UX Designer Career Change

Has anyone gone back to school from fashion designer to become a UX designer?
I am over 50 and the fashion design jobs have dried up for me. I still have to work and was earning $135-160k for the last 10 years of my career until it all stopped in 2018.
I liked the money but wonder if two years back to college in my mid 50s to start all over becoming a UX designer working remotely will extend my high earning potential inspite of being late 50s around 20 something experts. At least it would be remotely working so no one would see me and could judge me by the quality of my work (sad statement, but diversity stops short of age in just about every marketing campaign out there in case you haven’t noticed).
What is the best school in LA for UX design and is an associate two year degree sufficient? Is Otis good for this?
Are you remote straight out of school at the best companies? Can you live anywhere while working for a large company as a UX designer or are you required to be in office or nearby at times, or are company meetings all by Zoom?
What is the starting salary out of school and what about 5 years later?
Is there age discrimination since everyone is so young and I would be in my 50s?


I am glad you are thinking about this

Fashion needs a redo with the low salaries

My friend just left a large apparel footwear brand and world for JetBlue as a ux designer she did an online program with e Cornell self paced There are tons of online programs s now. Not sure about the bootcamps but we’ll worth looking into it. It’s all good investment on yourself I think corasera has a ux program would be ideal to try it and evaluate how you liked it and then Go the certificate way

Her job is an entry level making 120 since she has to start all over her background is in industrial design and was in the marketing and branding side of fashion so she was able to have those transferable skills


Amazing. Would I be able to talk to her directly? I have questions about the program she studied and her job search pivoting from one industry to another.

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Hey there! I made this change and I’d be happy to talk to you about it. Is there a way to direct message me here?


Yes, it’s doable. I completed a web design certificate last year and was able to get ui/ux web design freelance work. Age discrimination is an issue, but more so with a staff position. There is a lot of freelance work available and that’s much easier to get and all remote. It’s a tough transition, certificate programs are limited but it’s doable. Check out General Assembly, they have a placement service and that’s helpful. Look on Reddit for comments on the programs. Some are not good, a waste of money. There are some good certificate programs offered through community colleges and that will give you the benefit of colleagues and resources of a college campus. Free software, etc. Take a coursera course first, there is a good Google UX program on coursera, before you pay for a certificate program. They’re pricey and coursera is not, so you can get an idea of what direction you like before spending a lot of money. Ed2go is free through your library, also. Start following UX collective and other sites on LinkedIn, start researching UX asap to become familiar with it before making the decision. LinkedIn has classes also that will give you an idea of what it’s about. There are a lot of opportunities in digital marketing; hubspot especially. That’s another avenue.


I did the General Assembly UX course in 2018, it was pretty helpful! I still had trouble getting a job through- I did some free (volunteer) work but never could find my first opportunity. Then I decided that the area was getting oversaturated and decided to use what I learned and apply it to patternmaking & tech design to push my career forward.

I do think it’s helped, but now everyone wants you to BE at work (and also no increase in pay etc), and honestly, I’m DONE with in person work. Not for me anymore.

I’m curious about your experience so far with the transition to UX. Are you still doing any fashion stuff? Are you worried about UX becoming oversaturated? How did you get your “in” at your first job?


Hi Vetdesigner,

Your post struck a chord with me. I think you’re on the right track but don’t be so quick to let go of your design expertise and skills which will only evolve with new technology.

I’ve changed careers a few times, and understand what you’re going through. I prematurely left an apparel design career and switched to marketing and graphic design, because I was starting to feel the pressure of ageism at 40! (big mistake) The change in career took me in a another direction and while it was rewarding at times, It did not feel satisfying or that I was doing my best work, which is what I felt like when I was a designer. During the pandemic in 2020 I was about to turn 50 and decided that life is too short to not be using my strengths in creative work, so I enrolled in the Interior Design program at a local college, and although it was a lot of work, it was also really inspiring and creative, with similarities to fashion design. It’s an industry that is broad and inclusive of tradespeople, technical people, artists, antique dealers, etc…! - I’m finding it to be a very collaborative field with less ageism (unfortunately I can’t think of an industry that doesn’t have ageism or jerks, such is life.)
I wanted to share this story because like you, my first instinct was to find a job where age could be hidden, I don’t know much about UX design but if you can leverage it with your fashion design experience I have no doubt you’ll be valued and in-demand.


My partner is a visual designer (has done some web/email work for apparel but that’s not his focus) and he went to General Assembly 3-4 years ago to do the UX boot camp. It was a mess, they did NOT help place him in a role, and he spent years either unemployed or underemployed. Same as he was w/out the $$ certificate. Late 30s - early 40s and ageism was a concern for him, too.

Not all negative though! When it rains it pours, eventually he received multiple simultaneous offers and is now in a lovely remote long-term UX contract that will leverage him into other projects. It just took a WHILE. The category really is saturated, too - every job he looked at on LinkedIn had hundreds of applicants, hours after posting (not exaggerating). You really have to leverage what makes you different from everyone else. His was being a jack of all trades due to his years of design experience, which a lot of the younger folks applying don’t have.


I focused on web design. I am always learning through videos and online media. I was able to get freelance work designing websites, tried to stay with simpler projects and updated my portfolio with each new project.
I did 2 freebies for friends that really helped me learn and build a portfolio. The certificate program plus coursera was important.
I leveraged my existing skills in digital design and product/surface design. It’s not easy; a few freelance projects had a steep learning curve but I have gotten more knowledgeable and continue to learn online. I toggle between product/textile design and web design. When I have the opportunity to work for a good manufacturer I welcome it. It’s an area I know well and find very enjoyable. But I still take web projects when they are in my skill set.
UX is different from UI/web design and I prefer web design because I can use my existing design skills also. It’s a broad area so it’s important to focus on specific areas of expertise.


yes let me send you a PM

Very helpful, thank you. I FINALLY got hired by a fashion company last month with an offer letter and before I even STARTED THEY RESCINDED their offer letter. Just awful. So I am really ready to look towards more stable industries rather than spiral into poverty any longer at my age. I was a design director for so many well known international brands and in LA those opportunities are rare and so transient, everyone changes jobs every year or two. You cannot build wealth or financial stability living on savings in between job searches every other year.