The Empathy of a Design Career: How Alex Launched In a New Direction
Where will you be 1 year from now?
Will you be stuck in the same career you dislike...or will you have made progress in a new direction?
That's the attitude Alex Smith took as she finished a master's in 2022, on track to become a special education teacher.
She enjoyed working with young people, but to stay true to herself, she couldn't keep going in that direction, as it was hard to buy into the system.
"I knew I was not going to be in teaching."
But coming across Avocademy, Alex was immediately drawn into the possibility of an exciting career in UX/UI design, a field that can mix creativity with logic.
But it still felt scary to take the leap down a new path.
"I've always toyed around with the idea of getting into something tech related....However [with] traditional societal norms, women aren't traditionally in the field, [so there was] a lot of imposter syndrome.
But she bet on herself. She jumped into the unknown. She knew it wouldn’t happen overnight, but she gave herself the summer to chip away and make progress, knowing that her future self would thank her.
Which is exactly what happened!
Related: From Unhappy to Happy. How Stacy Changed Careers by Knowing Her Self-Worth.
Related: How to Launch Your Career with a 365-day Design Challenge
Empathy and UX/UI
With a background in psychology and working with teens on their mental health, Alex was drawn to the empathetic side of UX/UI.
That's right, the empathetic side.
"UX/UI is a field that has a lot of empathy," she shared. Meaning, to design a web app, it's key to do research on what the user's needs and preferences are, to create a seamless and enjoyable experience navigating the app.
This is a lightbulb moment, dear reader!
When you can make the connections between a new field and your current strengths and soft skills — such as empathy — you realize your skills are a lot more transferable than you think, and you can change careers.
You may assume that a career change into something like UX/UI is all about taking a new course so you can become proficient at a new, valued hard skill.
Hard skills are just part of the equation.
Alex says the key to success in UX/UI is "40% hard skills, 60% soft skills." For example, when presenting her design decision to a her team she realized her people skills were key.
"[It's important to] make sure you have relationships with all stakeholders on your team....if you're not making connections or telling a story through your design solution, if you don't have those soft skills, then it's hard to sell the technical aspects."
Related: How to Start a Design Career in Tech (hint: no coding needed)
After researching other programs, Alex invested in Avocademy because it was cost-effective, as well as the fact that the company is women-owned (the founder is Maca), and specifically supports people from non-traditional backgrounds.
It was also quickly apparent that the community was full of supportive peers and staff.
"I wouldn't have made it so far without the friends that I made," Alex said.
It's this intangible value that can make all the difference in building new skills and launching a new career. If you want to go fast, go at it alone...but if you want to go far, gain support from others!
Learn more about Avocademy. Most grads triple their income after finishing the program.
What You Gain from Avocademy
Take the first step toward your dreams, learn more about Avocademy, and secure your spot in an upcoming webinar on learning the secrets to becoming a UX Designer with no experience.
After diving into their short Foundations course, you'll be ready for the Career Jumpstart program.
The program includes:
- Design real client projects (2) & collaborate with other students
- Continued portfolio feedback
- Direct referrals to recruiters and hiring managers
- Job guarantee
- Interview prep
Learn more and see if UX/UI design is for you.
“I chose to enroll in [Avocademy] because I was really unmotivated and couldn't find a job despite applying for a couple months. Now, I'm really glad I made that decision! Her course is pretty affordable compared to other bootcamps, and she helped me realize that I definitely had the skills to become a UX designer, I just needed to present it better."
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