How I Built A Door Into The World Of UX Design And Found A Career I Love

After a chance encounter with a UX design mentor, Klara decided to change the course of her career. I caught up with her to hear her story.

by Emily Stevens on 23 October 2018

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Unsure which road to take after completing her studies, Klara was in need of a fresh start. She decided to move to Munich and, on the way there, got chatting to one of her fellow passengers: a CareerFoundry UX design mentor. This chance encounter introduced her not only to UX design as a potential career path, but also to the online course that could (and would!) make it happen.

“On the way to Munich, I shared a car with a UX design mentor from CareerFoundry. She basically told me how amazing her job is, so I searched UX design online and found that I was actually already surrounded by this topic.”

Indeed, Klara was already more familiar with UX design than she realised. She had previously helped some friends with the user research for an app they were creating. As she went on to discover, this is a key part of the UX design process. The more she read about UX, the more certain she became that this was something for her.

“UX contains all the areas I’m passionate about; creativity, design, architecture, psychology. I was super happy to find and take the course. It really opens the door to a brand new world.”

Once she had made this discovery, Klara couldn’t wait a minute longer. She enrolled on the UX Design Program while still completing her Master’s degree in Social Pedagogy. Once the course got underway, Klara found it to be the perfect mixture of independent learning and expert support.

“What did I enjoy most about the course? I would say the combination of support from tutors and mentors, but also the opportunity to be proactive. That support system was there, but we still had the chance to find information on our own, as the course provides additional links to other resources. CareerFoundry gave me this perspective on the UX design field — that it’s always changing and that there will always be something new to learn. The course taught me the importance of taking responsibility for your own education and always pushing yourself to explore and actively learn new things.

At the same time, I never felt that I was alone taking this step into a new world. Getting hands-on feedback from people who already work in the industry was super helpful. As well as my mentor and tutor, there was also a Slack channel which enabled me to reach out to my fellow students for support.”

Although she was eager to get started in her new career, Klara’s first step after graduating the CareerFoundry course was to finish her Master’s. However, this didn’t stop her from putting her newfound UX design skills to good use. Keen to add to her design portfolio, Klara started working with some friends on a hiking app they were creating.

After a brief stint at a startup, Klara quickly determined that she wanted a more structured, supportive environment for her first years in the industry. She resumed her job search in earnest and landed a UX designer trainee role at Aperto, an IBM digital agency in Berlin.

“I think those first years in the industry are really important for learning as much as you can. I needed more support at work, so I started to search for another job. I’m now working at Aperto, an IBM digital agency. This has been a great experience so far; I’m able to work on different projects right from day one, creating the initial concepts and conducting research, which I really enjoy.”

Klara once again has a mentor to support her and give feedback on her day to day work, and feels extremely motivated by the learning curve ahead of her. She’s full of enthusiasm as she tells me she can’t wait to learn more and improve her skills.

In fact, this learning curve is one of the things she loves most about her new career path, together with the variety and the different opportunities it offers.

“What I most enjoy about my new career in UX is the stability and structure on the one hand — having meetings, daily calls with colleagues and clients — and, on the other hand, the variety. My daily tasks all depend on the project we’re working on, as well as on the phase that the project is in. I also like the fact that there are plenty of opportunities in the field. Working with other UX designers, I can see that if you’re really proactive and ready to learn, you can quickly become an expert in a specific area of UX. As well as this broad perspective, there is also the possibility to specialize in one thing, such as user research.”

Having gone from not having a clue which direction to take, to finding a role that combines all of her passions, I’m keen to hear what advice Klara might give to anyone else considering a career change.

“I remember seeing a particular quote, and it really was my motivation throughout the course: If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door. I couldn’t agree with this quote more. I think sometimes we get an opportunity to make a shift in our career, and sometimes we simply don’t. We might spend years waiting for a change without any guarantee that it’s actually going to come. We shouldn’t wait! There is so much opportunity out there, and CareerFoundry really helped me build this door to the UX world.”

So, has Klara found her calling? She can definitely see herself sticking with UX; however, she’s reluctant to plan too far ahead.

“Before taking the CareerFoundry course, I was constantly planning my life. I was always searching for something new and trying to make plans. Now I’ve just decided to relax and enjoy my new position, and really take my time before thinking about what I’d like to do next. However, now that I’m working in an agency, I would say that my next step would definitely be to experience working for a single product or service. I’d love to delve deeper into one topic and really see how design impacts people’s behaviour. But I’ve decided on purpose not to make a plan!”

For now, it certainly sounds like Klara is where she’s supposed to be. If, like Klara, you want to build a door, speak to a career advisor today. Whether it’s UX, UI, data analytics, digital marketing, or web development, we can help you discover a whole new career path.

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

Discover How Our Graduates Went From Complete Beginners To Hired UX Designers

by Emily Stevens on 23 October 2018

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.