How I quit engineering and became a designer
Abhishek Sharma
November 16, 2017

Two things before I begin, a) I completed engineering and b) This is not about quitting but pursuing a calling.

I was a mechanical engineering student before I became a full time designer. I guess it was in my last year that my heart started telling me full time that I wanted to pursue something different and not engineering. I didn’t have anything against mechanical engineering, infact I really loved some of the subjects and found them fascinating but nothing fuelled my curiosity. And well, my exposure was all too mechanical.


Mechanical engineering days spent with gears

We must accept that we’re not always cut out for one thing. Yes we started down one path and yes we spent a long time walking on it but it’s never too late to look around and see if that path really looks like our own path. And so, standing in the mechanical lab, I looked around at the different kinds of engines, it was interesting but not mine. And then I looked at the practical notebook i had to create, well this didn’t even look interesting.


And then I began figuring out what I had to do now that i had decided to take a different path. I evaluated what I could do and realised that I had been gaining some writing and design skills with my little stints of writing short stories or sketching and converting conceptual ideas into graphics ex. logos or posters. It was a fun activity for me back then without realising it could lead up to a profession.


It may not always happen that we know what’s right for us, or what we want to do, or how we can contribute. In this case, we have to start eliminating the possibilities by trying more things. I got lucky and found my path. Take a hint here: try designing. or maybe try building a rocket (watch october sky if you’re looking for some inspiration), see what other people are onto and if you’re inspired by that. Try software development, open a shop, do what you feel like. But do everything to make it work.


I figured my journey out through my time in college, it could have got lucky sooner, before college that is, but then probably I din’t know what i wanted to do back then. And there’s many other factors, like parents influencing the decisions and how exposed and open i was to the possibilities. I went ahead with what looked like the right choice and what made sense. Slowly it got eliminated. And yet, since then, i have explored much more in design and moved to other specialisations like designing software experiences. And hence, figuring out is a constant process and it’s never too late to take action.

What i learnt at college sitting with my classmates and professors, has helped me connect better with the engineers I work with, they don’t see me as some outer-worldly creature obsessed with making softwares look and work better but also someone who understands their logic. I’m sure you will have the same advantage to yourself as well.

Few of the things that are challenging to take up a different path may be, 1. having the courage to let go 2. the start.

I was being trained for an engineering job, and after spending 4 years, it was definitely difficult to let it all go and start with a clean slate. What this implies is that now i needed to spend more time to learn this new skill and be able to contribute. This thought can make the start difficult but I knew I had to start somewhere and be okay with a small start as long as I knew it was right for me. This thought helped me take action and not keep contemplating what was expected of me by people around me or evaluate forever what the right step would be. And from my experience, it helps if you can find the right place to start.


And im sure one can start and learn along the way, which is how I moved ahead in my journey after I reached coloredcow.

Here’s a picture of me, to depict the multi-discipline approach we build in ourselves. We’re a combination of many talents. We are infinite.

Credits to a dear friend Sharan Devkar


If you see yourself in a similar position and have any questions or would like to connect for ideas and help, you can reach out to me at

Also, if you’re inclined towards design and would like to learn, watch out the space at  CodeTrek. I’ll be announcing some design courses soon.