How I Became A UX/UI Designer In Just 12 Months

Unhappy in his marketing career, Jordan decided to learn UX and UI design from scratch. He is now working as a designer in the higher education sector. In this interview, he shares his career-change journey.

by Emily Stevens on 29 May 2019

CareerFoundry Graduate Jordan Skedgwell: How I became a UX/UI designer in just 12 months

Meet Jordan Skedgwell: A UX/UI designer at the University of Canberra. Jordan is currently the sole designer working on a complete redesign of the entire student-facing aspect of the university website.

Based on that introduction, you might assume that Jordan has been in the industry for years; a seasoned expert with decades of experience behind him. Actually, it’s his first ever job since completing the CareerFoundry UX Design Course together with the UI for UX Designers Specialization. Jordan’s current position is the result of a recent career-change—but how did he go from complete novice to bona fide UX/UI designer?

Prior to CareerFoundry, Jordan was working as an engagement manager in the marketing research sphere. He studied marketing at university, and had also explored carpentry, copywriting, and broadcasting as career paths. All the while, he was searching for a career he could genuinely be passionate about; a profession that aligned with both his personality and his principles.

As it turns out, UX/UI design was the dream career that he never even knew existed.

“When I made the decision to move out of marketing, I had to make a plan to give myself the best shot at future success. I did a few introductory workshops for different skills, including frontend development, product management, and UX / UI design. I instantly fell in love with UX and UI design; they were exactly what I’d been looking for in a fulfilling career since I was a teenager! Frontend development was interesting, but I didn’t feel passionate about it as a career. Then I discovered UX/UI design, and it ticked every single box from the very first instance.”

For Jordan, UX and UI design together offered an interesting mixture of creativity and problem-solving. He saw an opportunity to engage the analytical part of his mind while coming up with creative solutions to real user problems.

Jordan had finally found what he was passionate about—now he needed to turn it into a paid career. After extensive research and careful consideration of both traditional courses and online bootcamps, he opted to study online with CareerFoundry.

“I was conscious that I was investing a significant amount of money into my future, so I really spent a lot of time researching my options. I looked not only at what I would learn on the course, but also at what the outcomes would be, to make sure I was getting value for money. 

I wanted to take a course that was going to be recognized and respected within the industry. Then there was the reality that I didn’t want to give up a full-time salary; I needed to maintain an income while studying. I was also confident in my ability to have the focus and discipline needed to study online. All those factors together led me to CareerFoundry.”

Once on the course, Jordan found that he was in for a challenge. Right from the start, his Mentor and Tutor provided honest and constructive feedback; feedback that was pivotal in helping him to learn, grow, and ultimately become a fully-fledged UX/UI designer.

The next step in Jordan’s career-change journey was to apply for UX/UI design roles, which he did with the help of his CareerFoundry Career Advisor and an independent recruiter. Here, he tells me what it was like to attend interviews as a newcomer to the field:

“I was nervous, naturally; I was a rookie! But at the same time, I felt like I belonged in the interview. I had enough knowledge and basic experience from doing the course that I felt comfortable being there.

I absolutely feel like CareerFoundry prepared me for getting a job in the real world. The mentors and tutors were really experienced professionals who offered constructive feedback. There was no head-patting where it wasn’t warranted, just honest feedback. I feel like that prepared me for the expectations of the industry.”

Armed with his newfound design skills, the expert support of his CareerFoundry network, and an extremely positive outlook, Jordan landed his first job as a UX/UI designer at the University of Canberra, Australia. He is now the sole designer working on a multidisciplinary team of business analysts, content writers, developers, and project managers.

Jordan and his team are currently working on a redesign of the digital journey that students take when studying at the university. For Jordan, this involves redesigning elements such as content pages, right through to complex features such as unit and course enrolment. In all, it’s an exciting and challenging role that’s keeping him on his toes!

“As the sole UX and UI designer on a pretty big project, I have to learn to manage expectations and deliverables. As my first role in UX/UI, it’s a lot more responsibility than you might expect, so it keeps me on my toes!

It’s a great role; I’m really interested in education and feel fortunate to be working in an industry that I care about. We work in an agile environment, and I absolutely love my job and my team. Every day I’m solving problems and helping to improve an experience and a product.”

Jordan certainly seems to be enjoying his new career path, so what does he hope the future might bring?

“In five years’ time, I plan on knowing a lot more than I do right now! I’m really interested in how technology is transforming fields like education, music streaming, and primary industries. I’d love to be working in a fun, productive team in one of those industries—ideally still solving problems and making people’s experiences a little bit more enjoyable. 

One of the biggest challenges I face in my current role is working with developers, so I also intend on developing a better understanding of frontend development. I want to adapt my approach to design so that hand-off is smooth and implementation successful!” 

As someone who has really seized the day and jumped head-first into a new career, I imagine that Jordan has some valuable words of advice for aspiring career-changers. He doesn’t disappoint:

“If you have identified that you really care about something—like UX / UI design—then go for it! You’ve got nothing to lose except opportunity! At worst, you have an opportunity to learn and grow. At best, which is most likely, you have an opportunity to start a career that you really love. 

A qualification is just the first step to being able to apply for a job. You really need to have someone independent critique your work, identify ways to polish your portfolio, and don’t just rely on a few projects to get you over the line; really push yourself. Finally, do the CareerFoundry Job Preparation Course! The things you’ll get out of it will really help.”

What You Should Do Now

If you’d like a step-by-step intro to find out if a career in design, data, development, or digital marketing is right for you—sign up here for a free short course in the field of your choice.

If you’d like to speak to an expert program advisor for free about how you can get a new job in tech—connect with us here.

by Emily Stevens on 29 May 2019

About the author

Emily Stevens

Emily is a professional tech writer and content strategist. She spent over a decade in tech startups, immersed in the world of UX and design thinking. In addition to writing for The CareerFoundry Blog, Emily has been a regular contributor to several industry-leading design publications and wrote a chapter for The UX Careers Handbook. She also has an MSc in Psychology from the University of Westminster.