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My UX Origin Story

As a frequent creeper of UX subreddits I often see people ask about how others got into the UX industry and what is the best path for getting started.

It never ceases to amaze me how many different paths led to people working in this industry.

My path is certainly an odd one.

Memorial University

I started at Memorial University where I studied Business Administration, after dropping Engineering. I have never, or at least rarely, ever applied that education.

My first job, which I accepted the day I graduated, was a junior web developer role at a small marketing shop.

It set my path off as a software developer.

I eventually ended up with a role as a software developer at an ad tech company and I have been working in that industry ever since.

And in that time I have always been passionate about how UIs were being designed and built.

At one point I had built a comprehensive widget to solve a number of UX problems for a key feature in a product I was responsible for. I built a lot of it in my spare time since the work was not scoped for for the product. I wasn’t finish, but I had a good prototype and after I had demoed it to the team we decided to integrate it.

Around the same time we had an in-person visit from the VP of Engineering. He was told about the work and requested a quick demo. I showed it off and he saw the value right away.

And he saw more than that.

He saw my passion to make things better for the user. Unbeknownst to me he was already trying to address the problem of disjointed UIs across the company by putting together a new UX team. He offered me a spot.

I jumped on board right away.

I took courses, read books, and subscribed to blogs, twitter feeds, and subreddits.

My work comprised of setting standards (and/or guidelines) for frontend dev teams, building and maintaining a custom design system and component library, researching user behaviour, and supporting UI teams.

I carved out a bit of a niche for myself by focusing on quantitative analysis. Implementing rich user tracking in our apps and the design system to help guide business decisions.

And while I was earning my professional experience I was also taking courses through Udemy, Google, and Coursera.

So how did I break through into UX?

I’ll be honest, it was mostly luck.

But I am huge proponent for making your own luck through hard work and just being there.

If I had advice for people looking to make the leap into the UX world, start with passion. Start by caring. And make sure people can see and hear you.

Build a portfolio, write a blog, tweet about UX.

How did you break through into UX?

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