Erivelton Santos is a Mastering Interface Design (MID) student with an inspiring story about his career journey to transition to UX Design.
Unable to work due to the pandemic, Erivelton made the difficult decision to focus on his studies during this period, believing that UX would be the ideal career for his future.
Thanks to the support of his family and friends, he was able to overcome various difficulties and conquer a job role in UX Design.
Check out this exciting and touching story!
"My friend has two more siblings; one was also enrolled in the MID program, and the other wanted to join the next class. So, he suggested that the four of us form a study group to study while waiting for the new class to open." – Erivelton Santos
Erivelton, thank you for your time! Please tell us a little about your story with UX Design.
Hi Felipe! It's a pleasure to be here. I've been studying UX for a while now, and I think it's great to have the opportunity to share my story to see if people can relate to the field.
I started out in UX in 2018. A friend of mine, who is also a student at Aela, showed me some things about the field and planted a seed in my head.
At first, I found it quite interesting, but I didn't give it much importance and continued with the work I was doing at the time.
My background is in civil engineering and construction, but I couldn't continue in the field and began trying other things. I worked with custom furniture and even with business administration, while my friend kept sending me articles and materials about UX to read.
In 2019, my life took a turn. In February, I left the job where I was working, and in May, I got married. But finding a job was difficult, so I started driving for Uber to make ends meet. It was a tough time.
At this point, I had a serious conversation with my friend. He was already working with UX and told me about what it was like to work in the field.
That's when I decided to face this change and try to transition to UX.
"But that's okay because the goal was to study so that when the MID registrations opened, we could already enter with a better understanding of the field and some theory."- Erivelton Santos
The group study
My friend has two more siblings; one was also enrolled in the MID program, and the other wanted to join the next class. So, he suggested that the four of us form a study group to study while waiting for the new class to open.
Then, I tried to balance my studies with my routine as a Uber driver. I worked 12 hours a day, and when I got home, I was tired; it was difficult. I remember reading the articles he sent me during my lunch break and at the end of the day.
But that's okay because the goal was to study so that when the MID registrations opened, we could already enter with a better understanding of the field and some theory.
We were in this study group from January to June 2020, when the registrations for a new class opened.
The problem during this time was the pandemic. I decided that I could no longer risk my health working for Uber because I have elderly parents, my grandmother, and other relatives of my wife who were also vulnerable. I decided to protect myself and everyone around me.
So when the MID registrations opened, I was not working. How would I pay for the program?
I sat down with my wife and talked about the UX career and that I could follow this path but would have to dedicate myself a lot. I put all the cards on the table.
She hugged me and said we were in this together and that she would help me. We had a savings safety net, and we managed to hold on.
But it wasn't just my wife who supported me. My parents, my mother-in-law, the whole family! And, of course, this group of friends who I consider my brothers!
With all this support, I decided to enroll in the MID program and begin my journey to transition to UX Design!
Your story is very moving and inspiring. What made you interested in UX Design?
In all of my previous jobs, what really made me happy was being able to improve something or solve a problem.
And I found that same sense of fulfillment in UX Design.
When I reflected on my career, I realized that problem-solving wasn't necessarily my focus in previous jobs. However, in UX, problem-solving is at the core of the field.
This realization created a strong sense of identification within me. I thought, "There's no way I don't want to work with this. It's what I want, and it's what I'm going to do."
I even asked my friend André Borges to explain the field to me again. When he delved into it, I was sure that this was what I wanted to do.
What was your study routine like?
Since I wasn't working due to the pandemic, I fully dedicated myself to the MID program.
I would start studying around 7:30 am and go on until 8:00 pm. My rest time was only after that and on weekends to clear my mind.
I focused as much as possible because I needed to make it work. There were people who depended on me, and I had to go after it.
When I started the course, I set more ambitious goals. At the time, the MID had undergone an update, and my friends who were already taking it said that the initial project given in level 1 was already more advanced.
I tried to push more and deliver the best I could. My friends, along with the entire MID network, mentors, and teachers, helped me a lot.
I remember we talked about this, and you (Felipe) mentioned that I was being a bit audacious. But I believe that if I didn't have this attitude, I wouldn't have had this clear direction along the way.
So, I sought this extra agressiveness in the process to achieve better results in the future.
Reading Tip: 5 Reasons to Look for a UX Design Mentor
With this demanding routine, besides the pandemic and other pressures…did you ever feel discouraged?
Man, I did feel it, and it wasn't just a few moments. And it's important to highlight this because sometimes people may think it's easy, that I began studying and never got discouraged.
No. There were truly difficult moments, really. Where I thought I wouldn't make it.
You start looking at your bank account, seeing the numbers go down, and you need to pay the bills. There comes a time when you think about giving up or doing something else.
And because of the pandemic, I couldn't do what I liked to clear my head. Everything was closed. I always liked to spend the weekend with my family, have a barbecue, be with friends, and play soccer. That helped me release tension.
