Debora, our Master Interface Design student, shared her transition path to UX Design with us.
She tells us her main fears when she decided to pivot to UX, and how the pandemic frustrated some of her plans.
In addition, Debora talks about what it was like to be hired to work remotely and how this experience is going!
Debora, tell us a little bit about yourself
Felipe, I want to thank you for the opportunity and I hope my experience can help other people transition to UX Design!
In 2017, I graduated in design, and since then, I have worked in a few agencies and companies, mostly in the communication and marketing area.
I also had an exchange experience when I lived in Dublin for a while, but I didn't get to work in the field there.
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What drew your attention to UX Design?
During college, I took a course called, if I am not mistaken, Design 44.
I liked it a lot and decided to focus my final paper on this subject.
At the time, I was working in an agency in the customer service department, so I found it interesting to discover the processes of Design Thinking and get to know the customer's side of things.
This sparked a strong interest in the area because it focuses on the user's needs and not only on designing and working with visuals.
At this moment, I discovered UX Design and began to read more and more about it and ended up falling in love with it.
How did you get to know more about UX Design?
I finished my final paper in 2017, so I studied for almost a year on the subject.
At that time, I already knew Aela, and I had exchanged some emails with you about living in Dublin. I remember you were living there, and I wanted to know about the job market as I wanted to go back there.
I finished my final paper and decided to get some experience in the area.
But one of the great difficulties and pains I had was realizing that here in my city, there were no job openings in the area, and I would have to move to a bigger city.
I live in the countryside of Rio Grande do Sul, and the market was still not very open to UX Design, and this has made me a little insecure.
Because of this, I started to postpone my idea of diving into this area.
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When did you join the Master Interface Design course?
At the end of 2019! So I've been putting off this decision since 2017. A long time!
But there came a time when I realized that if I really wanted to change, I couldn't do it alone. No matter how much I researched the resources, I realized that studying alone wasn't going to work!
After getting to know more about Aela, I decided to enroll in the Master Interface Design course and finally stop procrastinating and postponing my decision.
Did something special happen for you to make this decision?
I think it was what happened to everyone, really.
There came that point in my career when I wasn't enjoying my work anymore. I was unhappy.
Your time between starting the Master Interface Design and getting the job was very fast, about 8 months.
When I started the course and attended the workshops, I remember you said that the transition could happen in 6 months or it could take a little longer.
When I enrolled in the course, I had already made plans for 2020. I had a trip scheduled for June, so in my mind, everything was set and organized.
I would travel in June, and I would start applying for jobs in July.
But then the pandemic hit.
The good thing is that many remote jobs opened up as well
Yes, and this has actually helped me a lot to ease my fears of not getting a job in my city.
Companies started to open remote jobs, and I realized that I wouldn't need to move to another city to start working with UX Design.
How did you organize your studies?
I started by organizing myself on Trello, but things ended up not flowing well there!
Other than that, I didn't use any other tools.
What I did do was try to dedicate some hours of my week to watching the classes and doing the exercises, and I tried not to miss any of the live classes.
What helped me is that during this period, I was working on a side project that I had with my husband. We have an EFL school.
So I could organize my schedule well and dedicate myself to my studies.
Did you have a process to maintain this study routine?
I tried to dedicate specific days of the week to it.
From Monday to Wednesday, I would take care of other things, then Thursday and Friday, as much as possible, I would dedicate myself to studying UX Design with the Master Interface Design course.
I had to set days and times because if I pushed to study only when I had time left, I would never do it.
How was the process of searching and applying for UX Design jobs?
It was pretty smooth! Actually, I didn't feel much difference because of the pandemic. The only thing that changed was that the interviews were remote and no longer face-to-face.
I started applying for jobs in April, but I was very anxious at that time and wasn't really thinking about which jobs to apply for. It was at the beginning of the pandemic, and my plans for the year had gone astray, so I was a bit lost and wanted to rush things.
So I realized that even though I applied for many jobs, I was not finding companies that matched my profile.
Then, in May, I stopped and started thinking about what I was looking for and where I would best fit in.
From that point on, I started to look for job openings in a more focused way.
Until one day, you, Felipe, shared a job opening in the Slack community in the company where I work today.
What was the process like for this specific position?
The first thing that struck me about the job was that they put a lot of value on soft skills.
The company didn't ask for two or three years of previous UX design experience, which made me hopeful.
There was a round of resume analysis and then a portfolio analysis.
In my portfolio, there were two academic papers, 1 work about UI, and 2 MID projects.
Then I went for an interview.
The problem was that the position was focused on a specific project, and I was not selected.
But they liked my portfolio and profile and kept in touch with me. At this point, they were very honest with me.
They said that for that position, I had not been selected but that they liked me a lot and that they wanted to keep in touch for another possible position that suited me better.
And it did happen! After about two months, they contacted me for this new position, and everything worked out great!
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How is the work at this company going?
I love it because it exceeds all my expectations.
It's one thing to imagine what it's like to work in the field, but it's another thing to put it into practice!
I am very happy with my choice of investing in UX Design.
The company is very focused on people. So the onboarding was all redesigned to be remote. A week before I had to start, they sent me a welcome kit, and I also received my schedule for the first days so that I wouldn't be so anxious.
It is amazing how everything is working remotely.
Does the company have plans to return to an onsite work model?
There are plans to go back to face-to-face, yes.
From what I've noticed, the team enjoys face-to-face interaction and working together physically.
I will continue to work most of the time remotely and go into the office a few times a week (hybrid work model). The company is in Porto Alegre, which is close to my city.
Because of this, I won't need to move.
What would you say to yourself from the past?
Oh, there were many lessons learned.
The first thing I would say is not to postpone something you really want. Don't keep thinking that this change is not for you, that you won't have opportunities, or that you won't succeed.
I realized that I wasted a lot of time thinking about these things. I should have jumped in first and thought about how to solve the problems as they came along.
The second thing I would say is to have more patience and do things more slowly. Although I started with more planning, there was a time when I was very anxious because of the pandemic and the frustration of some plans.
But this anxiety didn't help me at all. I wanted to rush things, and it didn't do any good.
I could have done everything in my own time, more calmly, without rushing.
It's important to talk about patience, but I also know it takes work!
It's not easy!
We think it will be different for us, but it's not!
It's important to remember everything has its own time.
You have to be patient with your studies because there is a lot to learn.
Yes! I got the position while I was at level 2 of the Master Interface Design course, but before that, I had a whole period of studies for my final paper and an experience with UI as well.
This contributed in the sense that I was not starting completely from scratch.
Debora, do you have any final thoughts?
I just want to reinforce that for me, it was very hard to do things alone, and maybe this can also be the reality for a lot of people.
I think the Master Interface Design mentorship was very important for me.
So if anyone realizes that they are not managing to study on their own, I think looking for a course like Master Interface Design is very worthwhile.