Why I Left My Ad Exec Career to Become a UX Designer | Dakarai Turner

Apr 10, 2020

Why I Left My Ad Exec Career to Become a UX Designer | Dakarai Turner

To start things off, I was very much in love with the role of account services when I was a student in college. It embodied a lot of the qualities I felt I naturally had: communication skills, being organized, detail-oriented, etc. I had a passion for the ad industry and I was going to do whatever I needed to get there. Fast forward to the end of the program, I land a summer internship at the agency I was obsessed with, had an incredible summer and later landed a full-time job at the same agency.

Do they give out awards for this level of achievement?

Anyway, I was doing a good job and immensely enjoyed the people I was surrounded with. So many creative minds that I was ultimately jealous of, but at the time I still thought that there’s no way I could be on the creative side since I wasn’t drawing and creating things from the day I was born. I brought myself closer to design projects because I was fascinated with how they thought and their process. Maybe their skills might just rub off on me?

I think I knew it was time for a change when I realized I didn’t have a skill.

What I mean by that was that I was very much caught in the “jack of all trades, master of none” category and it bothered me. I certainly can’t speak for others in the account services field but for myself, I didn’t find I was particularly “great” at anything. Sure, I had those skills I mentioned before but for me, those weren’t really “full-proof” skills. These were things that came naturally for me and that a robot could eventually perform even better. None of that made me special or feel particularly valued.

I began talking with other designers in my network and uncovered UX (User-Experience Design) as a field I could see myself excelling in. It had the perfect blend of creativity, psychology, and strategy. It was a clear way that I could leverage my business-acumen and communication skills with design skills that I would need to learn. I learned what I could online, joined design communities and lurked the conversations for months, quit my job, enrolled in a UX/UI program at BrainStation and the rest of the story is still developing as I continue learning new things each day.

I don’t regret my work as an account manager at all as it exposed me to such talented and different designers that allowed me to see a new opportunity for myself. I also had tons of experience working on major clients in Canada that taught me a lot about dealing with clients and handling multiple major projects. What’s next for me is continuing to get better as a UX designer and to find my first design gig where a team and myself can make cool stuff together.


Dakarai Turner is a marketer and product designer living in Toronto, Canada. He has spent three years working in account management for some of Canada’s most well known agencies and has recently taken a career pivot into the world of digital design looking for his first opportunity. He can be found on TwitterLinkedInInstagram, or his website.

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