BECOME A UX DESIGNER  |  FEB 16, 2019

From clinical research to UX design - a glimpse of my journey

If you asked me three years ago what I aspired to be, I’d tell you I wanted to become a psychologist. After graduating from university, I worked in research by recording brain activity and images with EEGs and MRI scans. I also conducted interviews, planned our study participants’ visits, and gained feedback about their experiences while working with us. I had no idea that these tasks were closely related to UX.

While preparing an EEG session for a participant one day, an error appeared. Panicking, I tried to exit the program and restart the computer, but the error still flashed. I knew I had to troubleshoot this another way, so I read through forums online that suggested programming and coded - while flustered - for the first time. Imagine my surprise when the message finally disappeared! What kind of sorcery did I do?

This ignited my curiosity about programming and led me to learn web development and design. What excited me was the chance to create freely and see those ideas become a reality. Since 2016, I learned through Meetups, code katas, and a mentorship-style bootcamp. I became proficient in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript that I landed a front-end developer role in Atlanta. I made my first step into tech and I was excited! 

You can never stop being curious 

While I was at this company, I worked closely with a product designer and learned how to gather requirements, create wireframes, and test prototypes. The idea of testing out a product’s interactions to achieve simplicity, functionality, and delight for our users was something I realized I focused on when I worked on my coding projects. It was also enlightening to see our product designer provide reasons for designing a webpage a certain way or scrapping out features - I learned that I loved seeing the bigger picture. I learned that all of this pointed to UX.

With the help of Daniel from Butter Academy and my friends from Bloc, I learned the fundamentals of UX design and how it seamlessly integrated research, creativity, and strategy. I created projects, made strong connections with my UX community, and ultimately found UX to be my perfect career choice. Perhaps it could be yours too.

To see some of my work, you can check out my portfolio at https://hazel.doctor/. Feel free to contact me if you have questions or would like to chat about careers in UX.

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