My Journey to Discovering UX Design
This post is all about how I came across UX during my final year of university, and how the journey has led me to enrol onto CareerFoundry's UX Immersion Programme.
The first time I came across UX Design was around the start of 2020 (before the pandemic spun the world into chaos) when I started noticing that a lot of employers were listing UX Design skills as one of their most sought after skills. Now, as a third year university student who was in the process of looking for and applying to a bunch of graduate jobs, I decided to look into UX further because I didn't really know much about it at the time. I did some googling around, watched a few YouTube videos and quickly realised that UX was a rapidly growing career field that more and more people were getting into. It seemed to me that many professionals who were unsatisfied with their current jobs were choosing to transition into a career in the UX industry. In a way, I was able to resonate with these career-changing professionals because I had been very underwhelmed about the career prosprects which my engineering degree had to offer. Yes I was applying to jobs left, right and centre, but very few of them - if any - were getting me excited about joining the world of work.
Then in May, I signed up for the 7-day short course in UX Design offered by CareerFoundry. They call it a course, it's really just a daily email which explains the fundamental topics of UX. Delving into the details was really interesting for me, especially when I started looking at some examples of designers' UX portfolios. I thought to myself, hey I could really see myself doing this kind of work, and what's more than that, I could see myself actually ENJOYING the work. For me, that was a game changer.
So what did I do after coming to this all-important conclusion? Nothing. I did nothing. I finally knew that UX was a career that could very well be suited to me, and I did nothing about it. To be fair I had a good excuse for it at the time. After all, I was in the middle of the exam period for my final year of university. An exam period which had been dramatically impacted by the pandemic. And that first-class degree wasn't going to write itself. I had to put in the work. So that's what I did. I took everything I knew about UX and put it to the side. My primary focus was to complete my university degree on a high.
After the exam period was over, and I had submitted my last ever piece of coursework (a joyous moment), I did what any other student would have done and I relaxed. I took a few weeks off to kick back, put my feet up, and binge watch everything on Netflix. After marinating in my bed for far too long, I had to face the reality that I was now a university graduate without a job. No longer a student, I was now unemployed.
This was the point where I had to make a decision about my future. I had a few options. Dive straight into UX by enrolling onto a bootcamp full-time and hope I'll have a job by the end of it. Or continue applying for entry-level jobs that were relevant to my skills. I chose the latter option with the caveat that I would enrol onto a UX bootcamp part-time once I'd gotten a regular job. So the next few months was spent grinding out job applications for roles that I had the qualifications for (at least to some extent). And yet again, I put aside my interest in UX Design as an afterthought. My sole focus was to get a job first.
This led me into a constant cycle of applying for a job, completing online tests and video interviews, attending virtual assessment centres, and then getting rejected. The words "unfortunately, we have decided not to move forward with your application" became all too familiar. This went on for longer than I had hoped and it began to feel like I wasn't really getting anywhere. However, there was a silver lining during this period. I had spent time developing skills in a few different software, and I was also volunteering my time to create content for a friend's start-up, which required me to learn Figma.
When the new year came around, I decided that I had to make a change since I was still having no luck with jobs. I began to learn the basics of web development and this sent me back into the bubble of UX Design. I did some more research and had a call with a career advisor at CareerFoundry. I told her about my interest in UX and she informed me about a scholarhip which was offering around 15% off the total cost of their Immersive UX Programme. And so I made the decision to invest in their UX course and saw it as an investment in my future.
And that leaves me to where I am now. On the 1st of March, I will be starting on CareerFoundry's UX Programme and, God willing, it will be the start of the next chapter in my life.