Career change: architect to web design/UX


Anyone have any input on the best way to accomplish this type of switch?  It seems like web design is pretty easy to learn, but is a certificate helpful to find work?  UX or interaction design seems very interesting to me, but I don't know much abut it.  U of Michigan seems to be the only interaction design program in my neck of the woods (detroit)

all I really know is that these fields seem to offer much higher salary and career stability with relatively few barriers to entry.  Any input would be appreciated.


Aug 8, 12 2:37 pm

A number of classmates have taken that same route, they all seem to be located in Chicago...The major barrier that I've seen is the fact that it is a professional that evolves quickly. Sure you can jump in, make 60k starting out because you know the current languages and software but there's always going to be recent graduates who have that same skill set. How long you can hold them at bay will determine how successful you will be. 

Digital designers tend to have a more professional practice centered education than say architecture where we tend to spend 4-6 years fighting reality. Thus, making them able to jump in and make a difference rather quickly.

Aug 8, 12 5:39 pm  · 

Digital designers usually into senior and management type roles and specialise in niches where a junior wouldn't have the skill. Also the more experienced digital designers usually are the ones who forward a project even if they aren't the designer. Idea don't become reality without experience and the confidence in the digital realm.

Aug 14, 17 12:51 pm  · 

These guys switched from architecture to UX - I walk by their studio on my way to Trader Joes

Aug 8, 12 6:51 pm  · 

Great idea, I did it! I may know a student over at u of m in that program. My suggestion is jump in and create some examples of work, wireframes, ui designs, interactive pieces etc... Then build an online portfolio. Apply for short term consulting positions, build some websites for small businesses in your area, maybe a couple of brochure sites for your architecture friends! Then you are in the game. It's a robust field with lots of opportunities.

Aug 8, 12 9:18 pm  · 

Yes, web design work in various aspects, and it is always every where. True that this field earn much than architect. I have been a designer of SifaGroup Web Design and I could say that I am satisfied of what I am getting.

Jul 20, 13 12:07 pm  · 

for the average UX designer - the career half life can be very short(2 years) if you don't stay on top of emerging technology and fail to put in the hours.

Jul 21, 13 12:54 pm  · 

UX is a very niche field. If you can carve out a living then good luck to you. Its pretty high end stuff and theres not massive demand for it unless you're working for an enterprise level company also the salaries and working hours will suck. I worked in web/digital agencies for over 7 years and you get little thanks for your hard work and companies keep going bust from underneath you so expect to move jobs every 12 months or so.

Jul 22, 13 6:44 am  · 

One of the people in this podcast (Alli) made that same transition:

Jan 20, 14 11:34 am  · 

One way of moving into this would be to take one of those code bootcamp things and start building up a portfolio, preferably while having a main gig. Might be able to do medium-term arrangements with startups, etc.

Sep 1, 16 10:12 am  · 

wow, blast from the past

over christmas in 2012 (4 months after posting this)  i read the "hidden job market," changed the way I applied for positions, had something like 4 job offers in one week, and haven't looked back since!

Sep 1, 16 2:10 pm  · 

guess I should clarify, I never worked in UX, and am happily in architecture now.  Someday I might leave for RE Investing, but that's a whole other topic

Aug 14, 17 12:30 pm  · 

Shellarchitect: I've read the hidden job market, what points did you find pertinent? 

Aug 14, 17 3:14 pm  · 

Its been awhile, but basically the idea that responding to internet job offers via email is like trying to win the lottery and that it is far better to become an actual person to the hiring person vs a piece of paper.  Ideally a person should be well regarded enough that they can be hired before a job is ever posted online.

Most useful to me at the time was contacting friends and loose acquaintances to find out who was busy and might need help.  I did send out the postcards mentioned in the book.  I didn't get a job or any offers from that, but I did get some very nice responses which gave me hope.

Aug 15, 17 8:08 am  · 

Thank you for reaching out and expressing interest in transitioning to a career in web design, UX, or interaction design. It's great to hear that you're considering these fields, as they offer a great salary and career stability.

Regarding your question about web design, it can be relatively easy to learn with many resources available online. However, having a certificate can be helpful in finding work, particularly if you don't have much professional experience.

UX and interaction design can be exciting career paths as well, and the University of Michigan's program in interaction design is a great option in the Detroit area. Additionally, there are many online courses and resources available to help you learn more about these fields.

One way to gain valuable experience in the industry is to work with an enterprise UI UX design agency. These agencies specialize in creating user-centered digital designs for large organizations or businesses, and they can offer valuable exposure to real-world projects and mentorship from experienced designers.

In terms of barriers to entry, these fields do require some level of skill and knowledge, but there are many paths you can take to get started, including online courses, bootcamps, and internships.

I hope this information is helpful to you. If you have any further questions or would like more information about enterprise UI UX design agencies, please let me know.

Feb 22, 23 1:51 am  · 

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