Considering a career pivot? You are not alone. According to Business Insider, a whopping one in four workers in the United States were hoping to change jobs in 2021, or whenever the threat of the pandemic abates.
That figure was even higher for millennials, with 34% of respondents in this age group looking for a new role.
Why do so many people want a fresh start? This survey found that 80% of hopeful job-changers longed for career growth, and 72% said the pandemic prompted them to rethink their skillset. Turbulent times have led many to contemplate their goals and direction.
No matter the circumstances, choosing a new career path can be stressful. UX/UI design is just one option, and like any other, it comes with a unique set of doubt-inducing questions and drawbacks.
If you’re on the fence about starting a UX/UI career, read on. We’ll share career insights and address common doubts about joining the field.
With patience and a little holy guacamole magic, you’ll be ready to make your next career move with confidence.
Many potential students worry about the time it takes to embark on a UX/UI career. Recent college graduates feel eager to finally start a career after years of study, and mid-career professionals feel too busy for a long-term educational commitment.
So, how long does it take to learn UX design? The answer depends on your preferred method of learning. These three pathways to a UX/UI career all take different lengths of time:
Shortest (about 2-6 months): Take a UX/UI bootcamp
Mid-Length (about 1-3 years): Earn a UX-related graduate degree
Longest (1 year - indefinite): Self-directed learning through free online coursework
While learning UX does not happen overnight, these timelines are relatively quick. If you elect to start a UX bootcamp or UX mentorship program, you could have an entirely new career in less than a year!
You can also learn UX design on a part-time basis. Avocademy, for instance, only requires 10 to 20 hours a week of work for 8 to 16 weeks. Students do not have to put their life on hold to make a career pivot.
We encourage on-the-fence career changers to rethink what too long means to them. A year of learning and job hunting can seem like forever, but so can a year of staying in a role that doesn’t meet your needs!
Actually, you can learn UX/UI without spending a dime.
In the last decade or so, the UX industry has enjoyed a proliferation of online educational content. If your budget is slim, there are many completely free UX classes and low-cost, informal learning opportunities just a Google search away!
However, free online learning has a few drawbacks, such as lack of professional feedback and limited career guidance.
If you have a little bit more to invest, consider a UX bootcamp. Some UX mentorship programs cost less than what the average US household spends on eating out each year ($3,500!). Some even cost about what the average person spends on coffee a year ($1,100)!
At Avocademy, we believe learning UX design doesn’t have to be expensive. Our program is $1,997, and we offer payment plans to help students on a budget.
Job hunting is intimidating. Luckily, new UX designers in 2021 will join a very promising job market.
At the time of writing, there were over 22,000 open UX roles in the United States posted on Indeed and Glassdoor combined. The UX/UI job market is also expected to grow 22% between 2018-2028. With so much demand for UX skills, even newcomers and entry-level designers can get their foot in the door.
That being said, finding a UX/UI job still takes a few months of consistent effort. After all, the hiring process involves many steps. Sorting through resumes, evaluating portfolios, and conducting multiple rounds of interviews can take eight weeks or more. Even if you land the very first job you apply for, you could still wait two months for an offer.
UX job seekers who apply to at least 150 open roles have the most success in finding a great opportunity in our experience. In other words, with patience, dedication, and realistic expectations, you WILL find a UX job!
It’s true that UX/UI design jobs may not exist in every town and city. However, if you live somewhere with limited opportunities, you don’t need to relocate to start a UX career! Many UX/UI designers work 100% remote.
Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more companies offer work-from-home opportunities. If you cannot relocate, try using filters on sites like Indeed and Glassdoor to explore remote openings.
Some UX designers also work on a freelance or contract basis, allowing them to set their own schedule and work from anywhere in the world!
Sometimes, new UX career prospects look to online forums like Reddit for job-seeking advice. Often, these communities have a doom-and-gloom outlook. We encourage students to remember that frustrated people are more likely to comment on advice forums. For each Redditor who claims that UX jobs and remote opportunities do not exist, there are likely many more people who happily found a role without posting about it!
Nonsense! The UX/UI industry LOVES hiring designers with backgrounds in different industries. One of the best aspects of this field is that any work experience helps you become a better designer.
