Changing Career Paths: Ally’s Journey From Landscape Architecture to Product Design

Ally was already familiar with the world of design, but was keen to swap the outdoor landscape for digital products. Here’s how she broke into the exciting world of tech. If you’re thinking of changing careers and are looking for some inspiration, read on!

by Emily Stevens on 12 April 2023

Ally’s Hangartner’s success story: changing career paths from landscape architecture to UX design

Having studied landscape architecture at university, Ally spent the early years of her career designing outdoor spaces. Working at a small landscape architecture firm in Boston, she loved the design process — but couldn’t help feeling that something was missing. That’s when she started thinking about changing career paths. Not only was Ally seeking a more fast-paced, innovative environment; she also craved design opportunities that were iterative, based on analytics and data.

Ally was keen to move from the outdoor landscape to the digital world, and had her sights set on UX. She knew that this would require a different skillset, but like many adult learners and career changers, she couldn’t afford to just quit her job and study full-time.

Cue the CareerFoundry UX Design Program. With its adaptable schedule and remote setup, Ally found the flexibility she needed to transition her career in her free time.

“During the course, I enjoyed the continuity of the project and how it touches on all aspects of the UX design process. The course gives you a great baseline knowledge to build on. I personally enjoyed wireframing task flows because it forced you to think holistically about the interaction you were creating.”

After graduating the course, Ally focused on networking in the hopes of landing her first UX design job. Determined to break into the exciting world of tech, she also worked hard to develop complementary skills, such as coding in HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

During the CareerFoundry program, Ally produced a job-ready portfolio to help her break into the world of UX design. Here are the mobile wireframes she created for her Taskly app project:

Mobile wireframes in Ally’s UX design portfolio project
Take a look at Ally’s portfolio to see more of her work.

In the end, it wasn’t just her newfound skills that helped her. What really proved vital to finding a job was the confidence the course instilled:

“I was able to talk knowledgeably and confidently about the UX design process and how I would use my skills to help a company succeed.”

Sure enough, Ally was snapped up by HubSpot, a leader in sales and marketing software. Opening up about what it was like to start her first job in tech, Ally explains:

“Honestly, it was a bit nerve racking as it was my first job in a totally different industry. But being able to talk the talk and having exposure across the whole UX spectrum from the course helped me gain confidence quickly.”

A quote from Ally about changing career paths from landscape architecture to UX design

For Ally, moving into digital design turned out to be the right career move. She’s relishing the fast-paced tempo of the tech world and can’t wait to see what the future holds.

“Design in the tech world is a fun and exciting opportunity. I’d be lying to say that landing the first job is easy, but once you’re in and gaining experience, the opportunity ahead is outstanding. After only 2 years in the industry, I just landed an amazing job as a product designer at a marketing startup that I couldn’t be more excited about. 5 years from now, I’d love to be a product design lead, helping young designers at a growing company developing innovative software solutions.”

Ally saw an opportunity to improve her career and grabbed it with both hands. She wasn’t afraid to go back to school, or put the time and effort into forging a new path — and there’s no doubt in her mind that it was absolutely worth it!

Update: Since talking to Ally initially for this article a few years back, she’s gained some amazing experience in the design industry. Since 2021, she’s been working in product design at Klaviyo, a marketing automation software tool, and has recently been promoted to Senior Lead Product Designer. Congrats, Ally! 

If you’re thinking of changing career paths like Ally did, but aren’t sure where to start, book a call with an expert program advisor at CareerFoundry. They’ll help you figure out your options for changing careers.

If you’d like a step-by-step intro to find out if a career in design, development, data, product management, or digital marketing is right for you — sign up here for a free short course in the field of your choice.

Looking for more information about changing career paths? Check out these helpful articles:

You can also take a look at these success stories from other CareerFoundry graduates who made a transition from architecture to UX design:

by Emily Stevens on 12 April 2023

About the author

Emily Stevens

Originally from England, Emily moved to Berlin after studying French and German at university. She has spent the last seven years working in tech startups, immersed in the world of UX and design thinking. In addition to writing for the CareerFoundry blog, Emily has been a regular contributor to several industry-leading design publications, including the InVision blog, UX Planet, and Adobe XD Ideas.