Transitioning from ID to UX / IxD

Hey guys, wasn’t sure if I should put this here or the careers section.
Anyways, I’ve sort of hit an interesting time in my ID career and thinking of making a change. I was laid off last fall from a startup that went under, I was the sole Industrial Designer as well as direct point person for our factories in China including trips over there. I am freelancing now full time, strictly ID work however when I am able to I am actively looking for full time ID jobs.

In my search though I have noticed that UX / IxD jobs far outnumber the ID jobs at least here in Atlanta, and it definitely feels like digital is where things are heading. I’m curious from others that have made the switch during their professional career, did you seek any additional outside training like General Assembly, if not how did you make the transition. I know in general the design skillsets are transferable, but software is my main concern as well as my portfolio which is all physical product.

I pivoted, but was able to do so within a team that had both ID and UX as functions. My early background was in web design & development so I was rusty, but not completely new in that case.

You could consider a program like GA, although as a hiring manager I see a lot of GA portfolios that don’t come off very strong, they often come off as someone “Gave you the recipe” for a good portfolio, but it doesn’t mean you have the pallet to be a good chef.

I would consider trying your hand at it without any specific training, theres a lot of different skill areas where you can explore if you have a favor for one area or another. IE Information architecture, interaction design, prototyping, visual design, etc. There are very few unicorns out there who are great at everything, and figuring out where your strongest skills and preferences lie is a big part of it.

The good news is the tools are all very cheap and easy to get into, and almost all of them are cloud based so if you decide you don’t like it after a trial you aren’t out any money.

I am considering the same thing and already have to do some digital work. I was familiarized with programming languages that serve industrial design prototyping such as Python+VRML, Max/MSP and Processing+Arduino but there is just a lot of demand for mostly digitally mediated experiences nowadays. So, start developing an app! App design is the first area I would look into since with basic principles of usability/interaction design and user testing methods you can become good at it quickly, especially with development platforms being more and more accessible. Apps also have great opportunities to be combined with physical devices so you can bridge the two fields.

Thanks guys, in an ideal world I would like to have found a career which would allow me to work on both ID and UX projects, but have not seen too much on that.
Just looking at the job requirements for some of these UX jobs is a bit daunting. I find some require HTML / CSS coding, some want you to talk about your experience in scrum, agile and lean environments and some want a full portfolio of mobile applications. Coming from a strict / traditional ID work environment, this is quite the change

There are plenty of areas for crossover UX between hardware and software, especially if you were designing any type of electronics. A car radio that has a combinations of screen + buttons is an obvious example. You could always work on some free time projects like that which incorporate a bit of both.

Requirements for UX jobs tend to be like entry level ID jobs which insist you must be a master of manufacturing, CAD, rendering, sketching, rapid prototyping, hand modeling, human factors, design research, yadda yadda.

HTML/CSS coding is honestly incredibly basic, and is something you could teach yourself - I learned HTML when I was ~12 and these days there are so many frameworks understanding the basic structure and relationship isn’t hard. You can make yourself a new portfolio page for fun.

The understanding of code is useful the same way the understanding of injection molding is useful for ID. You need to have some semblance of what the practical constraints are to properly design a good solution - especially in todays world of websites which are responsive for mobile/tablet/desktop.

Agile/Lean/Scrum are all just more process words that people will throw on anything. Really all that means is “have you worked with an engineering team”. For an entry/junior position that wouldn’t be expected.

The basic skills of wireframing, prototyping, and some basic understanding of visual design are whats most important.