In our latest success story, I’m joined by former e-commerce manager Nimet, who tells me how losing her job at a startup led her to discover her dream career as a UX designer…
When Berlin-born Nimet relocated to the UK as an 18-year-old, she was sure that fashion was her true calling. She confidently enrolled at a university in Manchester to study fashion buying, but it wasn’t long before Nimet realized something was missing. For Nimet, fashion lacked the hands-on approach to business that she craved deep down.
Following a postgraduate fashion buying internship, Nimet found herself in an e-commerce role—and things started to fall into place. To Nimet’s delight, she discovered that e-commerce encompassed a range of disciplines—from marketing to product ownership, and even user testing. She worked closely with developers and designers on localizing the website for different users across various regions, and become enthralled by the variety of her new career. Little did she know at the time, her role held a lot of similar qualities to that of a UX designer (spoiler alert!).
After a few years, Nimet decided it was time for her to return to her native Germany. Upon her arrival, she found herself confronted by a new, unfamiliar job market that boasted different rules and company structures than what she’d grown to expect. Despite being bilingual and highly qualified, navigating the German job market proved to be a challenge—and Nimet struggled to find e-commerce roles that reflected her background and experience.
“I was super intimidated because all the roles I saw were for people who had studied IT or had years of tech experience behind them. What I was doing was more about adapting the product for the user, and networking with different departments. I didn’t see my skillset represented in any of the roles that were being advertised.”
Sensing her career in e-commerce was drawing to an untimely close, Nimet felt the pressure to quickly change direction. She began working as an account manager, and while she was good at her job, she found that the work was bereft of the variety and diversity of her previous roles. In her own words: “account management isn’t user-centered at all. It’s all about accounts, profits, and sales. It was just too harsh for me.”
For a short while, Nimet felt that she’d become locked into a pattern of bad luck. After getting made redundant twice due to startups folding, Nimet started to lose momentum. Losing your job is an incredibly difficult thing to bounce back from, and it can leave you feeling defeated and directionless.
It wasn’t until she made friends with a UX designer at her new company that Nimet had her “eureka” moment.
“I was talking to her one day about careers and telling her that I was unhappy with what I was doing. After explaining my background to her, she said, “that sounds like UX design” and started explaining to me that she thought I would be really good at it. My eyes were opened, and everything started to make sense.”
Shortly after this revelation, Nimet’s company went bust—and she knew this was the perfect opportunity for a career change. Rather than refresh her CV, dust herself off and apply for another job, Nimet made a beeline for the Agentur für Arbeit (the German Employment Agency) and applied for a training voucher to fund the UX Design Course with CareerFoundry.
For three months, Nimet treated the UX Design Course as a full-time job. She studied every day for 8 hours, and immersed herself in the world of UX design at every chance she got—from networking with industry professionals, to reading up on current UX design trends.
Nimet does admit, however, that she initially had some doubts about the course.
“Due to the online nature of the course, I was really worried I’d end up procrastinating and leaving things until the last minute. However, the course is organized in a way that doesn’t allow that. They give you guidelines on how long each exercise should take, and people check in with you about your progress. Above all, I knew I had to finish the course in 3 months because I was studying with the Agentur für Arbeit.”
For Nimet, having the ability to create and build her own portfolio while taking the course instilled her with an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. Armed with a portfolio of high-quality work, Nimet felt like she could enter the job market with a sense of ownership and unwavering confidence in her abilities as a UX designer.
Nimet also cites the mentors as her driving force while taking the course. She found it helpful, constructive and encouraging to have someone on hand to answer her questions and put her concerns at ease. Thanks to the support of her mentors, Nimet never felt that she had to overcome her challenges alone.
When I quiz Nimet about her job search experience, I’m delighted to learn that, despite her initial reservations about landing a job in the field, Nimet got the very first job that she applied for! Now, she’s a UX/UI designer at German price comparison site idealo.de.
While Nimet is the first to admit how surprised she was to get a job in the field so quickly, she’s adamant that it was the comprehensive, in-depth education from CareerFoundry that equipped her for the role.
“I’m so lucky—I kind of skipped the job searching part! I think it’s a lot to do with confidence. I’m learning to take my prior experience and shape it in a way that fits the role. Before studying with CareerFoundry, I considered just applying for jobs as a UX designer and learning on the job. I’m so glad I didn’t do that because I would’ve made a total fool of myself. Many people learn the lingo and dive into the field without truly learning the process and the discipline.
CareerFoundry trained me in practical tools like Sketch, but I was also trained not to assume that what works for me will necessarily work for others. I’m still learning so many new things on the job, but CareerFoundry taught me enough to feel so confident in what I do.”
Nimet loves the continuous learning and growth mindset that is so central to UX design. As an account manager, Nimet felt that her job lacked variety. As a UX designer, no two days are the same; she’s constantly collaborating with different departments, ideating alongside her colleagues, and working across a range of projects. Above all, Nimet is excited to be a part of an industry that is continually changing and innovating.
Speaking candidly about the tech industry, Nimet tells me how her perceptions about the world of tech have evolved over the years.
“My generation has grown up with a lot of tech around us. Growing up, tech was always a boys’ club. But with the birth of UX design, people are starting to appreciate the value of making technology accessible, more human, and more enjoyable for everyone. I see UX design as the humanistic approach to technology, and I love that.”
So, what advice would Nimet give to those looking to make the switch into UX design? Don’t see your background as a limitation.
“Not having a solid background in tech should never put you off from studying! Also, it’s so important to talk to other UX designers. Asking questions and going to meetups will help you gauge what your daily life will look like as a UX designer.”
Following a period of change and insecurity, Nimet is happy to be finally settled in at a company that she feels reflects her values. One thing’s for sure; Nimet’s found her true calling, and she hasn’t looked back since.
When I ask Nimet to sum up her experience with CareerFoundry, I’m both warmed and humbled by her response:
“I would 100% recommend studying with CareerFoundry. For my career in happiness, it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done!“
Nimet’s future is bright, and we can’t wait to see what she does next!
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by Jaye Hannah on 19 July 2019