How I became a UX/UI designer in 6 months (with no previous experience in design)
My experience before
In 2017 I graduated from a Business School after a master in Marketing. My first job experience was as an e-commerce manager for a small French shoe brand. Then I decided to pursue as an e-learning and mobile learning project manager for luxury brands.
I liked creating solutions, apps or websites, however after giving these to the brands I was not able to track how the users were interacting with it, if they were using it at all and what improvement could be made.
Only being able to manage designers and developpers wasn’t enough, and I wanted to go further and create while directly being closer to the user.
I became more and more interested in UX design. The methodology helped me ask the good questions and create better experiences with the user in mind. I started learning about it while doing my job which I ultimately quit to become part of this world which was the perfect combination of Design and Creativity.
It was a pretty big gamble for me, but when I decided to start this new life I was in a slump. I wasn’t really happy with my career choices and I was feeling like all I did wasn’t really my choice. When I started learning, I was in control and ready to change my life.
The start of my journey
I started learning online, following courses on websites such as Coursera, Skillshare, OpenClassrooms (French), by watching videos on YouTube, by reading books, articles on Medium, listening to Podcasts and following UX/UI designers and product people on LinkedIn (Yes, it’s a lot but when I am interested about something I always go to extreme lengths).
While reading, watching and listening about it, I had to put it to the test, thus I started prototyping some stuff. My first project was a website redesign for the shoe brand I worked for. I used Adobe XD since it was free and easy to use, I kept at it for a while. Then I did the Daily UI Challenge and posted what I did on my Instagram page.
Finally I had to meet real people, ask about their lives, get some tips so I attended several talks in Paris.
I ultimately did a Hackathon for UX/UI project with wellness as the main theme. I teamed up with a UI designer and created my first project as a UX designer: Santeo, a health record app allowing you to regroup all your information about health and to easily share them with doctors. This project was a success and an accomplishment for me, I really felt like I found my way.
The extra push, Ironhack
Learning by myself wasn’t enough to get a job and I ended up doing Ironhack’s UX/UI design bootcamp to practice and learn how a designer thinks. Basically everything I couldn’t learn alone.
Ironhack was intense, hard, professional and all about “making” rather than only “learning”. The bootcamp was divided in two parts, the first was about UX and the second about UI.
During those 2.5 months, we had to do 3 projects, 2 personal projects and 1 project that a real company gave us. For each project we started with the UX part, doing interviews, analyzing datas, brainstorming and coming up with solutions, and then the UI part.
Maison Plisson App Design — A UI Case
Following the UX case for Maison Plisson which you can find here, I continued with the UI design of the project.
Grow — The Meditation App (A UI Design Case)
Grow is a meditation app project for the person whom wish to practice meditation on a daily basis but cannot create a…
Back Market — When reselling your dusty old phones is as simple as sending an email (A UX/UI case)
How I redesigned a service with both online and offline actions to make it simpler, more transparent and friendlier.
I liked Ironhack’s intensity and it helped me continue leraning more. At the end of every project we had to present it to the class as if we were presenting it to clients.
But there is one thing which must not be forgotten:
Ironhack is not going to give you a new job if you don’t get the work done.
While doing the bootcamp I continued to read, get inspired, to find some new project, to learn from people I was following on Twitter, LinkedIn, Dribbble, Behance, to meets product people. Those are the steps required if you trully want something, it worked for me.
Continuing after Ironhack
At the end of Ironhack I did my portfolio and started looking for a first job.
However something strange happened to me, for the first time people on LinkedIn would come to me for a job even before I would apply to anything.
Then, people from Adobe asked to me if I wanted to do a live on their YouTube channel about the project Santeo. Me! A guy with no experience as a UX/UI designer would go to Adobe and talk about his project. Wow…
2 weeks after Ironhack I got a job as a UX/UI designer, the first job in which I thought
Wow… When I look back it was a pretty incredible journey.
6 months before I was lost, trying to find a job with a meaning and creativity, today I love what I am doing and love the constant feeling of learning.
What I wish I knew
- Start online, read, watch, listen, Coursera, Skillshare, OpenClassrooms (French), YouTube, Medium, Podcasts etc…
- Talk to as many UX/UI designers as possible. I have never met a community so great and happy to give advices to people willing to learn. (Use LinkedIn or Slack channels specialized in the domain)
- Go to UX/UI/Products/Any events. This might be the trickiest part if you don’t live in a big city or if you are shy. This is the best to get return on experience and to network
- Make, Make, MAKE! Copy, try, create, fail fast but the more you will make, the more you will learn
- Show, show, SHOW! Instagram, Behance, Linkedin, Dribbble, there are so many ways to show your work and get feedback from a community
- Do a portfolio even before Ironhack ends (not easy) if you aspire to get a job, it is a way for you to show what you did, your vision, your creativity and it is also a great help when going to interviews
A special thank you
Because embarking in such a journey is demanding, I will never thank enough all the people that helped me during this experience.
My family, my friends, the people I met during IronHack, these events and especially my girlfriend Floriane who was always there and helped me pursue this career change.
I hope this article helped you.
Still today I never stop being amazed by how much people are willing to do to help me. And I think it is because I have finally found my way, and I hope you will too!