Fitting the UX designer mold?"

I read a great article by another Medium blogger that inspired me to think about my situation having recently graduated from a UX bootcamp and looking for my first role in the field. I am similar to his story in that I am a switching careers into UX. I don’t want to be an arrogant know-it-all. I have ideas I want to share, but I don’t want those to influence how I interact and collaborate with others. I am still learning to do UX and want the world to know where I stand. Someday I will be great, but today I am still a learner.

Back in my days at Flatiron I always felt like I was trying to catch up and fit in. Everything was new and I was the outsider. I know everyone else in my cohort was in the same position as me. We all had vague notions of what we were getting into. We all had trepidations about our design and research acumen. We all were nervous about showing our work and presenting to others. It was all scary and new… and exciting!

It was exciting because I knew with hard work, I would emerge onto the UX world as a fresh-faced go-getter ready to show the world I belong. That was the hope. I wanted to walk out the doors of Flatiron School with confidence and into the building across the street where my new career would start. I wanted to leave with confidence about myself but not the attitude that I know everything and was ready to show up everyone. That is far from the truth. Even though I am done with school, I am still in the learning phase. In addition to looking for work, I am speaking with people on Linkedin, meetups, etc to try to learn more. I am staying busy with solo projects to improve my skills and looking for volunteer work to further expand my exposure to different facets of the community.

Its been a few months since I graduated from Flatiron and I am still looking for a job. Bummer! Right now there does not seem to be a big focus on junior designers or newbies like myself. It also Coronavirus season. So there are a lot of challenges right now. I can’t let all these compound and collapse my chances for finding a UX role somewhere. I am reshaping my job search:

  1. Since there are not many jobs, I am opening my scope to include all UX fields and all industries. There is still a lot I can learn no matter where I work.
  2. I need to stand apart from the competition: In a good way. I need to think “outside the box” and show creativity in design that makes people want to take a closer look at me.
  3. I need to stay positive: Thinking back to school days; there were some long nights of work, uncertainty about the future and the “imposter syndrome” constantly shadowing my work. I will use all those doubts to challenge myself. When I complete a task I need to step back and ask, “Is this truly the best I can offer?” I know what to do if the answer is no.

The answer is always no. I should let the uncertainty drive me to do better and prevent me from being discouraged. All along I knew it would take awhile to find a role to start my career. I realize that school gave me all the basic tools to be a UX designer, but the learning continues on for the rest of my life. I know I am ready to take on the challenge and am comfortable knowing that I do not know everything yet.