A Tale of a User Experience Designer That Moved From London to Lisbon

This is a real life story. It is about dreams, passion, traveling, seek for a change, sometimes fear, adventures, challenges and courage… and how you can manage all this without regretting a decision.

The UX Desigener

Little in size, sensitive, woman, born in a demanding family and really lucky, cause these factors made her at today’s date a great, strong, and determined professional with a meaningful position in her career of User Experience Designer. :)

There are efforts to be done everyday… but you should do them too… the efforts you are do today determine your success tomorrow. Never forget you are capable and the only one that can tailor the story of your own career.

So here is where all started… Since leaving university, she decided to dedicate fully to the craft of her career.

“In average you spend 35% of your lifetime at work”, so better you love what you are doing. My geek advice to you in your first years, is to invest in you career — and specially if you’re still single. :)

She was a fresh young professional, just out of the college when she received an unexpected call. ☎️ A start-up from London, called BaseKit, offered her very first role as a Digital Designer and she didn’t think twice. ✈️

She didn’t call London, London called her. And hell no… she never consider about moving to London before that moment.

Life in London

Before moving to London she was only there once for a weekend escape. It was a city she liked to visit but never imagined that was going to spend there 6 years of her life.

Today she is convinced and says with confidence that London is the best place in Europe to kickstart your career. Known as emerging city in many fields such as technology, Design and the arts of Europe, London surprises its habitants everyday. No same walk, ever looks equal.

Pop-up mushrooms in Shoreditch

Work wise, there are opportunities popping up everywhere and it’s a great place for Digital Design.

But is not all bright as blue skies, London could be vey expensive and a stressful city to live in.

Housing is not great and rents tend to be very expensive. Most people live in packed flat shares. Regular monthly bills and council tax can get very expensive too.

Tube stock in Great Eastern street

Thinking about a change

After 6 years in London working as Digital Designer she wanted to specialised in User Experience Design, she started to apply for UX Design roles there and sent CVs to some places but…

…in a very competitive market and without much experience, she couldn’t get a job there.

Her though was to start looking for Ux opportunities in markets where there were not so much competition and Lisbon quickly came to the top of her list. Trending as top destination in the tourism reports was not difficult to believe that would be an awesome place to live in.

Further more investigation, made her understand that User Experience Design in Portugal is still a baby, but yet very promising. There is a startup scene emerging, many international companies are building offices there and the scarcity of UX Designers.

She applied for 04 companies there and ended up with three offers with room for negotiation.

The move

From London she carries in her heart the beautiful skies covered in clouds that looked more like cotton, the big parks, taking her dog to work everyday, the bike2work scheme, the foxes, the multiculturality, respect for diversity and the freedom of being true to yourself.

Life in Lisbon

Wow, Lisbon

Has been almost 5 months now since she moved to Lisbon… 6 years of London left behind but a huge wish of embracing something new in a different place, in a different job.

Advantages on living in Lisbon are great: she is able to afford her own 2-bedroom flat with a small garden, 10 minutes from the beach. Distances seem really short, and the commuting time reduced drastically. She finds also really easy and incredibly cheap to rent a car and travel around the country and in more modern companies, you can have a good balance work life.

Working in a multi-national company she has the opportunity to experience an inclusive corporate culture, dealing with clients and people from all over the world.

If Lisbon calls you, do not think twice is her advice.

LX Factory the “little Shoreditch” of Lisbon

You

If you are thinking about an international career path, she advises you to try Lisbon and follow a list of useful tips if you are about to take a decision of taking a new UX role, being it in Lisbon, or in another different country:

1. Set up your career goals
2. Use this tool to compare the cost of living
3. Measure pros and cons with perhaps the help of the “Decision Making Tool
4. Believe in yourself and apply for positions
5. Pack your bags and go!

Let us know if you share your own career story too.

References:
http://thespaces.com/2015/08/28/is-lisbon-the-next-berlin/
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/13/travel/13Lisbon.html?_r=0
https://www.portugalist.com/lisbon-next-berlin/

Thank you!

Margarida da Marça

Written by

Design Practise and Team Lead at OutSystems Finland

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