Today many people are looking for a job in IT, and many are curious about its design side in particular. For some reason, it is considered that Quality Assurance and Web Design are the easiest ways to become a part of the IT-world for different professionals from other occupations. Well, probably I'd agree with this and do not deny my personal similar interest years ago.
It is quite a typical situation when students are looking for more stable financial sources before graduation. And I did the same - tried to identify the most suitable way for a confident living, separately from parents and be more or less satisfied with a job. At that moment, the IT industry became very popular and attractive among Ukrainian youth, and many strived to retrain and to get new related knowledge. Some people even totally changed their sphere of activity and me as well. But first, I was trying to understand what actually I could do in the IT, which appropriate knowledge I may have already and finally - what will be interesting for me in general.
Since back in school, I was involved in drawing, I decided it would definitely be helpful in website designing. Additionally, I became interested in photo editing and was familiar with some designers' tools like Photoshop (😏I know, but still). So the direction gradually loomed - the Web Design. But as far I went, the more it was clear - it is not only about beautiful images, but first about user experience. And then I understood how valuable my high education was in this case.
Ethnological education background
Ethnology (or Cultural Anthropology) was the department at Historian faculty I’d been studying at. Honestly, I can’t explain how interesting this science is and how practical the usage of its knowledge may be. But the most valuable experience from that time I got for my Web Design career is the methodology of people’s culture research. The ability to understand the best way of empathizing with a respondent - just precious skill in the design world. Only if you know the human’s real life, everyday habits, surrounding social patterns, and customs - you can identify some truly needs and purposes for human-oriented design.
First of all, I think such a type of high education helped me to develop an ability literally TO FEEL the user’s goal on some mental level. And surprisedly, the classic ethnological research methodology provided me a firm basis for modern design research.
Human-Centered Design online course
But where and how I got the specific designing knowledge? The next step was some «serious» and «professional» course on Coursera. At that moment, I had literally no English skills and was intensively beginning the learning process, so I decided that passing a course on English will be a winning combo for my case. My friend-developer and a search bar on the Coursera platform helped me to choose a specific course. Corny, we stopped on the first variant from the list - Interaction Design Specialization by University of California San Diego. It looked like a right solid course that may teach how to design a great user experience. Besides, my friend told me to pay attention to UX first, cause it is what’s important overall in the design world, in Web Design in particular. Since I had no more advisors from professionals in the industry, the choice was made.
In a nutshell, the 8 courses of that specialization are instrumental, engaging, and, most importantly - teach you so practical and applicable skills for your further UX/UI career.
Not coding but a basic understanding
As a designer, I have not coded a single line for my job proposes yet, that’s true. But the reason for all of this knowledge is better communication with developers, who actually turn your designs alive. And in my opinion, the smooth collaboration with developers during the development process - the main recipe for the project’s success and design's success in particular.
So what about designing…
The bottom line, each of us is unique and has his own way of self-development. Among a ton of information we have today, the task is to distinguish what the most valuable things are for you. I remember how tried to systemize that chaos of knowledge about web/UX/UI design by simply googling the answers to my questions, watching/reading tons of videos/articles, and just repeating other people's designs. After, I came up with some potential concepts for some imaginary websites to build at least some portfolio. And then was my first real client with an actual website design order.
Well, that’s pretty much it - nothing special, I warned you. Be yourself and happy designing!