products in any industry, from fashion to construction. Having experience in a different field can make you a more competitive candidate because you’ll have unique insights into the user’s needs and context. Don’t be afraid to tell hiring managers about how your experience in other fields makes you a more well-rounded, perceptive designer.
If you’re trying to break into UX/UI design, building a network of mentors and colleagues is crucial. Other professionals can provide feedback to strengthen your portfolio and interviewing skills. Networking can also help you identify opportunities with anti-ageist companies, and help you find other older UX designers that can empathize with your experience. After all, learning a new skill and making a career pivot is easier when you don’t feel alone!
At Avocademy, we believe diverse teams lead to more user-centered, inclusive, and effective products. The industry needs more UX designers from older generations to create designs for people of all ages.
While ageism is still a prevalent problem in UX design, don’t let it prevent you from pursuing the career you want. With perseverance and curiosity, you can become a UX/UI designer at any age.
If you want to become a UX designer, but worry that your age may impact your chances, schedule a free mentorship call with Avocademy today. We’re here to help you start a rewarding and unstoppable career. From learning basic concepts to building a strong portfolio, Avocademy can help you gather the tools you need to land your first UX/UI role at any age.