The story up until today
Hello, my name is Phoebe. I’m currently a 20-something young professional who can’t help but feel like my current 9-5 is stifling my creativity. How did we get here? Let’s start from the beginning.
The early years
I’d always had a fascination with computers, specifically the wide world of the internet. When I was 8 years old and signed up for my first Neopets account, I wanted to learn how to design and code the same type of beautiful guild layouts that I saw everywhere.
From there, it was almost a frenzy to learn everything that I possibly could. I read through “tutorials” from other self-taught teenage web designers, some of them just a few years older than me but were putting out designs that I greatly admired and tried to mimic. I studied the code of designs that I wanted to create to see how they were pieced together.
From guild layouts to personal websites, I really wanted to create something great that inspired others to create the same way my idols had inspired me. By the time I was 12, I was able to code entire websites from the blank canvas of Notepad. I even tried to create my own WordPress themes, but PHP proved to be a far greater challenge than HTML and CSS alone.
I don’t have any screenshots from my hacked together layouts from back then, but it did teach me valuable skills of basic front-end coding and design.
I’ll be the first to admit it: I was not a very good student. Even though I taught myself HTML, CSS, and three pillars of the Adobe Creative Suite, you couldn’t pay me to pretend to be interested in an in-depth analysis of Shakespeare’s King Lear.
Growing up in an Asian-American household, I still tried to the best of my abilities to succeed in every subject. More often than not, I found myself shying away from studying for an AP World History exam because I’d decided to design and code a new Tumblr layout.
But growing up in Asian-American household also meant that my family valued science over art. Back then, I didn’t know what UI/UX meant. I didn’t know that had I developed my skills further, I might be happier. I didn’t know that it would prove to be a lucrative career path until it was too late.
To my family, not choosing to pursue a career in medicine meant that the likelihood for failure was that much greater.
I’ve personally always had issues seeing and envisioning my future. Everyone says they don’t know what they’re doing, but forget a five-year plan when I can’t even tell you what I want to be doing a year from now.
When I finally got to college, I decided to concentrate on Corporate Communications and Integrated Advertising. Looking back now, I should’ve instead chosen to focus on Interactive Design. I chose CorporateComm as my concentration because I thought it would be more marketable and would be easiest to find a job.
Leading up to today
Despite all of the worrying of my family and myself, I secured a job offer in my desired field before graduation. I even managed to graduate early.
My first job was truly a wonderful opportunity for me to grow and learn, but living in the DC area isn’t cheap. That was truly the only hangup that I had with the job.
My first company was a technology startup, and while the pay was fair, it didn’t come with the security that a larger company could provide for me. When my next opportunity knocked on my door offering a 30% increase in salary for what seemingly seemed like less work, I was probably more than too eager to accept it.
…and that’s where I am today. I’m currently working in the client services division in a research and advisory company. Since working here, I’ve developed my soft skills exponentially, but I’d like to practice my technical skills a bit more.
Where do I go from here?
The fact of the matter is that I’m still young, but I also need to develop a path to get to where I want to be. Potentially, I would like to pursue a career in UI/UX.
Both fortunately and unfortunately for me, there isn’t a defined path that I must follow to start a career in UI/UX.
I’m going to start small. I’ve signed up for an account on Instruction Design, so I can start learning. I’ll write about my progress, my struggles, and everything that goes into making a career change on here.
Who knows? I also wanted to be a novelist when I was a teenager, so here’s an opportunity for me to practice writing again.
Thank you for reading, and I hope that you’ll come along on this journey with me!