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Charlotte User Experience Message Board › New to field

New to field

Neil H.
user 47760982
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1

Hi, I'm sure I'm not the first and won't be the last but I'm after some answers that will help me make crucial decisions in going into your field. I'm sure any posts no matter how small will help a multitude of people.
I want to work as an interaction designer/user interface designer/user experience designer focusing primarily around online services.

Quick background:

I have a BA degree in Photographic and digital media combined with Sound design and have good knowledge of most of the adobe suite. I have been working within a large corporate company for the last 4 years as an account manager, managing complex customer relationships throughout different levels of the company. I also have 6 months experience working as a software test engineer.


-Care to share a few lines on your entry into the fields above, did you come straight from university into a junior interaction designer/junior user interface designer etc. position? Other position? What were your career moves straight after exiting university?

-I feel comfortable with visual design, commerciallity, communication and collaboration but have little experience with the technical side in CSS, Javascript & HTML. They seem crucial to employers within the job roles above, do you agree? Do you think they're still going to be an obligatory part of the practice or is my time better spent focusing on other applications for the future?

-With the vast number of tutorials and educational material online for the above software how long do you think it would take to get up to speed, from almost scratch to be competent in the jobs above, disregarding the other skills (wire framing, user tests etc) needed?

-Specialising in a particular area can be fruitful, any advice on your view for the future? Where are most of the jobs going to come from? What is likely to be the most interesting work? How could your field look in five years?

-The jobs market seems fluid. Travel and working around the world is appealing and seems possible in this field. Would you agree? Can you share your personal experiences?

Huge thanks

Bermon P.
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 23
Hey Neil! Welcome to the group.

Q1: I did the school thing backwards. By the time I started college I had already been working professionally doing print design & light web design for a small local agency. Pay was terrible but it was a good place to start. I eventually migrated full-time to the web doing both UI design and front-end development. I've stuck to that mostly, adding on a bit more back-end knowledge and analytics.

Q2: If you're working on the web and building websites or applications any skillset that you can add on will make you more marketable. At a bare minimum you should understand how HTML/CSS/JS works. It'll help you understand limitations and how interactions work. I don't think HTML/CSS and especially JavaScript are going anywhere anytime soon. There's enough time to learn many things. If you want to dig in more with front-end dev give http://teamtreehouse....­ a try. It's a good starting point.

Q3: Apply the 80/20 rule, pick something that interests you and spend a year focusing on learning that specific skill. It's a long tail approach. After a number of years you add to the things in your toolbox.

Q4: I don't think too much about where jobs are going to come from or how the field will look in five years. It changes too quickly. Focus on learning skills that make you marketable now and be ready to constantly change. The web is in constant flux.

Q5: Definitely agree. I spend summers in South America with my family. Most corporate gigs won't allow that. They prefer butts in seats. There are a number of companies that get it though and allow generous telecommuting. Go that route. Those companies are much funner to work for.
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