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I am currently working as an instructional designer and I am very interested in switching to UX design. I have taken up a few interviews but I have not been able to convince that the two fields overlap. Can someone provide inputs on how to handle my interviews? I look forward to your thoughts.

Note: I cannot afford to do a master program to acquire UX skills, which happens to be a requirement for most UX jobs.

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5 Answers 5

Demonstrate that you have strong design and development skills will a passion for UX.

If you have a background in design and development, that's a great start. Start putting together a portfolio that exhibits your skills and point out your attention to UX and really make this a focus in your interview. Keep bringing the conversation back to your UX knowledge and demonstrate that you know just as much as someone with their Master's (and if you don't yet have the knowledge, start learning all you can before you start interviewing).

You can learn a lot at a university, don't get me wrong. But anything that can be learned there, can be learned individually on your own time as long as you have the drive and actively pursue becoming an expert in the field.

Any employer that sees a strong passion and some skill to back it up can't ignore what's right in front of them. So what if you don't have a degree in UX or Human Factors etc? Would that help? Absolutely. But an employer should be smart enough to recognize existing skills and aspirations and as long as it's not too far of a stretch, hire you and give it a shot.

Someone with a passion and drive and less experience beats out an experienced person who just "meets the requirements" and plays the part - any day.

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I haven't seen many places that require a Masters. Typically it's "a degree in human factors, library sciences, or related field and/or x years experience in web design, interface design, web development or other related field."

The term 'UX Designer' is also a fairly broad term.

Have you built or managed the production of any learning sites? Managed the content? Things like that should be a foot-in-the-door type of thing that you can hopefully leverage.

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Thanks for your response. Yes, I have designed, developed/created, and managed elearning courses. But they are not being perceived as being related to UX. Any suggestions on how I can position my skills as relevant. –  Tara Jun 28 '11 at 5:21
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I guess it all depends on the definition of 'UX' your potential employers are using. But I'd definitely say your past tasks put you in the ballpark of UX...if not in a specific position. –  DA01 Jun 28 '11 at 5:37
    
You need to demonstrate that you used UX components when you developed elearning courses - ie did you do any user research or testing ? –  PhillipW Jun 28 '11 at 12:37

I have pondered some of the same issues. For me the most helpful advice was on the following blog post: http://blog.semanticfoundry.com/2011/04/19/7-steps-to-a-kick-ass-ux-portfolio/

To paraphrase, it says to use your UX skills (which you know you have) to craft the experience for the hiring manager/ person doing the interviews.

If you can't sell your story there, you won't be able to once in the job.

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Thanks so much for sharing the link. It is very helpful and insightful. I will work on a story line. –  Tara Jun 28 '11 at 5:33
    
I'm getting a 404 not found on the link provided. I too was curious to see it. –  Sean Nov 13 '13 at 14:51

My Masters is in Instructional Systems (Florida State). But my last two jobs have been in UX design.

For me it was all about the basics, from the cover letter to the interview. As an ID you must know your students, assess the effectiveness of proposed training implementations, monitor students as they interact with the resources you designed, iterate on the designs, draw on industry best practice, know your heuristics, understand taskflows, understand learning objectives AND student objectives, know basic psychology, etc etc etc.

Sound familiar? Every one of these has a direct analog in UX. There is a learning curve - and maybe you are still on it - where you need to know the in-and-outs of how UX folk talk to one another, their terms, their influential names, their key theories. But the two domains share a considerable amount of common ground, you just have to convey that in simple terms.

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what Matt said x2 - ux designer can encompass a huge set of skills empathy is key to being a good UXer

have a look at this book 'A Project Guide to UX Design: For user experience designers in the field or in the making'

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