From Industrial Engineering to UX Design: How I Switched Careers With a UX Bootcamp and Landed a Job at Oracle

With a degree in industrial engineering, Scott began his career with a job in the automotive manufacturing industry. Now, he’s a UX designer at Oracle, one of the biggest software companies in the world. Here’s how he made the switch.

by Emily Stevens on 31 May 2021

UX graduate Scott Wong, who changed careers from industrial engineering to UX design through the CareerFoundry program

When it comes to career change, the thought of starting from scratch can be daunting. Especially if you’re coming from an unrelated background, it’s easy to feel like your current job and the skills you have are just too far removed from your dream role. Fortunately, the reality is rather different—as you’ll soon see when you read Scott’s story.

Scott studied industrial engineering at university, and then went on to gain experience in the manufacturing and automotive industries. While working at Honda, he grew increasingly curious about usability and bridging the gap between business, users, and technology—a curiosity which sparked a life-changing career transition. Now, after taking the CareerFoundry UX Design Program, Scott is working as a UX designer at Oracle. So how did he go from industrial engineering with little design knowledge to landing a job in UX at one of the world’s biggest software companies? Let’s find out.

Hi Scott! Could you tell me a bit about yourself?

Hello! I am a UX designer at Oracle, based out of the San Francisco Bay area. I graduated from Purdue University with a degree in Industrial Engineering where I got my first exposure to human factors and user interface design.

What were you doing before you took the UX Design Program?

Prior to CareerFoundry, I was working for Honda as a supplier quality engineer in the Indiana Auto Plant. As a quality engineer in Honda’s new model division, I was working with automotive suppliers to develop new parts for upcoming Honda models, including the 2022 Civic and 2023 CRV. Then, once I started getting into UX design, I took on some extra responsibilities outside of my regular job. I got involved with a digital product team, taking the lead in designing an online dashboard for project managers to manage overlapping development schedules.

What made you decide to change careers?

While working at Honda, I became interested in working on user interfaces after reading many customer complaints about the poor usability of the infotainment systems in our cars. I have always been fascinated with the intersection between business, humans, and technology, which made UX design very appealing.

And what led you to study UX with CareerFoundry?

I wanted to continue working full-time while having the flexibility of an online program. CareerFoundry offered the curriculum and mentorship I was looking for.

How was your experience with the UX program? What were the highlights and challenges?

Overall, I had a very positive experience with the UX Design Program. The courses are easy to follow along and the supplemental articles are very helpful. While it was challenging to find the motivation to study after working a full day at the plant, I was able to figure out a good routine for getting my classwork and projects done.

You recently started a new job at Oracle—congratulations! Can you tell me about that?

I started working at Oracle as a UX designer in April 2021. I joined the Oracle CX (Customer Experience) group that focuses on cloud-based CRM (Customer Relationship Management) solutions. I am working on a team of three designers, designing wireframes and user flows for features that are tailored to communications service providers (ex. ATT, Verizon).

That sounds great! How did you get the job?

Outside of applying to jobs online and expanding my portfolio with freelance projects, I focused on networking with other designers and people in the tech industry. This is a piece of advice that I got from nearly every designer I talked to in the past. I am an avid golfer and one day I happened to get grouped up with some strangers. While striking up a conversation with one of the guys, I mentioned my interest and background in UX design. After telling me that he worked at Oracle, he offered to share my resume and portfolio with his team. The rest is history!

That’s amazing! What are you enjoying most about working as a UX designer?

I enjoy working with a diverse team, including product managers and developers. It’s nice being able to bounce ideas off of different types of team members and discuss the feasibility of different solutions. Oracle has become very design-centric over the past few years and recently implemented its Redwood Design System which features beautiful and well-designed components that I can incorporate into my designs.

In your experience, what makes a great UX designer?

I believe that great UX designers are big picture thinkers who understand the overarching problem that needs to be addressed, and have a clear understanding of how their solution will benefit users. In addition to being user-centric, great designers consider the needs and goals of the business and how their solution will push the company in the right direction.

What advice would you give to anyone reading this who might be considering a career-change into UX and / or thinking about taking the CareerFoundry UX program?

CareerFoundry will provide you with a very solid foundation to start with. However, it is very important that you expand your education beyond the program and take on freelance projects to build up your portfolio. In regards to job searching, I highly recommend putting yourself out there and networking with designers and managers to uncover the hidden job opportunities that do not get posted online. Who knows…a round of golf might put you in touch with someone that can help you land your first UX role, like it did for me! Best of luck!

Thank you, Scott!

If, like Scott, you want to start your career in UX, why not book a call with a program advisor? They’ll help you figure out your next steps. We can also recommend this guide on how to become a UX designer, step by step.

by Emily Stevens on 31 May 2021

About the author

Emily Stevens

Originally from England, Emily moved to Berlin after studying French and German at university. She has spent the last seven years working in tech startups, immersed in the world of UX and design thinking. In addition to writing for the CareerFoundry blog, Emily has been a regular contributor to several industry-leading design publications, including the InVision blog, UX Planet, and Adobe XD Ideas.