Did you spend the last 20 years as a nurse? An urgent care provider might need a UX designer with intimate knowledge of the healing and triage process for their new telehealth experience.
Do you have a decade of construction work under your belt? You might be just the candidate to help a construction project management software become more user-friendly.
At Avocademy, we welcome students from a variety of backgrounds. We know that unique perspectives and experiences make our industry stronger.
Again, nonsense! While having work experience is certainly a bonus, we find that young UX students bring unique talents to our mentorship program.
Our younger students often boast innate familiarity with technology and trends. They already know what to expect from a mobile application, and they have experience making creative content for social media or even school projects. Plus, recent college graduates feel more comfortable with the online learning process.
Young people have up-and-coming talents that companies crave. Put your unique abilities to work by starting a UX career!
One of the biggest misconceptions about UX/UI is that you have to be a coding wizard or an all-around computer expert to join the field. This is simply not true! UX designers do not need to know how to code to start a successful career.
Similarly, you do not need much technical experience to join a UX mentorship program. To help our students succeed, Avocademy provides a few crash courses in basic online collaboration skills, such as navigating Google Drive.
A good UX/UI learning program will teach you the tech skills you need. In general, UX designers must understand the capabilities and limitations of digital technology so they can build products that work. At Avocademy, we’ll help you navigate unfamiliar tech concepts with confidence.
Yes, you can definitely teach yourself UX/UI design! It’s just hard.
As we mentioned, it only takes a Google or YouTube search to find oodles of excellent, low-cost UX educational content. These resources can help you gauge your interest and aptitude for the field. You can use them as introductory lessons or navigate the multitudes to learn UX on your own.
However, keep in mind the disadvantages of self-guided learning. Without professional project guidance and feedback, it’s hard to measure the quality of your work. Unfortunately, many self-directed learners spend a lot of time and effort figuring out best practices and how they need to improve. A mentor could illuminate these concepts in minutes.
Ultimately, you must decide what learning process is best for you. We recommend finding a UX mentor (like our mentors at Avocademy) to keep you on the right track!
Even if you figure out all the logistics, you can still have creeping doubts about starting a UX career. Many students wonder, what if I’m just not cut out for this?
As we’ve said, many different kinds of people thrive in this line of work. However, some traits and skills can be especially helpful.
You might make a great UX designer if:
UX designers put users first. It’s not just making apps look cool— we conduct research to learn about people’s needs and desires. Sometimes, solving a tough problem means making mistakes, starting over, and ditching preconceived notions.
While the UX process is creative, UX designers must also have the patience to analyze data and work through many micro-edits to get a design just right.
If you’re both analytical and creative, you might be the perfect UX candidate!
We love UX/UI design, and we want you to join us in this zany, fun, edgy, and epic career!
But... we know that UX is not right for everyone. We’re here to help you decide if UX is right for you.
We discussed these points in detail above, but we want to summarize some hard truths for UX/UI prospects. As you make this choice, keep in mind that:
You won’t find a new UX job overnight
As we said, be ready to job hunt for 3-6 months. It may even take a year to find that perfect role. We believe the wait is worth it, but be sure you’re prepared for rejections and disappointment. Stay the course!
It’s not all fun and games
We love UX. It’s a creative, meaningful career. But before you jump in, be sure to research what UX designers actually do. Spoiler alert: we spend a lot of time in meetings, conducting research, and crunching numbers, too!
Learning is challenging
Finally, be prepared for the difficulties that come with grasping new concepts. Like the UX design process, part of the learning process is making mistakes. If you are ready to fail sometimes (or all the time), then you are ready to learn UX!
Remember that learning takes time, too. If you join us at Avocademy, you will have to dedicate about 15 hours a week for six weeks to the program. We’ll be here to help you each step of the way!
If you’re a little scared about starting a career in UX design, good! Those nervous feelings mean you are pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone.
Having doubts is normal at any stage in your growth. Even established, talented UX designers experience imposter syndrome and self-doubt.
As you work through your decision, remember that learning new skills is never a bad choice. Consider starting an affordable UX program to explore the field in a low-risk, low-cost environment. You’ll learn something new, and maybe even find your passion!
If you’re still having doubts and questions, like: