While many people come to CareerFoundry looking to change their careers, Andrada’s story is a little different. Her discovery of UX actually came from a desire to advance her filmmaking career. Having studied film and TV at university, she was working at a TV station producing documentary films. Keen to learn more about interactive film, she started reading up on human-computer interaction—which turned out to be a much bigger topic than she had anticipated.
“I started reading about human-computer interaction and I realised it’s a whole thing! I couldn’t start making interactive documentaries just like that, with a few little clicks here and there. Some friends who were working in web development told me that I should look into user experience design, so I read a few articles and found it really interesting. I decided I would actually like to learn more about this topic, so I decided to take a course and go from there.”
Despite having a background in visual arts, Andrada was most interested in the problem-solving aspect of UX design. She also saw some unexpected similarities between UX and film, which made the field seem even more appealing.
“The way you structure a user case or a user flow is actually very similar to the way you write a script for a film, and I was drawn to that.”
Like most CareerFoundry students, the online bootcamp format was ideal for Andrada. With remote, flexible studying, she could learn UX while continuing to make films. Having a dedicated expert mentor was also a big plus point, as was the practical nature of the course.
A mere four months into the course, something very unexpected happened: Andrada was headhunted for a UX design role at Oracle.
“I hadn’t even graduated when Oracle approached me. I started the course and, a few months in, had already uploaded parts of my portfolio on behance. Oracle Romania was looking for UX designers, and somebody from the team came across my portfolio. They liked what they saw and got in touch to offer me an interview. I was super honest and told them I was just a beginner and that I hadn’t worked in the field at all.”
A few interviews later, Oracle offered her the job. She accepted the offer, completed the course and then relocated to Bucharest to start her new role.
While landing a job might have been easy, Andrada is very open about the challenges she faced when starting her first job as a UX designer. Coming from the TV and film industry, she had a lot of adjusting to do in those first few months.
“Starting my new role at Oracle was very difficult at first. I hadn’t worked in a corporation before, let alone a big corporation like this. TV work was a lot more dynamic; here, the processes are more fixed, there are more regulations and guidelines. It’s much bigger, so there is also more of a hierarchy to follow. It was hard to adapt, and I panicked at first. I thought it was too much for me and worried I wouldn’t be able to get my head around it. Fortunately, I have a really good mentor who is always there for me.”
Once she’d settled in to life at Oracle, Andrada started to enjoy her new career as a UX designer. When I ask her what she likes most about working in UX, she’s especially enthusiastic about the problem-solving nature of her role:
“I like the problem-solving aspect, the critical thinking that I have to apply every day. The products that I work on are super complex B2B products, so I specifically focus on UX, which is more abstract than UI—but I like that. I like solving problems and thinking about the end user, because I’m used to that from my film and TV career; figuring out what people want to watch. It’s the same process here; I have to think about what the user looks at and how it makes them feel. I also enjoy the ideation process, especially when we all get together as a big team.”
In the future, Andrada hopes to focus on UX design for VR; she is keen to get back into storytelling but with more of a UX focus. In fact, that’s one of the things she loves most about working in UX—it can be applied to practically any field, and is often much more relatable to other professions than one might expect.
“I’m on a path that I like. I don’t feel like I left everything that I had behind, or that all my previous experience is in the bin. I feel like I can combine what I learned in film and TV with UX design, and I really want to take this further. I want to continue studying and researching. I’ve even had the chance to use my video skills at my current job, making video demos for software we produce, so that’s great! Starting a career in UX doesn’t mean that you have to completely forget everything that you did before.”
For anyone considering a career in UX, Andrada’s advice would be to keep learning, keep building, and keep looking at what other people are doing. And to keep in mind that it’s definitely possible, even without a technical background.
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