Where are you working currently, and what do you do there?
I am working as a Product Designer at Orizon Design, a UX/UI design agency.
Can you tell us more about what your typical day looks like?
My day consists of working with clients to understand their business requirements and working with talented Designers to implement those requirements. Whether it is designing an app from scratch or working on a redesign of a current product, there are always multiple projects to juggle in a day. Doing competitor research and strategizing based on that is an important part of the day to day and balancing the business requirements with user experience design principles is always exciting.
Working in weekly sprints, I present the progress and designs to the clients to get their feedback. It is a very iterative process. The projects always vary in relation to the particular industry and learning about different industries keeps me on my toes daily!
Can you tell us a bit about your education and career background?
I got my degree in international business and my first job was as a Project Manager. I worked in London, UK, at a global translations company. I stayed in project management for four years and, during that time, started to pursue coaching on the side; a big passion of mine.
I wanted to focus more on people than projects so I moved from project management into an operations role at BrainStation. During my time at BrainStation, I also had the amazing opportunity to work in admissions, interviewing individuals wanting to take the bootcamp programs. I loved talking to and learning about all the bright and interesting applicants all over the world.
This is where I learned about UX design and immediately I knew that was the career path that I wanted to pursue. It combined everything that I had loved in my previous careers, and much more.
Why did you choose to study at BrainStation?
This was an obvious choice for me! Having worked at BrainStation, I had always loved what BrainStation did and that lifelong learning was so valued. Not only are the people amazing at BrainStation, but I knew how agile the company was, and how the content of the programs was always changing based on trends and what’s happening in the industry. As an employee, I loved what I saw and was so excited to take the program that I had talked so much about to applicants!
What motivated you to start digital skills training?
Working in admissions at BrainStation and talking to amazing individuals all day long about our programs, I learned a lot about the different disciplines.
UX design had fascinated me from the day that I learned about it. I started learning more about it on my own time and the more I did, the more I felt like UX was really a perfect fit for me. It combined everything that I knew would fulfill me in a career: communication, collaboration, empathy, design, research, strategy, and technology.
I also knew that I would be future-proofing myself by going into the tech industry. I was inspired by all the applicants who I spoke to who were brave enough to take the leap, and that allowed me to do the same. I was ready for the challenge!
What was the highlight of your learning experience?
My highlight was definitely collaborating with and learning from my amazing classmates and education team. Even with the online modality, there were so many opportunities for collaboration sprints, group projects, hackathons.
What kind of support did you receive as a student at BrainStation?
I was so impressed by the support we received. The Education team was always there to answer any questions. On every project or assignment, they took the time to give such thorough feedback to push and help us grow and succeed in the program. This feedback was really set up to prepare us for what to expect in the real world.
The support we received from the Career Success team also definitely exceeded my expectations. With workshops woven into the program on resume writing, LinkedIn, and interview prep, the program was beautifully designed to set us up for success.
Although learning the technical skills was a huge part of the program, being prepared for the job search felt equally important. The Career Success team did an amazing job of preparing us for what we could expect in the job search and they made sure we were as prepared as possible.
Can you describe the impact your Educator had on your learning experience?
Of course learning the content was always interesting but what I found most impactful was having our Educator give real-world examples of their experience working in the industry as a way to explain the content. This made me feel like we were really learning relevant content and I could imagine the real-world applications of the concepts we were learning.
The feedback that I received from my Educator was also a huge part of my growth during the program; feedback not only on my technical skills and design assignments, but also on my presentation skills. Now, working in the industry, I recognize that good communication is equally important as technical knowledge.
BrainStation offers multiple touchpoints with industry leaders, like guest lectures and fireside chats. Did you have the chance to explore these and, if so, what was your favorite?
I attended all of these touchpoints and all of them were so valuable. The power hours with industry professionals were my favourite, because they talked about their day-to-day and really gave a good image of what we could expect in a UX job. There would always be a lot of great advice on how to start out a career in the industry and the Q-and-A’s were really insightful too.
What was it like collaborating with students from other bootcamps in BrainStation’s 4D event?
This was one of my favourite events. This really put our knowledge to the test! It was exhilarating having 24 hours to create a solution for a real client, with all disciplines having to contribute what we had learned so far. It taught me a lot about communication and how to optimize everyone’s different strengths. Staying up all night and presenting the solution to the client the next morning was nerve-racking but so rewarding!
What was your Demo Day experience like?
Considering that Demo Day was online, I thought that it was executed so well. The platform was easy to use and really interactive, making it almost feel like we were on a stage together! I received emails from hiring partners after the event and felt like there was a great turnout of hiring partners and people who were really interested in watching all the demos.
What impact did your final project have in your professional development?
My capstone project allowed me to land my first job in the industry. Working on the capstone all throughout the program was really beneficial — we would learn concepts and be able to apply them to our capstone project incrementally. Working on a project from end-to-end over a longer period of time taught us to understand that the UX process is not linear and that sometimes it’s necessary to go backwards in order to go forwards.
Not only was the project itself a big accomplishment, but being able to put it all in a portfolio allowed us to be industry-ready. I was able to present my portfolio in my interviews and felt so grateful to BrainStation for making sure we had everything together by the end of the program.
How has your BrainStation experience impacted your career?
BrainStation has led me to finding my dream career!
Not only did BrainStation set me up with the technical skills required to land a job in the industry, but the connections and network that we built in the program were invaluable. The support we received from the BrainStation community gave me the confidence to go after the job that I wanted and created an environment where I didn’t feel scared to make mistakes or step outside of my comfort zone.
Not only was the project itself a big accomplishment, but being able to put it all in a portfolio allowed us to be industry-ready.
What would you say were the most valuable skills you learned? How have you incorporated those skills into your current role?
Presentation skills! Presentations were never something that I liked doing, but BrainStation really helped me move past my fear of them and now, in a job where I give multiple presentations a week, I feel most grateful for having had that practice.
Communication is also such an important part of my role, especially when dealing with clients. Audits, competitor research, and inspiration-finding are also things that I do daily and are a crucial part of creating a strategy. Learning the skills in both UX and UI at BrainStation were equally valuable for me as many of the projects that I work on in my role involve end-to-end digital design and having an understanding of both ends allows me to jump into projects at any stage.
What was your job search experience like after the bootcamp?
I was not expecting it to be as quick as it was! After Demo Day, I received a couple of emails from hiring partners and I began the interviewing process almost immediately. I had a design challenge to complete for one of the companies but all of the processes were fairly quick and straightforward.
I had to make some tough decisions but a couple of weeks after finishing the program, I accepted an offer with the company and position that excited me and resonated with me the most.
How has your bootcamp experience helped you connect with the tech industry?
Connecting with industry professionals after industry events and thought-provoking panel discussions was a great way of building my network. However, the most valuable way that BrainStation helped me to connect with the tech industry was through alumni, the BrainStation team, and my classmates. They really allowed me to feel connected to the industry and deepen my network.
What advice would you give to professionals considering a BrainStation course or program?
Absolutely do it — this was one of the best decisions I’ve made!
Whether you’re looking for technical skills, interpersonal or communication skills, collaboration, or career prep, the amount you will gain in three months is astonishing. You learn how to learn in these programs and no matter where you end up afterwards, the skills that you gain in just three months’ time are skills that can be applicable in so many ways and set you up for success both personally and professionally.
And it is amazing meeting people from all over the world and learning from people from all different backgrounds. It is hard work, and what you put into it is what you get out of it, but don’t be scared because it truly does pay off.
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