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How I went from a Senior UX/UI Designer working full-time to a part-time UX/UI Educator

How to change careers and/or adjusting your focus
Susana Passinhas

UX/UI Mentor and Coach • UX/UI Design Educator • Senior UX/UI Designer • Digital Fabrication Expert, Freelancer

The seed

For a long time, I felt that I might be a good teacher.

I had some good teachers, mentors, and managers myself but, I always thought about what ways they could do it better, explain things more simply, or motivate me more.

I guess as a UX Designer it is quite natural to keep wanting to improve my own life experiences. Looking back, I guess that is when my research on teaching started — probably on my first day of school when I was 5.

After many years of school, and work, when I started to mature as a professional I understood that it was very easy for me to manage groups and discussions, and to be objective in the way I communicated. I always felt an enormous need to simplify complex concepts and ideas.

I also realized that communicating ideas and explaining complex concepts doesn’t come naturally to everybody and if there is one thing I learned in life is that we should be doing what comes naturally to us and gives us energy (opposite of doing things that suck the energy out of us).

The first leaf

In my life, sometimes opportunities come to me, and sometimes I come to the opportunities myself — and you should do the same!


When I was living in Amsterdam I saw an Instagram ad from a school looking for teachers, and I decided to apply, I got an interview and I started to prepare a course about Sketch, but it was a challenging time in my life, and shortly after I ended up moving out of The Netherlands, so I never taught the course.

Later on, I moved to Barcelona, and during the pandemic in 2020, I was approached by allWomen to teach some classes at their UX/UI Bootcamp. I was then once again presented with the opportunity to teach.

At the same time I was scared — would I be able to do it? Did I have enough knowledge?

Let me tell you something, we are enough as we are and we can do everything we set our mind to — never ever forget these words.

I was nervous in my first classes but I felt really energized! I was working full time as a Senior UX/UI Designer and would finish work and still teach for 3h hours after that. I still teach at allWomen until today and I am even running the full 2023 October edition instead of only a few classes!

Growing branches

As I started to notice that running workshops at work, facilitating group discussions, and teaching were the things that made me feel more accomplished I started to be more invested in that.

I still really love being a UX/UI Designer and even though I am not in a company working on a product, believe me, I am doing UX every day by providing the best possible experience for my students and mentees ;)

So at this point, I was working full-time and teaching about 5 classes every 4 months more or less, and I thought I had the time to take in more.


When I was living in Amsterdam, I did 2 UX courses with the UX Design Institute (in person — old school I know!) and I remember thinking “One day I will be teaching here”, I was really a fan of the idea of running this weekend courses myself.

So I thought why not? I checked if UXDI was looking for teachers. They were not… I sent an email anyway, introduced myself, and asked about the possibility of teaching there. I got a reply and got myself an interview. They weren’t looking for anybody at that specific moment but they would need mentors soon, and that is when my journey with UXDI started! I still run webinars until today and I absolutely love it!

So at at this moment, I was working full time, teaching 5 classes every 4 months and running 1 or 2 webinars every 2 months.

Later on, in the summer of 2022, I quit my job (check the full story here).

In the meanwhile, while taking life a bit slower and enjoying the sun on my skin I saw an opportunity to be a mentor at DesignLab, so I applied for it. I got it. I started by mentoring only 1 student for a few months and saw how I felt about it, slowly I started to take in more students.

While being a mentor and a teacher I started to realize how much I had to share — practical experience and knowledge, and how much impact my mentoring was having on my students and mentees. I was getting constant positive feedback and that made me even more committed to this path.

A few months later I decided to create a profile at MentorCruise and I got my first mentee! I am still growing my mentees in this platform and even created a special session for Portfolio, LinkedIn, and CV review and feedback that has a lot of traction!

I am brewing more sessions and programs, stay tuned!


So, as you can imagine my professional life has taken a different course, one that I care about and want to grow. Nevertheless, it is important to say that I also spend some time managing other parts of the “business” that are important. I keep my portfolio updated and neat, I have at hand examples of work, and prepare templates when needed. I make sure to post relevant content on social media, I give free talks every now and then, I write articles, and I try to keep myself updated on my field.

Growing under my tree

As you can see I have multiple income streams that vary every month and to be honest I think this is the future of working professionals, my agenda is owned by me and İ have full control of my days and how I manage and distribute my energy.

Now, as a designer, you can have more income streams too, for example, I have icons on sale at thenounproject.com and a UI Design online course.

Plant your own seed

Every now and then I have somebody reaching out asking how I did it — How I went from a Senior UX/Uİ Designer working full-time to a UX/UI Educator — so here you have it.

If I can do it so do you.

Follow me on Instagram at uxuiwithsusanapassinhas | Hire me as your mentor | See my work

I always write my articles on Notion first ♥

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