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Seeking Advice on Pursuing a Career in UX/UI Design with Only a Bootcamp Certificate in the USA

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Entry-Level Software Engineer at Taro Community2 months ago

I am inquiring on behalf of my wife. She currently holds an H4 visa and is expected to receive her Employment Authorization Document (EAD) around October 2024. She has a Master's degree in International Public Policy and Management, which is unrelated to UX/UI design. Recently, she completed the "Google UX Design Professional Certificate" bootcamp.

She recognizes two main challenges:

  1. Her degree is not related to UX/UI design.

  2. She has a three-year gap since her graduation in 2020. The reason for this gap is my H1B status, which has not yet led to an i-140, preventing her from obtaining a sponsor for a visa in her field. Initially, she did not plan to seek employment in the US, as she was focused on pursuing public sector jobs in our home country, Thailand. However, after meeting me during her Master's program and my subsequent employment in the US, she decided to stay here with me.

I would greatly appreciate advice on how she can break into the tech industry, possibly at a FAANG company, as a UX designer. If possible, please provide a plan or roadmap for her career transition. Your guidance would be immensely helpful.



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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    2 months ago

    Just to set expectations: This will be a very hard transition, and getting into a company like FAANG right off the bat is effectively impossible. A bootcamp certificate is also worth far less than a relevant university degree, especially in this economy.

    The good news is that it's definitely possible (I've seen and helped people do it), but it will be a tough road ahead. Here's my advice:

    1. Get internships and apprenticeships - These are a stepping stone towards a proper full-time role and are probably better anyways as the expectations will be more reasonable (i.e. less risk of PIP). She should spend most of her time and energy applying to these. There are a lot of great programs out there for folks making career transitions and underrepresented groups in tech (like women).
      1. If this path isn't yielding gains, she can try getting freelance work through platforms like Upwork and offering her services to non-profits. The goal is just to get real-world experience and actually ship designs through actual products going out into the market.
    2. Build side projects - On top of applying, this is what she should be doing mainly until she gets some interviews coming in. It is very easy to show your skills as a UI/UX designer as it's very visual. Once she gets projects published and they get momentum, she can showcase them on Dribbble (a super awesome portfolio website for designers). The main counterpart she'll need is an engineer to bring her designs to life, ideally a front-end one. Maybe you can work on something with her? Another option is that she picks up some basic coding skills, but that seems overwhelming. Here's our playlist for side projects: [Taro Top 10] Building Impressive Side Projects
    3. Network, network, network - If possible, her side project partner should be in-person. Go to conferences and local tech meetups as well. Here's some good resources for that:
      1. "How to network effectively in a tech event?"
      2. [Masterclass] How To Build Deep Relationships Quickly In Tech
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    Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    a month ago

    One strategy worth considering is to join any FAANG company as a contractor. A few of my friends have done this and eventually converted to full-time.

    So she'd either get hired directly as a contractor, or with a company like Accenture. These roles are easier to get than FTE roles, but they pay less and are less stable.

    Once she is a contractor, she can have a much easier time networking with full-time employees, and after a year or two, she can get a referral, which will be instrumental in landing a job.