Letters To My Former Self: Billy's Career Change Story

Is it possible to make a career change at the age of 50? How do you navigate a new field when you’ve already achieved so much? And what can you learn from your previous jobs that’ll serve you in a new career? We asked CareerFoundry UI design graduate Billy Hammond to look back and share his career reflections.

by Alison Lightfoot on 6 June 2023

Career change stories with UI design graduate Billy Hammond, who made a career change at age 50

Billy started his career working in the media industry. With expertise in media production, he was a highly acclaimed and top-rated radio personality for pop music formats in New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia. After a successful stint in the field, he moved on to the sales industry and worked for several years as an associate at a large bicycle retailer in the U.S.

In fact, it wasn’t until the age of 50 that Billy made a career change to tech. Studying UI design with CareerFoundry paved the way for him to make his mark in the tech industry, and after graduating from the UI Design Program he started his first role as a designer.

We were curious to know what led Billy to switch careers at 50 and understand how his previous roles have influenced him as a designer. So, we asked him to write a letter to his former self and reflect on his journey. In his own words, this is what he had to share…

Dear Billy,

As I write to you from the future, I am privileged to have witnessed the extraordinary journey you’ve made to become a UI designer. 

From the brave decision to relocate to Berlin from the U.S. to your admirable efforts in learning the German language (although there’s always room for improvement, by the way), and the beautiful life you have created with your German partner, I want you to brace yourself for the satisfaction and fulfillment this career path will bring you!

I don’t think you can currently envisage such a big change, so firstly, let me commend you on your astute decision to pursue a career in UI design. 

Believe it or not, your experience as a top-rated radio personality and sales pro will lay a strong foundation for your future success. Your honed skills will give you an edge in the competitive design world! You’ll learn how to connect with people, understand their needs, and communicate your ideas effectively—all essential qualities for a successful UI designer.

As a radio personality, you’ve already mastered the art of captivating an audience, conveying messages effectively, and understanding the power of visual imagery. These skills will seamlessly transition into your UI work!

Your experience as a bicycle sales pro honed your understanding of customer needs and preferences. You can anticipate desires and guide users toward the best possible choices. Again, these are skills that are instrumental in a design career!

So as you embark on this exciting journey in your career and your life, remember to stay open-minded and embrace continuous learning. Your willingness to adapt and grow will ensure your long-term success—something that’s important to remember at any age. 

Always let your passion and creativity guide you and remember that practice makes the master. Believe in yourself, Billy, for you possess all the qualities necessary to become an exceptional designer.

Wishing you the very best in this transformative chapter of your professional life.


Your Future Self

What can we learn from Billy’s story? With the right attitude and mindset, career change at age 50 is definitely possible. You may not realize that skills from your previous job or former career will benefit you in the future. Billy probably didn’t imagine relocating to Berlin and working in design when he was in his twenties and starting his career as a radio personality, but he’s proof that it’s never too late to make a change. 

It may be challenging, but career change into tech in your 30s, 40, or 50s is doable—especially if you’re willing to keep up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies and embrace continuous learning. 

And it’s important to remember that you’re never really starting from scratch. Even a bold career change like Billy’s— radio personality to UI designer—comes with transferable skills and work experience that you can leverage in a new field.

Keep track of your accomplishments (in any job) and embrace them because you might find something useful from a previous role you didn’t even realize was setting you up for future success.

If you’re making a career change later in life, or at age 50 as Billy did, and would like some help preparing yourself for the job market, check out these resources:

If you’d like some advice on figuring out if a career in tech is right for you, book a call with an expert program advisor at CareerFoundry. You can also get a taste of what a job in tech looks like with our free, introductory short courses.

If you’ve enjoyed this article, check out other career-change stories in the series:

by Alison Lightfoot on 6 June 2023

About the author

Alison Lightfoot

Originally from northern England, Alison’s marketing background ranges from gaming, to sports, to the arts. When she’s not writing about CareerFoundry’s inspiring alumni, she can be found doing yoga, reading a weird book, or exploring new restaurants and cafes around Berlin.