I’ve been asked several times recently: “how and why did I transition to website graphic design from an admin job?” Through this post, I’ll share my experience and hopefully some tips for aspiring web designers.
I completed a bachelor’s degree in HR in three years to become independent as soon as possible. At twenty years old, I didn’t have the slightest clue what I wanted to be but I landed my first job in HR one month before graduation and my career automatically progressed in that direction.
I always assumed I’d stay in the admin field. Throughout my four plus years in this work, I enjoyed working with graphics and colors the most – whether it was creating e-learning courses or brochures. Designing websites wasn’t even a shadow of a thought in my head but I knew I was not content with my options in this career path.
Fast Forward 2019
To explore alternate career options, I left my job in early 2019. At the time, I decided to help out my best friend/husband who was Self-Employed then and is now the Programmer/Developer at Prudent Digital (yes, he wears many hats). I helped with some admin tasks (mostly behind the scene) while exploring the possibility of PMP certification for myself. PM seemed interesting since it offered the project work instead of ongoing tasks.
I monitored my husband’s business email and realized how frustrating it was to him and his clients to hire contractors to get any quality work done – specifically web design. I saw him work with a web designer from the back seat. There were communication/quality issues and it didn’t work out with that hire. It happened again with another designer.
Hiring a new web designer who would pick up the slack on the abandoned project was another challenge in itself – it always came down to communication, if not the quality of the work.
Deciding on the Right Career
While he was trying to find another web designer, I started experimenting with photoshop after watching some tutorials on Lynda.com (I got a free month as a new user). By then, I was no longer interested in PMP (for several reasons – one of the reasons was the cost of the certification and classes).
My first practice design on Photoshop was an exact replica of an existing local coffee shop website. From there, I started practicing on that specific client’s project (the one we were struggling to find a good designer for) and then showed it to my husband. He was pleasantly surprised.
After watching several Youtube videos, learning from other free resources, discovering Figma and an all nighter; I presented my husband a final draft of the first part of the project. He loved it. The client loved it. The rest is history.
I spent the next two months finishing the website design for the client along with a couple of other projects. There was a lot of back and forth and ups and downs but it was all part of the learning curve.
At this point, I knew my passion and what I truly enjoyed doing – designing things for the online world. It was a perfect combination of project based work along with the opportunity to explore colors and graphics. With time, I also became somewhat knowledgeable in everything that goes along with this job – Photoshop, Illustrator, Figma, WordPress, SEO, Google Analytics, Console etc. I cannot credit the Youtube tutorials enough for this.
Fortunately, I had the option to choose between finding a job or working for myself.
I decided to work for myself (technically with my husband (well the developer side of him)) and bring Prudent Digital to life. I focused on building the brand identity for Prudent and the rest is history (for real this time).
Needless to say, I am still learning something new every single day since there is so much that goes on in this side of the world.
But Why Not Get A Job?
While I was in the back seat watching him and the clients struggle with the design project, I saw an opportunity. There are several small businesses who struggle to find quality design work at a reasonable price (also the reason it took so long for Prudent to have a website).
Small businesses and entrepreneurs usually have to compromise between communication, quality or price or all of these. It’s either between the giant digital agencies who charge an arm and a leg or the freelancers who vanish in the middle of the project.
At Prudent Digital, our focus is and will always be to create unique experiences and provide quality work while keeping the price in check. My husband is amazing at what he does behind the scenes on his black coding screen and is full of ideas and possibilities. I, on the other hand, have started loving the front user experience (UX) and user interface (UI). Together, we are creating innovative solutions for businesses out there.