Discovering My Passion For UX Design

A tale of one man, one laptop and a journey of self-discovery.

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”-Mark Twain

Who am I?

“Hello, my name is Kevin Xu and I am a business analyst. I dislike my job, I dislike my life and I don’t feel like I’m doing anything creative and impactful with my life.”

That’s what I would have said if I didn’t decide to take a major risk and change careers. When I was young, I always dreamed of being one of those rich businessmen in suits, calling powerful people on their phones and getting into limousines to go to an important meeting.

My ultimate stereotype for a businessmen

But, while I was doing my Science and Business degree at the University of Waterloo, i discovered i didn’t enjoy working traditional business jobs. I felt constricted because i felt like i wasn’t living to my full potential, and the industry i chose to study in was not making me happy. I was always unmotivated to go to work and didn’t have the energy to do the things i wanted to do; it was time for a change.

How i discovered UX design

I initially heard about UX design on Linkedin, where I noticed many of my fellow UWaterloo alumni leaving their old jobs and transitioning into a career — unknown to me at the time — called “UX design”. This made me extremely curious on what UX is (I thought it was just making websites look pretty and colourful). I researched for about 3 months to find out exactly what UX design is: to achieve business goals by satisfying user needs. I was flabbergasted! This is exactly the type of career i’ve been looking for: A career where I get to use my analytical mind to think creatively and solve problems.

My reaction when i discovered the existence of UX Design.

Research, research and more research

I immediately began looking for ways to learn UX design. There were three options I had:

  • Enroll in a professional development program
  • Self-teach
  • Enroll in an online UX design program.

I decided on a UX design program at RED Academy Toronto was the best option based on the following factors:

  • I wanted mentorship from experienced professionals
  • I wanted to surround myself with people already successful in the industry
  • I wanted to develop a comprehensive UX skillset and mindset
  • I wanted to have a support system
  • I love downtown Toronto and Chinatown food

Overcoming my parent’s doubts

At this point, I was ready to enroll. However, there was one major pain point, my parents didn’t know what UX design is and thought it was a joke industry; they were completely against my decision to switch careers. I love my parents, they are everything to me, so I had to take into consideration their opinions as well. I knew i had to convince them somehow, so I created a document of explaining the UX industry, career options and showcased some of the products UX designers had created. I presented this document to them and this ended the war between me and my parents.

Actual photograph of the truce between my dad and I

Where i’m at now

Fast forward to present day, I wake up everyday with a sense of purpose and excitement; I actually want to work hard and I love what I’m doing. I’m improving at an alarming rate I never experienced before; I love my life and have great plans for the future.

Although these three months of research, planing and debating with my parents have been challenging, I know that I would have never been this fulfilled if I didn’t take a risk to follow heart.

I learned an important lesson from this experience: Always be courageous in life, believe in yourself and never allow worry and anxiety to keep you from pursuing your goals.

Takeaways

Why did I write this article? It’s not to brag about how amazing UX design is (but it’s actually freaking amazing). I wanted to write this article because I know so many people out there are not living the life they want. So many of us go about our days working in a job that does not fulfill us, does not make us excited and does not offer us much more than a salary. I strongly believe that life is the result of our thoughts and actions. If we are constantly drained or unfulfilled, that will ultimately affect the quality of our lives.

We only have one life to live, why spend it working in a job that doesn’t make you happy? If you are unfulfilled in your job, if you are looking to change careers or if you are looking to make some major improvements in your life, I suggest you begin searching for your life’s purpose. It is a difficult decision to make and a difficult process to go through, but if you go through it, you will find your life’s purpose. How do i know? Because I did (although it took me five years, let’s hope it doesn’t take you five years).

I’d like to leave you off with two quotes that I tell myself whenever I feel beat or unmotivated:

“A mountain is moved by taking away pebbles”- Confucius.
“Follow your passion- not your parents, not your teachers, yours”- Robert Ballard.

Wrap-up

I am graduating from my UX Design program in one week; words can’t begin to describe how excited I am enter the UX workforce. I’m not going to lie, it is a bit stressful not knowing when I will find a job, but experience has taught me as long as I trust in myself and work smart, everything else will take care of itself. My passion for UX will carry me forward to new heights in life; I know this because I wouldn’t be writing this article at 12AM on a Sunday if I didn’t love UX.

Thanks for reading! If you want to talk about UX design, product design, or have an work opportunity, hit me up at xkevinhyx@gmail.com or connect via Linkedin.

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