My Biggest Career Change to Date

I’ve accepted a position as a Sales Specialist on Degreed’s Global Business Solutions team, a sales support role. For those who don’t know, I’m currently working at Degreed as a Product Designer, so this is an internal move. This will mark the end of a lengthy era of doing “creative” work that has spanned almost 15 years. I couldn’t be more excited for this change!

I’ve been a product designer roughly 9 years. I started doing product design in college to pay the bills, worked for the LDS Church for 3 1/2 years, and now at Degreed for almost 4 years. Prior to that I did video production, motion graphic design, and other creative jobs.

Transitioning from product design to sales isn’t a very orthodox career move. As I looked at what I wanted from my career, I realized I didn’t want to do product design forever. The work was becoming repetitive, I felt like I was coasting, I missed feeling the satisfaction of learning new skills and trying new things. I still care deeply about making great products, but I just haven’t experienced the same joy in the process as I once felt. The product design field doesn’t have many options for mobility or variety. Most companies want product design generalists, which means product design work is about the same wherever you go. Design is also unique in that there aren’t many opportunities for vertical movement either.

I realized my next career move would ideally be outside of product design. As I looked at the skills I had and what I enjoyed, I started becoming interested in sales opportunities. I enjoy working with clients, explaining our product, and thinking about ways to clarify our messaging. Successful product design requires the designer to be good at explaining particular solutions, and convincing others why to take a particular path. Those skills translate well into the sales world.

18 months ago I participated in a company sales demo competition, which I ended up winning. I loved preparing for the demo and presenting it. Winning validated that I had potential to be successful in a sales role.

Degreed recently closed a round of financing which opened up more internal opportunities. This position was among the roles that interested me, and I pursued it. I love working for Degreed and wanted to stay with the company. I also felt that a drastic transition like this would be easier with an internal change, and would allow me to leverage my deep institutional and product knowledge to hit the ground running.

This type of career move is one that Degreed hopes to facilitate for individuals and companies. We believe that your education is more than just your college degree. What matters most is the skills you have acquired, not how you acquired them. Degreed enables invididuals to develop, certify, and demonstrate ability in skills.

I’m so excited for this change! I’m looking forward to being a rookie again. If anyone has wisdom or advice for me, please reach out. I’d love to hear it!