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Q&A with Avocademy Alumna: Morgan Olmos

career change ux designer Dec 03, 2022
Alumna picture

 Here at the Guac Blog we wanted to take a moment to spotlight another Avocademy graduate, Morgan Olmos, who shares her journey to becoming a UX Researcher. Morgan went from a background in illustration, Spanish education, and SEO freelance to now working for the well-known company NetSuite.  

Previously, Morgan had heard the term UX design in passing but did not pay it any attention until she read a book called Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans. Soon after Morgan completed the UX/UI Foundations and Career Jumpstart Programs and dove headfirst into the UX design field. Below Morgan expands on her personal journey of how she became a UX Researcher and how Avocademy helped her to get there. 

Read our conversation below to hear more about Morgan’s journey!


Q: Could you tell us a little bit about yourself? What do you currently do? And maybe a little bit of your background?

A: My name is Morgan Olmos and I am a UX researcher for NetSuite which is owned by Oracle. I've been in this role for nine months now and this is actually my first legitimate full time role in UX. Prior to that I was doing freelance with market research, and I used to do search engine marketing. My background actually began in illustration, which has nothing really to do with what I do today. Then I continued to pursue my education and I did a master's in Spanish education.


Q:  Can you remember the first time you heard about UX and what drew you to it? 

A: The first time I heard of UX was when I was working in Los Angeles, several years ago, at a media agency when I was doing search engine optimization and marketing. I had heard that term thrown around and I just assumed that it was meant for developers, like people who know how to code and do UX/UI. It wasn't until I left that agency and I started to freelance on my own that I started educating myself trying to keep my skills up to date. Especially as a freelancer, you're kind of responsible for producing that. 


Q: What was your journey like from getting your Master’s to figuring out what UX was? What is it like being in this role now and working for a well known company?

A: I came across this book that I was reading called Designing your life by UX professors at Stanford. They were talking about how you could apply this design thinking process to your personal life. That's how I was introduced to design thinking, how that relates to UX, and that UX wasn't just for coders. So ironically by kind of applying that design thinking, in my professional life, is actually what led me to start doing UX research. From there I basically did a lot of self discovery and that UX research is something I could do and that interests me.

Before I decided to take the bootcamp route, I was doing a lot of reading and researching through the inner Interaction Design Foundation which helped me to get involved with the community. I was like a sponge trying to be as proactive as possible, learn as much as I could, and volunteer for things that made me learn so fast. I saw that I really want to do this and I watched tons of YouTube videos and met with a lot of people primarily through that foundation.

It was nice to reach out to various people just to ask them firsthand what is it that you do? How did you get here? Why do you like it? What don't you like about it so that I just really knew what I was getting myself into. After that, I was very determined that this is what I want to do, and then I learned what are the steps that it's going to take to get there. After doing my first case study, I realized I need to build out my portfolio and that's when I decided to take and invest in the bootcamp route.

Q:  Can you tell me a little bit more about what it takes to break into tech or become a UX researcher or designer?

 A: When I started, I was just reading a ton of articles and watching YouTube videos, and I wrote down a lot of questions that I had based on whatever I was reading or watching. Then I found out that there was an opportunity through the Interaction Design Foundation to join a chapter and it was great. I recommend any way people can network. People who do UX are very willing to share their knowledge and everyone’s willing to help. I felt like such a newbie and I was talking to people who had been in this field for either a few years or 15-20 years. 

It was nice to talk to various people whether it's product designers, UX designers, or researchers, and just ask them questions. They helped guide me more specifically and from there I understood that I needed to develop a portfolio. I actually had an opportunity to work with a UX Designer and was helping them with a portfolio review. Nobody wanted to volunteer and I volunteered because it was my opportunity to get free feedback from professionals already in the field. It was through that experience that I was able to have more confidence and know what I needed to improve on. For the next case study, I knew the standard is that you should have at least 2-3 case studies if you’re trying to break into your role and that I needed at least one more. 

Q:  So in terms of timeline, is this when you joined our program? 

A: Yes, after the first case study I felt like I needed to do a bootcamp, because I really needed this type of feedback and critique. I needed somebody to walk through it with me to make sure that I'm not putting together the wrong pieces. That's why I decided to invest in and join the Academy. 

Q: If you have to give somebody that's considering this career a piece of advice, what advice would you give them about changing careers?

A: Do your due diligence with research. There are tons of resources online along with mentors. I feel like you never really stop learning and if you have that natural, inquisitive, inquisitive mind, you're gonna love and flourish in this field because there is a lot to learn. You don’t need to be an expert and I know that the imposter syndrome is real on your first day or job. Can I really do this? And the answer is yes. You just need to be really willing to learn and to do the work. 

But with that being said, I enjoy it. I always find the opportunity to reach out to other people. Ask them how do I grow in this field? What are other options and possibilities for me? Or how can I apply UX in something else that I'm interested in, like healthcare or finance? There are people and resources to find those answers and to get a better understanding of where you'd like to fit in this industry.


Q: I know that you yourself do mentoring and have some groups. Is there somewhere that the people listening could find you if they have questions?

A: Of course! My name on LinkedIn is Morgan Olmos and please feel free to reach out to me. That's mostly where I do a lot of just correspondence, or you can reach me through email.


You can reach out to Morgan via her LinkedIn or by email at  [email protected].

The interview has been edited for length and clarity.



Meggen is a SEO content writer who loves hiking, drinking coffee, and traveling. She loves her avocados on toast with egg and bacon. 

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