"Old" designers?

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Lee Preising

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Oct 25, 2016, 1:01:32 PM10/25/16
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I’m a 53 year old designer. Most of my experience has been in print, but I have done a share of web work. This is mostly designing the “look” and working with a developer to build the site. I have an “ok” knowledge of HTML and CSS, and have used both to build a few relatively simple sites (Adobe Brackets). I learned some of the frontend code to better understand the limitations, and to help me work better with developers.

I’ve been looking at some of the intensive bootcamp classes for UX/UI, specifically in Toronto. I’m trying to get a grasp on what the market is like right now. Any of these bootcamps would be happy to get my money and give me a “certificate”, but what happens when I graduate? Are agencies/studios overwhelmed with these bootcamp graduates?

The one, overriding question I have is: What’s the market like for a 53 year old designer? Are agencies only looking to hire younguns (lower pay, longer hours)? I’m just trying to be realistic here.

Kaleem

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Oct 26, 2016, 3:49:54 PM10/26/16
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Hi Lee, 

Age of the designer isn't much of an issue, except at organizations that don't understand the value of experience or those that discriminate based on age which becomes a legal issue. It really comes down to the ability and skills of the designer, how well they can think about problems and their solutions, and the ability to communicate those ideas to stakeholders and the team.

I won't dismiss the age discrimination issue outright because it is a problem that I have been hearing more about in recent years, and we have to acknowledge that it exists and does occur, sometimes for people in their late-30s and early-40s. It is most often an issue with inexperienced managers, frequently in their first management role. 

Bootcamps vary in quality but the one thing most of them lack is giving their graduates an understanding that simply because one has taken classes and been "certified," that doesn't instantly make them a UX designer. By definition UX designers have deep skills and abilities in multiple disciplines.

Having some understanding and appreciation of the development process and code is good but, generally, there is no expectation for designers to be able to produce production-level code. 

Don't limit your search to agencies. There is aggressive hiring going on client-side, especially for entry-level and mid-level graphic/visual, UX, and interaction designers.

In short, no matter what your age, it's a good time to be a designer.

Kaleem

Lee Preising

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Oct 27, 2016, 11:51:21 AM10/27/16
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Thanks for the comment. I think if the cost of some of these bootcamps were more reasonable, then it may be an easier choice.

Dmitry Nekrasovski

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Oct 27, 2016, 2:47:33 PM10/27/16
to Lee Preising, UXIrregulars
I would add one point to Kaleem's great and thorough response. 

If you have significant experience in a particular vertical (e.g. healthcare, finance), it will likely be much easier for you to make the shift to UX design within that vertical.

I have seen 50-something non-UXer colleagues successfully take the plunge into UX design by leveraging their vertical subject matter expertise and adding in-depth UX training from a reputable provider (e.g. HFI, NN/g, ...). 

I hope this helps.

Dmitry

On Thu, Oct 27, 2016 at 10:02 AM, Lee Preising <rusto...@gmail.com> wrote:
Thanks for the comment. I think if the cost of some of these bootcamps were more reasonable, then it may be an easier choice.

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4thm...@gmail.com

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Oct 27, 2016, 5:38:19 PM10/27/16
to Dmitry Nekrasovski, Lee Preising, UXIrregulars
I have found the NN/G courses to be of value. I took certification in the HFI courses over 4 years. One industry colleague found the HFI exams more intense than his MBA. The HFI courses and the N N G courses are practical ...and hands on. 
This advice is from a 60 plus with 19 years in the field 😀

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Steve Miller

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Oct 28, 2016, 1:22:46 PM10/28/16
to Lee Preising, UXIrregulars

So Lee,  is your question really how best to make the transition to ux design from traditional? If that is the case I would look at a boot camp as a starting point and not as a credential that will automatically result in a job. I made the transition years ago from content strategy because the organization I was working for was looking for the right mindset in other disciplines and was looking to recruit from within,  and I basically learned on the job from great mentors. Not everyone is that lucky,  so I get the value of a boot camp to know what it is you don't know. But after that you will need to start creating a ux portfolio I think -  examples of work that put your new knowledge to practical application. Your maturity and design background will put you in good stead to advance quickly once you make the transition. But it may take a little while to make it.


On Oct 27, 2016 11:51 AM, "Lee Preising" <rusto...@gmail.com> wrote:
Thanks for the comment. I think if the cost of some of these bootcamps were more reasonable, then it may be an easier choice.

@VladMalik

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Oct 28, 2016, 1:22:46 PM10/28/16
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Hi Lee,

The age thing is tough, but not just after 50. You could be in your 30s and have a hard time fitting into a company of millennials. So you're not alone, and it's a separate issue from skills/experience. Look at smaller teams, not just bigger agencies. For example, I work on a team of 2. But there could be larger teams where you could fit right in, I don't know.

With respect to skills, I don't think a certificate or bootcamp would do much to formalize your skills, unless it's an intensive specific course to learn X - and the value would be the skill, not the paper. I was getting into this field a few years ago, thinking about all manner of certifications. I'm glad I didn't do it. At 30 with a family, I had already felt it was too late to be doing full time studying or taking evening courses. It would've been a waste of time and money. But that's my specific case. Figure out what skills you need, and go with the cheapest/fastest route to it. I'd say side projects/examples of work are way more valuable than any certification.

Don't downplay your design experience. You can kick any 24 year-old's butt at _______ (fill in the blank). Try to find a focus that is an extension of what you've done, so you have to learn less. Are you a strong copywriter? Are you a pro at layout and typography? Are you an illustrator? All that is directly transferable or adaptable to web. Some people make a living doing wordpress layout templates. Some people do hand-drawn illustrations for web. I don't know if you want to be reinventing yourself at 53 (not sure when/if you're planning to retire), so find a compromise between something new and the steepest learning curve you're willing to accept.

Best,

Vlad




On Tuesday, October 25, 2016 at 1:01:32 PM UTC-4, Lee Preising wrote:

violet purrpelle

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Oct 29, 2016, 7:04:44 PM10/29/16
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If you do plan to transition, I do think adding some courses onto your resume is a good way to signal your interest and skills - but there are lots of affordable ways to boost skills without breaking the bank.

For example, with a Toronto Library card, one can access the ENTIRE Lynda.com library for free. They have tons of vids on front end development, UX design and commonly used UI software (like Sketch, which is very affordable compared to CSuite tools). Could be a good way to dip your toe and learn some new tricks, with maximum flexibility and low cost.

Might also be worth taking a design course through Skillshare or Udemy that will result in portfolio pieces. They're very affordble and offer lots of hands-on options.
 
Ultimately, IMHO, you have a strong advantage as a graphic designer making this kind of transition, given that MANY "UX" roles are actually graphic design/visual interface jobs (or require a high degree of visual literacy)  where people are expected to "know UX" but produce design comps.

All the best!
:)(: Violet




On Tuesday, October 25, 2016 at 1:01:32 PM UTC-4, Lee Preising wrote:

4thm...@gmail.com

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Oct 29, 2016, 9:20:39 PM10/29/16
to violet purrpelle, UXIrregulars
Great discussion and interesting pointers!

Sent from my iPhone
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Joy N

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Nov 2, 2016, 2:08:29 PM11/2/16
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Lee, 

Look at some of the George Brown College courses on UX Design. The cost is the same but parsed out over several courses. The content is good. There are also two courses on Visual Design for UX in addition to research, strategy, information architecture and user testing courses. There were mainly graphic designers in the program when I took it. https://coned.georgebrown.ca/courses-and-certificates/user-experience-design-certificate/
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