Starting my UX Journey

From Writing to Design: Jumping into the Tech Industry with No Experience

I’ve been looking into UX and design for some time. Back when General Assembly was just taking off, the idea of taking one of their bootcamps seemed like a far-away dream. The cost, the time, the commute to LA and, obviously, the onslaught of new information made it all so daunting.

As someone with absolutely no design experience, no background in graphic design and, at best, have utilized Photoshop personally for a maximum of 10 hours, the switch from God-knows-what-I’m-doing to the tech industry seemed… ridiculous.

Well, long story short, I’m doing it. UX Design – here I come. Keep reading for the long version below.

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How did I get to this point?

For a few months now, I’ve been trying my hand at freelancing for copywriting to get by. I left two previous positions as an executive assistant (three years total). Why? I just felt like I was meant for greater things, to make a difference. I needed a chance to express my creative soul and it wasn’t happening by ordering catered lunches and restocking the supply room.

Has it been easy? No way. Sites like Upwork, Truelancer and Fiverr all coddle the type of clients freelancers avoid: cheap. They want highly-specialized skills for a fraction of the cost, so you can imagine that expectations are high but product quality is low. To add insult to injury, you’re bidding against offshore competition that are fine with being low-balled. But to be fair, there are great companies out there willing to invest in better skills! So if you’re hustling the freelance writing circuit, YOU GOT THIS.

As someone who combed her way through pages upon pages of job postings, I can tell you the competition makes freelancing discouraging. I’ve wanted to be a writer (in any shape or form) for as long as I can remember. That’s why this blog even exists. That’s why I bother to use platforms like Yelp and Google Reviews. I just like writing. So not being “successful” at this, you can imagine, was a little disheartening, But, hey, I did pick up a few SEO skills on the way.

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At this point in time, I have to let that passionate hobby, masquerading as a potential career, go. And I’ve decided to jump right into UX Design. The winner of all of those fancy, magical bootcamps: Career Foundry.

Career Foundry: I choose you!

The UX Design Course Guaranteed to Land you a Job (I hope)

Career Foundry is an online tech training school/company based in Berlin, Germany. For the next 6-10 months of self-paced curriculum, I will be studying a subject with which I have barely crossed paths. They guarantee you’ll get hired within 6 months of graduating from their program. If not? You get your investment back – one of the key reasons I decided to go with them and not other big names. We both have skin in the game. It was also imperative that I went with a school that set me up with an experienced mentor and tutor.

During this time, I will be documenting my journey here! From concepts I learn, people I meet and, maybe/hopefully/eventually, my own opinions of design and its implications for the future. So let’s start now.

Day 1: Prepping for my UX Design Course

Things I did today:

  1. I learned UX writing is an emerging field. It has a few names, one of which is “microcopy.” It’s worth taking a look at down the road for me.
  2. I read quite a few articles of where current designers see this field going and evolving. It’s reassuring for job stability and growth. As a fairly new industry, UX Design is still figuring out its niche in the tech industry but is translating into other industries, too, like healthcare.
  3. I’m still copywriting – since I’ll be studying full-time, I gotta pay the bills somehow. A few calls were set up and I reconnected with a previous client for future assignments.
  4. I created my InVision account. There are a few prototyping software designers use (I gathered from my research), one of which is InVision (Sketch, Flinto and JustinMind are others). I did a few basic tutorials to get a little familiar with the tools and interface.
  5. I wrote this blog post.
  6. I’m heading to the gym. One thing I absolutely can’t wait to implement is daily structure. My days will be routine, balancing knowledge, exercise and just enough relaxing to keep the stressful edge off.

Personal Updates, Afternoon Tasks and Fantasy Football Anticipation

For the past month, I’ve been following designers on Medium and Twitter and researching which bootcamp I had wanted to invest in. I spent a week in Costa Rica with my parents, a bit on edge and ready to start my course. But I knew for the next half-year, there would be little time to relax so I enjoyed it as much as I would allow myself. You bet I was reading up on UX Design. But… I started and finished Misery by Stephen King, too. I miss you, vacation!

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It’s not even noon, so after the gym, I’ll probably read a few more articles and catch up on my current just-for-fun novel (This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald). This Thursday marks the first day of the NFL Season so I have to buckle down and do a bit of research for Fantasy, too. I am so excited for this season to start!

Thanks for reading this far. If you’re interested in joining me on my journey, follow me. If you have any tips and advice for me as an aspiring designer, leave a comment! Hope to catch you on the next one.

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