As someone that changed career path in her late twenties to work as a user experience designer I must say that the journey to be successful professionally depends on a combination of talent and persistence.
Become a Product Designer
Since 2014, I have been slowly switching careers, I started doing a short course in localisation and localising graphic files and then in the same year I started a one year course in Interactive Media. It wasn't exactly what I expected but it helped me to see clearly that I wanted UX instead of UI then I made a bold move and decided to go for another bachelor degree, I enrolled in a degree in Technology of Innovation and Design. During the course, I was totally immersed in UX strategy and front end. I built a stronger portfolio and had the opportunity to work as a design lead for an e-commerce website.
In late 2016 I had the opportunity to join a mentorship program called Mentorship Everywhere by Automattic, and this changed my career perspective. Having a senior UX designer as a mentor opened my eyes to learn more about product design because it's an adaptive role, it englobes UX and UI, coding, interaction design and a good bit of project management, something that I have been actively practising.
Here is a list of articles, books, podcasts, events and courses that had a great impact on my professional skills:
Book Apart is the place to go when you want to find interesting and practical readings about web design, you can buy either the ebooks or paperback, I particularly recommend three books to start: Design for Real Life, Design for Emotion and Just Enough Research.
Design Thinking with SAP has a great book recommendation section, I personally recommend The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman, 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People by Susan M. Weinschenk.
Design Thinking SAP Bookshelf
Digital Insights by Paul Boag who is a user experience strategist based in the UK. This is by far my favourite podcast about everything related to design.
Design Details is a great resource if you want to hear about leader designers from companies like Airbnb, director of design of Treehouse and so on.
Tim Ferris podcast is one of my biggest sources of inspiration, I love to listen to this on my morning commute to get inspired for the day. Tim is great at interviewing and his list of guests is very diverse and diversity is one the secrets of creativity.
I live in Ireland so for me it's important to attend meetups about user experience and events like the UXDX Conference in Dublin.
For those not based in Ireland, there is a website that gathers all the international events about UX, it's called Find UX Events.
The best trio.
Ux Fundamentals by Gymnasium
Coding for Designers by Gymnasium
Product Design by Udacity
Designers Hangout , this channel is probably the most popular community of user experience designers on slack. They have more than 5,000 members and a vetting process, you can expect quality discussions and resources shared.
Design Talks, this is another channel that is very active and the possibly to exchange experience and resources among Uxers are a great way to enhance your skills and expand your network.