A not-so-easy, but cost-effective guide to becoming a UX professional


As UX becomes more appealing to businesses as a driver of value, it’s reasonable to infer that there will be a significant increase in those interested in UX as a career. In fact Jakob Nielsen has made a bold approximation that the UX profession will grow by a factor of 100 from 2017 to 2050.

UX professionals in the world, with a logarithmic scale for the y-axis (data from 1950 to 2017 are best estimates; 2018–2050 are forecasts)

You or a colleague may have discovered an interest or joy in UX a little late in your career. At this point, perhaps grad school is too expensive of an option. You may be looking into bootcamp courses or have been reading online articles in order to kickstart a career. If so, this is for you.

I hope to address the ambiguity I faced when I first decided on a career change to UX with actionable and cost-effective steps.

If you are only curious about UX, I recommend doing some brief readings first.

  1. The Design of Everyday Things” by Don Norman is an excellent and easy to understand introduction to human-centered design and UX.
  2. Creative Confidence” by Tom & David Kelley is another good book for those interested on whether or not they have the capacity to become a designer (spoiler: anyone can, it just takes practice).

Series Overview

I’ve written three articles which will guide curious beginners straight through to true academic research and professional routine. Each article focuses on one of three perspectives:

  1. Dispelling popular UX learning myths
  2. The benefits of academic UX reading, and how to commit to it
  3. The importance of a design community, and how to find it

Together, these articles will explain what to do next, why it’s important, and how much it will cost (under $500 in total).

Becoming a good UX designer is arguably a lifelong process. Just like any other profession, you cannot reasonably expect to find mastery through a bootcamp course or through occasional Medium article readings. The field is too vast to build maturity in a short time frame with summarized or introductory learning resources. If you want to become a UX professional (or any other professional), you need to expend consistent effort over an extended duration of time with access to the right resources and communities.

Next: “Dispelling popular UX learning myths”