As Munich native Michael talks me through his educational background, I instantly see his passion for learning shine through. At university, Michael tells me he studied media and informatics. This multidisciplinary degree saw him get to grips with everything from computer programming to web development—and even some UX design.
“I’ve always been the person who never wants to commit to one thing. I like having options, so it was the perfect field of study for me.”
After he graduated, Michael felt pulled towards the design world—and he soon found himself working as a graphic designer.
“In my teenage days, I wanted to learn photoshop because I thought it was cool. So I thought, why not learn something that incorporates those skills.”
After a few years in the field, Michael began to grow weary with the repetitiveness of his work. Bubbling away under the surface was a growing lack of inspiration. It was a year ago that these feelings came to a head; and Michael knew he could no longer give his all to graphic design.
“I didn’t feel like what I was doing had any long-lasting impact.”
Keen for a fresh start, Michael channeled his energy into researching new career paths. While browsing LinkedIn, he came across a CareerFoundry blog post that had been written by a former graphic designer who’d transitioned into a career in UI design. Little did Michael know, reading this blog post would shift his mindset forever.
“The author of the blog post highlighted the similarities between UI design and graphic design, but the difference is that UI design has that focus on the user’s needs. He explained that in UI design, you’re not just designing something that looks pretty—you’re designing something useful.”
With his curiosity well and truly piqued, Michael wasted no time in checking out CareerFoundry’s UI Design Program. Michael admits he was initially hesitant about making such a sizable investment—but once he’d dipped his toes into the material with the UI design short course, he knew the investment would pay off.
Fitting your studies around a full-time job is never an easy feat, and for Michael, doing both meant giving up his evenings and weekends. Despite the juggling act of working and studying, Michael’s tutor and mentor were on hand to keep him motivated.
“The constant feedback from your tutor and mentor is so reassuring. When you’re doing something new, it’s hard to know if you’re on the right track, but these people are professionals with a lot of experience. When they tell you what you’re doing is good, it’s a huge confidence boost. My tutor was also really fast with his feedback on my submissions. There was one day when I submitted four tasks in a row, and he gave me feedback on every task on the same day!“
As he progressed throughout the course, Michael found that his graphic design background enabled him to move quickly through the first and second achievements—all the while building on his skillset with a new, fresh approach to design. As the conversation moved to the Job Prep Course, I’m interested in finding out whether his previous experience still proved to be useful.
**“At first, I wasn’t sure if I really needed to do the Job Prep Course, but my mentor was adamant that it would be useful. I’m so glad I listened! **
**I always felt that I had quite a random variety of job experiences, but the job prep course really helped me to step back and look at the bigger picture. I was able to see how my previous experience, even the jobs that seemed unrelated to UI design, could add value to the roles I was applying for. **
I was especially grateful for the LinkedIn profile support—it wasn’t something I ever gave much thought, but I now know how vital it is to brand yourself properly.”
As he began his job searching process, Michael found himself faced with a new, unprecedented challenge ahead of him: the outbreak of Covid-19. As the pandemic began to shut companies down, and the future of the economy quickly became shrouded in uncertainty, Michael prepared himself for a bumpy ride.
“It was a difficult time, but the Job Prep Course kept me motivated. I continued applying for five jobs a week—in the end, I must’ve sent over 40 applications. Many companies told me they were interested, but either their hiring process was on hold, or they couldn’t make a decision until the pandemic was over.”
Despite the circumstances resulting in ample rejections, Michael kept his eyes on the prize. He continued to get positive feedback from the companies he was interviewing with on video calls, which in turn gave him the confidence to keep moving forward. Remaining proactive and sticking to his guns, Michael soon found himself with a great job offer!
“Usually, with the interviews I was doing, I had to do some kind of design challenge or extra step in the interview process. With this particular company, the interview went so well that I got the job without jumping through any additional hoops.”
Michael’s new position is at a software development company based in Munich. At his new company—where Michael is the only UX/UI designer on a design team. Unlike the projects he worked on during the program that focused on mobile apps and touch interaction, Michael’s new position sees him develop desktop software used with keyboard and mouse. Despite the challenge, Michael’s enthusiasm is unwavering.
“The thing I feel most excited about is my work having an impact on people’s lives. It’s not easy to make using apps and websites easy for the end-user, but I’m all about designing for functionality. I think the UX design aspect of my role will be a challenge, but I know from the program that you can’t have UI without UX. So I’m interested to learn more about how the two disciplines work together.”
With a lack of available jobs on offer, and most interviews being held remotely, job searching during the global pandemic can feel like an uphill battle. Despite the anxiety and uncertainty surrounding the future of the economy, I can’t help but feel comforted by Michael’s story. It was Michael’s proactiveness, perseverance, and positive attitude that eventually landed him such a great role, and I’m keen to hear what words of wisdom he has for those on the cusp of a similar career change.
“Investing in your education always pays off,” Michael tells me. “It’s nerve-wracking making a huge investment, but doing the program was a fantastic experience. In five years, when I look back on this journey, I’ll confidently be able to say that I learned something new every day, and constantly improved.”
As the interview wraps up, Michael highlights just how instrumental the wider CareerFoundry community was in his success. With so many students and graduates in a similar situation, support was never too far away. It’s a reminder that, as long as you’re a member of the CareerFoundry community, you’re never alone—especially during a period of significant global challenges.
We wish Michael all the best in his new role! Click here to view Michael’s portfolio.
What You Should Do Now
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