From Industrial Design to UX Design: Bootcamp Graduate Interview with Emily Lai

25 August 2021 6:00 pm Online UX Design

Regardless of your professional background, career change can be quite the journey. From picking the right UX bootcamp or training to help you re-skill for that dream job, to fending off those common career change fears, landing a job, and negotiating your first salary. As rewarding as the whole journey is, it can be a lot to take on! 

So how do you keep the right mentality as you navigate all of this? How do you overcome those fears? Here are three tips that will help you get started.

  1. Learn, learn, learn
  2. Find a UX designer mentor
  3. Connect with other career changers

Let’s look a little more closely at each of these. 

1. Learn, learn, learn

Know your stuff. Whether it’s industry standard UX tools and processes, or your transferable UX skills and what kind of salary you should ask for as a new designer—a great way to combat fear and stay positive during a career change is to train, practice, and research until you know that you know your stuff.

But it’s also to know that there’s a lot you may not know—and to cultivate a beginners’ mind, always open and ready to learn. This way, you can assure yourself that a) you mostly know what you’re doing, and that b) what you don’t know, you will learn—and you’ll be even better at your job for it! 

2. Find a UX mentor

A mentor is someone who is ahead of you on that career path. They’ve been where you are, and they’ve navigated their way to a place where you could see yourself sometime in the future. 

Among other things, a mentor can offer you:

  • Seasoned career advice
  • Empowerment and support
  • Expert feedback on your work
  • Knowledge of industry tools and shortcuts
  • Insights and resources for further learning
  • Networking opportunities
  • A seasoned, professional reference

To learn more about the benefits of mentorship and how to make the most of having a mentor, check out this guide: The Importance of Mentorship for Aspiring UX Designers. The focus is on UX design, but the concepts apply across disciplines.

5. Connect with other career changers

When we say that you should connect with other career changers, we don’t mean networking in the traditional sense (of making professional connections to enhance your career down the road)—though it may result in that. 

What we mean is that you should meet and talk to others who are also in the middle of a career change—and hear the stories of people who have done it successfully! 

And the best ways to do that? Here are a few:

  • Enroll in a UX course or bootcamp. The best ones will help you connect with fellow career changers and immerse you in that budding professional network. 
  • Reach out to people on Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn. Search various hashtags and see who you encounter; follow accounts like CareerFoundry on Instagram or YouTube and see who you find engaging with the content. 
  • Read UX bootcamp graduate stories and watch interviews with successful alumni

Trust that you know what you’re doing, keep a beginners’ mind, find a mentor, and connect with other career changers—and before you know it, you’ll have your training behind you and an exciting career ahead of you.

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Featured presenters

Emilu Lai

Emily Lai

UX Lead and CareerFoundry Graduate

Currently working at Avon cosmetics as a global UX lead. Improving the overall user experience for Avon’s sale representatives in mobile apps and web within the ecosystem of Avon. Emily came from an industrial design background with 17 years of experience working in design innovation. She worked with global clients on ethnographic research, user experience projects, innovation workshops, product design innovation projects in China, Singapore, Japan, US and India. Her focus is holistic approach driven by human-centered design, new technology and market insights.


Ashley Sigmon

Senior Career Specialist

Ashley Sigmon comes from a background in education and career coaching with a special focus on mentoring people facing significant life challenges including mental illness, poverty, mobility issues, and language barriers. She moved to Berlin with her husband in 2019. There, she spent a year studying German and co-writing material on goal-setting and overcoming barriers for a 24-week peer coaching course before joining CareerFoundry as a Senior Career Specialist in the fall of 2020.