Designing a Career Path: My Journey to UX Design

Brooke Jurdak
March 27, 2023
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Hi, I’m Brooke and I’m excited to share my journey with you. A few months ago, I made the move to change careers and set out on a new path. But before I dive into the details, allow me to reconnect the chain of events.

Finding My Roadmap

I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts, specializing in film animation. During my studies, I found the program to be lacking in technical skills. To fill this gap, I sought out an art studio that hired industry artists. Furthermore, I completed a semester abroad in Osaka, Japan to study Japanese animation.

In addition to my studies, I experimented with different mediums of artistic expression. As much as I appreciated the art of animation, I felt most passionate about digital painting. By this time, I was doing private commissions, publishing a couple of online courses, selling my own apparel and even designed an experimental video game on emotional intelligence. I also enrolled in a business program to better market to my customers. While I loved it, I still needed a stable job.

I found a great opportunity to work in a historical manor built in the late 1880s, where the attic had been transformed into an art Gallery. I was assistant and administrative support for the Curator and Gallery director. However, as time went on, I desired something more creatively stimulating, with endless growth opportunities. Due to the ongoing COVID pandemic, it has become increasingly evident that uncertainty and chaos will continue to prevail, making it crucial to adapt and acquire new skills. As my mentor wisely quoted Bruce Lee, “Be like water,” implying the need to be versatile and open to change in the rapidly evolving technological landscape.

X Marks The Spot

For a long time, I struggled to figure out my next pivot and felt stuck. One day, during brunch, my boyfriend suggested I explore the field of UX/UI, saying it perfectly suited me. It was like finding the missing piece to a puzzle! I instantly knew this would be the next step in my career. Although UX/UI is not about self expression, it does blend creative problem solving with human empathy to impact the future. Designers form the experience of human-machine interaction.

John Maeda, Vice President of Design and Artificial Intelligence at Microsoft said it best, “Design is a solution to a problem. Art is a question to a problem”. Therefore, design is more like a science that has the blueprints of how to do things.

UX/UI seemed to encompass many fields of my interests into one: behavioural economics, problem solving, business, service to others and art. I’m very impressed with the empathic nature of UX designers, as well as the depth of research involved to understand a person’s struggles, desires, fears and habits.

Don Norman, author of The Design of Everyday Things, highlights that people struggling with technology are not to blame — the design is! After all, UX designers make products for the user, not themselves.

Personal Challenges and Upcoming Goals

Changing careers demands adaptability, consistency and a firm belief in your abilities to learn and figure things out. Not to mention a full acceptance that you’ll suck at the beginning. There will be lots of challenging user interviews and presentations where I must clearly communicate my decisions but none of that phases me right now. I feel open and ready to gradually make these changes. After all, “change is the changeless state” as Bruce Lee once said.

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