Finance and UX design: two career paths that couldn’t be more different. Changing from one to the other in the space of a year seems impossible — but that’s exactly what Kevin Rice did. His job title now reads Director of User Experience Design, and how he got there might surprise you.
On paper, Kevin’s background is finance through and through. He studied finance at Florida State University before taking on various accountant and financial analyst roles. Outside of his day job, however, his focus was elsewhere. Long before he found his way to CareerFoundry, he started dabbling in design. At the time, he had no idea that what he was practising was actually UX, until he came across an article on that very topic.
“I started getting into design a few years before, but never really found a place for what I was doing. I had a background in research and analysis, but to my knowledge there was nothing out there that used both research and design. Then one day, I came across an article about UX Design. I soon realized that everything that was being done, were things that I was already doing. That’s the moment I decided that I would make the leap at 30 years old to change my career.”
What really stood out to Kevin was the diverse range of disciplines that UX covers. Up until that point, he had never found a way to utilize all of his skills in one go, but now it seemed he had the perfect opportunity. After several years in the finance industry, he made the decision to learn something new and set off on a completely different career path.
“UX design was something that really struck me as a great opportunity to put all of my skills together to build products.”
The first step towards his new career was to learn the fundamental UX design skills. After weighing up his options, Kevin decided that the CareerFoundry bootcamp would be the most effective solution; not only from a financial perspective, but also for the benefit of having a one-to-one mentor. Indeed, the dedicated support of an industry expert can mean the difference between falling behind and forging full-steam ahead.
“I decided the bootcamp would be the best option because of the costs and one-on-one mentorship. Going through school with no technical degree in design would have been an uphill battle, but going to a bootcamp there are no constraints, nothing stopping you but yourself.”
In addition to the mentorship aspect, Kevin found the hands-on nature of the course to be extremely useful. As he soon discovered, this can be challenging, but it ensures that students are ready to hit the ground running as soon as they graduate.
“I enjoyed the mentorship aspect the most. Being able to bounce ideas off seasoned professionals really helped me learn at a faster rate than most. The most useful aspect was the structure of the course and working on a project. Being able to apply the course to a real world application made things not only more challenging, but more exciting.”
This preparation for the job market is absolutely crucial, as employers want proof that you’ve mastered the necessary practical skills. With this in mind, Kevin took the portfolio he’d created during the course and set about adding to it. From there, he built up his online presence, posting his work on Dribbble and setting up a Behance page.
For Kevin, the CareerFoundry course was more than just a qualification. It sparked a shift in mindset, instilling him with the confidence he needed to really see himself as a legitimate designer. This enabled him to speak convincingly about his work and, eventually, land his first UX design role.
“It wasn’t so much the title or qualification, but the confidence to talk about UX design processes and my abilities to work in the field. CareerFoundry helped me understand the process, techniques and requirements that were needed in order to create a better user experience when designing products.”
No matter how much the course prepares you, jumping head-first into a brand new career can be incredibly overwhelming. Kevin found himself learning something new every day and, while this was challenging, it really helped to refine the skills he had learned on the course.
In fact, the sheer diversity of work and the challenges that come with it are exactly what he loves about his new career in UX:
“Every project is different when working for an agency. New challenges arise every day, and expectations are heightened constantly. The ability to create amazing products is the number one reason why I love my job. It also helps that I have the freedom to be creative, work with great people, and see my designs come to life.”
For anyone else considering a career change, Kevin has some inspirational yet honest words of advice:
“It’s a long road to get to the top, but it’s not impossible. If you truly love UX, UI or web development then it should be easy, because your passion will drive you every day to be better. I made the change because I found my passion in design and I feel blessed that I had the opportunity to do it.”
It comes as no surprise that Kevin sees his future in UX design. In 5 years from now, he can imagine himself taking on the role of VP of Design at his current agency. In fact, Kevin is so thrilled with his new career that he’s reluctant to label it as work!
“My career trajectory has skyrocketed because I spend most of my waking hours working - but it’s not really work if you love what you’re doing, right?”
Wish you felt this way about your job, too? Talk to a Career Advisor today.
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by Emily Stevens on 08 May 2018