From Software Engineer to Designer

March 17, 2020 2 min read

You can’t possibly mean what I think you mean, right? That’s a monstrosity! An engineer doing design is like a plumber making Michelin-star meals“, you might think when glazing over the headline alone. And yes, it indeed does sound like a familiar stereotype.

You see, being an engineer has been everything I have ever known. I started getting into coding when I was 14 and then when I was 17 I got my first ever job coding. Fast forward to now, I’m 27 and … well, still coding. I have nothing against it, it’s an ever-evolving never-boring field of cool problems to solve, but it doesn’t give me butterflies in my stomach anymore, and while I’ve had a damn interesting 10 years as an engineer, 10 years of any field is, at least for me, just about as much I can endure. Or so I think now at least.

Design, however, has been a thing I’ve liked for ages now. I’ve designed all of the endless versions of my personal sites myself, as well as all of my endless pet projects myself. I’ve also learned a little about design years ago from a guy I use to know who’s an excellent designer so that I could build better front-ends as a developer. Maybe design is something I can endure for another 10 years. Maybe even more? Only one way to find out.

I like to think I have an eye for details, to the point of it bothering me, and so it’s not a surprise that when I was thinking of changing careers, I thought more and more about design as what to change to. I’m by no means good at it, but that’s just a matter of gaining experience. I’m a big believer in that if you stick with something long enough, and that something also interests you, you naturally become good at it whether you are talented or not.

It’s also conveniently not too far out of my comfort zone while at the same time being just far enough out of my comfort zone that I have years of hard work to do yet to become good at it. This is good in that there’s a lot to achieve and I like achieving things.

As you can see from this portfolio website, I’ve already started my design career with 2 design jobs up for show as of writing this. I’ve been lucky enough to get a few contract gigs already in the first month of a new career, which is awesome. I’m still doing software development for most of my days until January 1st of 2021 because that’s when my contract ends with my as-of-now only software client, which gives me plenty time to build out a design portfolio and make some friends in this new and exciting industry I’m becoming a part of. Exciting times ahead!

12th April update: Upon further reflection on the matter I think I will keep with my current software client for at least a couple more years. This gives me enough time to get very decent education in design as well as build up a clientel. Maybe I can even convince them to hire me as a designer.