The first 5 days of UX/UI at Ironhack

Maarten van Hoogdalem
Jan 20 · 5 min read
Getting to know each other

January 14th — The first day at Ironhack

The time has come, it’s Monday morning 9:00 and I’m heading to the Ironhack Amsterdam campus. This morning I awoke at 6:00 because I was too excited, I didn’t even go to the gym because I was scared to no be fit enough during my first day. While riding my bike I started to visualize every topic that they will probably cover this day and whether it would live up to my expectations. Once I arrived, I’m one of the first ones, this because I hate being late and therefore, I often arrive bit early. After chatting with other Ironhackers and getting to know each other for a bit we are guided to our class and the day has officially started, EXCITED!

The map and where you are from

Wearing the same shoes:

Everyone starts with introducing him/herself and points on the map where he is from. The origin of all Ironhackers, but also the background and goals inspired me a lot. So are in our class students from Romania to Ghana and of course some Dutchies. Even though we are all different, have different motivations and other goals, we are all wearing the same shoes. Every one of us is going to create awesome UX/UI projects this coming 9 weeks and will work his ass of. Thereby we all have to learn new skills and best prepare ourselves to get the desired job in UX, UI or a related field.

Are we competitors

“Aren’t you Ironhackers all competitors; how do you deal with that?”

This was one thing I got asked a lot when I talked to friends and family about my coming Ironhack journey. I even asked myself this question too sometimes. Of course, I’m still a bit insecure whether there are that many jobs? Will we be nice to each other, or is everyone willing to go to any lengths? Well first of all we are competitors and that can’t be denied. But then again, look at your colleagues, or just other people in the world in some way we are all competing with each other. Now this doesn’t mean that it is a bad thing, were would we’ve been if we had no competition at all, why would we even bother to work hard. So, we are competitors but the more we help each other the more we will achieve as a group and thus also the more skilled everyone becomes. Most importantly being competitors does still mean that you can be friends and have great fun!

Comfort inspires creativity

How fast time flies is crazy and looking back how much you’ve done is an amazing feeling. After the first 2 days we started to get comfortable with each other, and this not only lead to a lot of laughter, but also to a boost in creativity. This creativity boost for me came mainly from the fact that I dared to spit out ideas during a brainstorm, rather than saying to myself “this is irrelevant”. I don’t say that my ideas are good or what so ever, but they sometimes open a new way of thinking for me and my fellow team mates as well.

Crazy 8!

Making the worst idea the best

What I really liked about our Teacher Assistant Marcos Cisneros, was that he gave us an amazing task just while we got comfortable with each other. If he gave us this task at day 2 it would have been too early and wouldn’t work so well. The idea was to right down the worst feature for a E-grocery app you could imagine. So, to give an example a worse idea could be that the app gives the following notification:

“Your order is on the way, make sure your driver doesn’t reach your house within 30 minutes. Good luck!”.

This is of course a worse idea because you want your order often ASAP. However, if you start to think how we could bend this worse idea to a good idea it becomes interesting. Maybe you could reward the driver if he makes it under 30 minutes. (this idea didn’t make it*)

Making the worst idea the best

Why post-it notes work for me

Building a wall is not the best Idea these days but posting Post-It notes on it is! In the beginning I was a bit skeptic about this whole Post-It note hype, but once we started working with it, I started to realize why it worked for me. Writing down your ideas on each note is fun to do, and you can easily color code your ideas as well. Though what actually worked for me, is posting them on the wall one by one. This because with Post-It notes you can easily make sure that everyone has a say in a project, and you can quickly start to draw connection between diverse Post-It notes. As great minds think a like it is likely to have some overlap and this could increase the process to get to a certain solution.

Looking back at the first 5 days

Looking back at the first week we actually did quite a lot and I really enjoyed working as a team closely together. We quickly found a good way to cooperate and were able to distribute tasks among each other. However, for now we are only working with the UX — research part, and problem solving, we haven’t done much design/building yet. Once we start with building a product it could be more a hassle to devote tasks evenly.

All in all, I think Ironhack and the Ironhackers did a great job the first week, and I’ve already learned a lot and can’t wait to start next week —

40 more days to go!

But……. First things first à DRINKS!

Thanks to all Ironhackers and thank you so much for reading my post.

Enjoy your day,
Maarten van Hoogdalem

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Maarten van Hoogdalem

Written by

I’m a motivated business designer. I get energized from presenting, solving problems and the ideation process.

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