Advertising career transition to tech

New metroid
Oct 10, 2017 7 Comments

👋🏼 I’m a senior art director/designer working in the advertising agency. I would like to make a transition to the tech world in the similar capacity. I worked across traditional (branding, print, TV) and digital (promo, e-commerce, apps) projects in auto, alcohol, CPG, pharma, hospitality industries. While my portfolio is getting great feedback in the ad agency world (design skills and conceptual thinking), it’s not quit strong to compete against portfolios of the UI/product designers with case studies of comprehensive design system for products like Spotify/Dropbox/etc. I’m curious if my agency backroad (working on multiple brands, quick turnaround times, conceptual thinking) gives me an upper hand or is frowned upon in the tech world? Thanks!


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TOP 7 Comments
  • Cisco cysco
    If you are good looking you will have great opportunities.
    Oct 10, 2017 0
  • Amazon / Design MiddleWest
    I spent a number of years making beer commercials and other nonsense (as an art director), and now I’m a designer at AWS! My boss has a similar background—but I was hired into Amazon by a former banker and MS product manager. So it’s possible. But it’s gonna take some work.

    There’s a lot of connection between the two worlds, and having the conceptual creativity necessary for making compelling ads is valuable. But as another person mentioned, it’s not sufficient.

    Starting about four years ago I started working on things somewhat independently. The agency I was with at the time had clients who didn’t need ads, they needed smart experience design, so I just started putting things together and pitching ideas. That led to an awesome opportunity with a consultancy—which is where things took off. I wound up with a deep portfolio and a number of detailed stories.

    So yes it’s possible. But you’re going to have to work your ass off to do it. PM me and we can chat.
    Oct 10, 2017 0
  • MathWorks nvCB48
    Agency design doesn’t transition very well into product design. But you can def use your experience and fake some product design projects. Take one if your previous clients and pretend like you did their ui for an app or software of some sort. Add that to your experience and you will have a head up over others. I can’t tell you how many portfolios are not “real” work
    Oct 10, 2017 0
  • Square dhBjhsj
    You probably have a good foundation to build from, but your ad portfolio wouldn't be relevant in a product design interview (and probably wouldn't get you a call in the first place). The challenges you're solving for are completely different.

    I would suggest taking your design skills and trying to land a few freelance gigs specifically focused on product and UI. Use this experience to build out a few case studies for an all new portfolio. You can even do some personal projects and throw them in.

    Depending on your skill level and ability to socialize design decisions, you should be able to potentially snag a junior design role, probably at a smaller startup.
    Oct 10, 2017 0
  • Amazon Xtih88
    I work at Amazon as an art director for marketing/advertising. There are jobs in tech for people without UI/UX background - don’t despair! On my last team we looked specifically for people with agency background. Try looking for positions within tech that support marketing of said tech company as a way in, if you want to transition into a more product designer/UI/UX role then use mentors within the company to help you get on that path.

    Be clear with recruiters what type of design you are looking for. Most recruiters I’ve worked with have absolutely no idea the differences in skill set for different design roles - it’s possible you are hitting a wall because recruiters are throwing you into roles that aren’t well suited to you.
    Feb 20, 2018 0
  • AppDynamics / Design JVus48
    If you can show understanding of the results around your design/concept and express importance of the customer journey...can be a good angle.
    Oct 20, 2017 0
  • Cisco / Design -•-
    It took me 6 years of lateral and strategic moves to move from marketing to product, and it's been worth it. It's doable, and some skills are transferrable, but it will take deliberate moves to transition.
    Oct 18, 2017 0


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