My UX Journey

My Unusual Journey from Construction Worker to UX

Meanwhile, I’ve been a UX Designer for a few years. Before that, I worked hard to turn a job I absolutely did not like into a job I absolutely love. My job is now my passion, it’s my Ikigai.

The career switch

Background story

Back in the beginning of 2019, I had decided to leave my steady job in the construction industry and follow my dream. I regretted every day that I had just missed out on my bachelor’s degree in Interactive Multimedia Design due to the death of my father in 2013. Quitting my bachelor degree program in the final year was not a good idea, but at the time, it was the only solution. Now, it was time for a change. Here is my story.

Taking the leap of faith

It all started in 2018 with starting a side job as a graphic designer and web designer. I assumed that if I put a website on the world wide web, the customers would flow in automatically. Of course that was not the case.

In 2019, it seemed like a great idea to throw my life around without a second thought and go to my employer with the message that I was going to work independently as a graphic designer and web designer without a plan, clients or backup. In retrospect, this idea was completely idiotic, because there was no financial buffer, and a baby on the way. But without this leap of faith, I would not be where I am today.

Moving out of the comfort zone

I joined a business club to recruit clients. Fortunately, there was an old friend of mine who first gave me a chance to build his branding and website (you always need a bit of luck when starting out). Afterwards, I rolled out a few projects that gave me a taste of branding, web design and web development for small businesses.

What intrigued me most during my assignments was figuring out the usability and experience of the website. This made me continue with the idea I came up with in college. The curious interest in user experience and usability.

From self-employment to a career in UX

The aim

Taking this risk had one goal: to get me into the design role of a digital agency. Because of my additional interest in branding, and lack of in-depth knowledge of user experiences (I was well aware that I was only scratching the surface of UX at that point), I tried to apply for a job as a “brand strategist” at an agency called Intracto (now iO) in 2020. The job offer was way too ambitious, but no guts, no glory.

Eagerness and enthusiasm

During the application, fortunately, my enthusiasm and eagerness to learn were rated high enough. This made the interviewers quickly realize that experienced brand strategist for national and international brands was too ambitious with the experience I had, but that they could offer me an alternative solution to fill an open position for a junior UX designer. I realize that I was very lucky to get my very first UX position without much (or any) experience. Landing your first UX role is the hardest part of all.

Falling in love with problem solving and UX

From the moment I stepped out of the interview room, I was hooked on UX and everything around it. I have spent the past 2.5 years taking one-day courses at NN/group, a six-month university-accredited UX course at the UX Design Institute, expanded my UX library with 40+ UX books, read blogs, articles and magazines daily to understand how UX can solve business problems and meet user needs. My goal is to make the world a little better by making it easier to use computers, one experience at a time.

A word of motivation

If you find yourself in a similar situation to mine around 2018, know that opportunities exist. Maybe I didn’t add enough drama to the story, but believe me, the nights and stressful situations were there. But almost every situation has a solution as long as you push really hard and occasionally are lucky enough to meet the right people at the right time.