But I couldn't even do that because of the pandemic.
At times, I started to spiral out of control. And when that happened, I sat down with my wife, and we talked a lot. She supported me all the way, as did my family and friends.
Having this support network helped me alleviate anxiety and keep going.
Having support at home makes all the difference, especially in such a difficult time.
Yes. My family is Christian; we are practicing Catholics, which also helped me a lot. Having faith in what I was proposing for my life was important for achieving my goal.
When it comes to studying UX Design, we know there's so much information online. Did you find this content overload to be overwhelming or troublesome?
I won't say it didn't bother me because I believe it bothers everyone.
When you google UX Design, a lot of information comes up, and you must know how to filter it. But what gave me the right direction on what to study was the MID.
With the step-by-step of each project, I had specific topics to study.
For example, for the next topic of level zero, I will need to run quantitative and qualitative research. From that, I studied exactly what I needed.
Additionally, I always had guidance from mentors and my study group. All of this put me on the right path so that I didn't feel lost or have an information overload.
I focused on following my study schedule. If a new topic appeared in the middle of the day, I would only look into it the next day. That way, I didn't have that boom of information in my head.
If something really important came up, I would include it in my next day's schedule so that I could study and dedicate myself to that topic.
All of this helped me to move forward in a very assertive way.
You managed to follow the MID and UX studies with no exaggeration.
Yes, indeed! There is so much online about UX Design. There are even mentors from the MID with YouTube channels, such as Daniel Furtado; I also followed Rodrigo Lemes quite a bit.
The Mastering Interface Design program is a great way to improve your studies. Following the course will lead you down a path of educational success.
How did you decide it was time to look for UX Design jobs, and what was that process like?
In the MID, you (Felipe) suggest at what program level it is interesting to build a portfolio to look for jobs.
But I decided to build my portfolio earlier since I needed a job as soon as possible.
So, in January 2021, I started preparing. I put together my UX portfolio, adjusted my resume, updated my LinkedIn, and made a schedule to organize my time.
Another conversion we had was also extremely helpful; you told me that it could take around 3 to 4 months to hear back from applications. So, I considered that in my schedule.
When I started applying for jobs, I felt that the UX market was booming. There were many job openings, but when I read the descriptions, I thought, "I have no experience, I have nothing!"
The openings were for mid-level and senior positions; there were no junior positions.
Another obstacle I found was hearing companies asking for real cases to present. I only had case studies, which were the projects developed in the MID program.
Despite everything, what really gave me the confidence to move forward in the process was the effort I put into completing all the projects in the MID program. The knowledge and skills I gained from the course were essential in helping me succeed in interviews.
In addition, I always tried to connect my previous experiences with my transition to UX.
What was the process like for lading your first UX role? Was it difficult?
I didn't go on many interviews. It was about 2 per month. So within a period of 3 months, I must have done about 6 interviews in total.
But for this specific job, I wasn't very hopeful. I saw the opportunity in a post on LinkedIn, with the job description and asking interested candidates to send an email.
At first, I wasn't too excited because it was an independent contractor position, and I was looking to be hired as an employee, but I ended up liking the job description and decided to apply.
The next day, someone from HR called me to schedule an interview with me the following morning.
We talked, and it was a very technical interview. Despite the fact that the guy was from HR, he asked me about several topics, asked me to present a case study, and talked about the issue of lack of experience. But I was firm and presented the MID study case.
He liked it and wanted to schedule another interview with the department head. I talked to the boss for about 3 days, and it was the same dynamic. A technical conversation. And he really liked me.
Then he proposed a case for me to work on based on a real product they were developing. He said it could be something very simple.
The MID standard
But I couldn't deliver something "simple", I was used to following the MID project standards. Which are high. They really prepare you for the job market.
So I made a structure like an MID project – more complete than simple.
The result was that he really liked my work. He said he was only expecting the presentation of some screens, but I went beyond by showing the entire process.
That's why I say that the MID gave me the foundation and structure to transition to UX Design.
After this feedback, the boss scheduled one last interview with the person who would work with me to see if he liked me. The conversation went really well, and the person also liked me.
Despite this, other people were still in the process, so I had to wait for a definitive answer. In the end, I received a call from HR telling me I had passed the process and asking if I would like to work with them.
I confess that I was still unsure because it wasn’t a position to be an employee. And without me saying anything, they told me they had changed the position and would now hire the person as an employee!
I had no doubts! I liked the company and decided it would be where I would start my career in UX!
After all this, what would you tell Erivelton from the past about the process of switching to UX?
I would tell him to start studying earlier, back in 2018.
Another thing I would say is to focus on studying and dedication because things will happen. Oh, and also to have patience!
Patience is the key word. If you don't have patience, the process won't move forward. Patience brings the tranquility needed to achieve goals more smoothly.
Finally, I would say not to be afraid to involve your family in the process and to be open about everything. To not hide anything so that everyone knows your plans because they will support you in everything you do.