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Student Profile

Jenny Hwang

UX Research Lead at IBM

Course Taken

UX Design

Course Type

UX Design Course

Key Skills Learned

  • User Research
  • Sketching and Wireframing
  • Prototyping
View Course Details
Jenny Hwang

Interview

Where are you working currently and what is it that you do there?

I currently work at IBM Design Studios and our team is in charge of cloud data and AI products. I'm a UX Research Lead and I'm working on business intelligence products specifically. We're currently working on incorporating natural language and predictive analytics to business intelligence tools that are traditionally more export led to make them more democratized and self-service oriented.

What does a typical day look like for you?

A typical day involves a big operational aspect. We are always documenting our work. We're on Airtable organizing the process of everything and we’re constantly doing things to better align with design, product, and development. We obviously also run actual research sessions. Things like conducting user interviews, planning surveys, doing diary studies – it's a lot of different things.

Can you tell us a bit more about your education and your career background?

Like most UX designers and UX researchers, there isn’t always a straightforward path. I studied Psychology and Marketing. Upon graduating, I knew I wanted to do something in consumer behavior, so I could go into brand strategy at an ad agency. I was doing a lot of brand research and strategic thinking type of work, which I loved. I loved strategizing and developing powerful insights for our campaigns, but I felt like they could always be used for more than just an ad campaign.

I wanted to have a different output and be able to design something tangible. That's how I became interested in design strategy and service design. After attending some of the free introductory workshops I decided to sign up for BrainStation’s Part-Time UX Design Certificate Course to get some foundational design skills and knowledge. After completing the UX Design course, I got a better sense that I really do want to be part of the design world.

I wanted to have a different output and be able to design something tangible. That's how I became interested in design strategy and service design. After attending some of the free introductory workshops I decided to sign up for BrainStation’s part-time UX Design Certificate Course to get some foundational design skills and knowledge. After completing the UX Design course, I got a better sense that I really do want to be part of the design world.

What would you say was the highlight of your learning experience at BrainStation?

As a Brand Researcher and Market Researcher, I had basic research skills, but I didn't have a lot of design foundations. Learning about things like affordance and usability, all this new knowledge was really valuable for me as someone without that basic design knowledge background.

How would you say that part-time course helped the rest of your career? Was that the springboard that led you into design?

The part-time course was a great way for me to dip my feet into the design world. It gave me the confidence that I needed to switch my career and to apply for a master’s program in design. I also started applying for jobs at the same time that I started my master’s. My past experience and the fact that I completed a UX design certificate gave my future boss assurance that I came prepared with some design knowledge.

What skills that you learned in the Part-Time UX Design Certificate Course do you still carry over into your job today?

Learning the foundations of design is what really helps me look at the world from a different lens. I see experiences, objects, and interactions from a user's perspective, I always ask: Is this enjoyable? Is it usable? Having that kind of lens is super important as a designer. That’s what I still carry forward today.

Learning the foundations of design is what really helps me look at the world from a different lens. I see experiences, objects, and interactions from a user's perspective, I always ask: Is this enjoyable? Is it usable? Having that kind of lens is super important as a designer. That’s what I still carry forward today.

What advice would you give to professionals that are considering a BrainStation course or program?

I felt equipped after the part-time experience to start my new career in the design world. I still really needed to network and hustle, and really put in the work to break in. Taking the course will help you but you also need to network, go for coffee, sign up for hackathons, go to meetups, and show people that you're really passionate about the subject and willing to put in the effort.

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