This is the first article in the UXDI’s new “Alumni Success Stories” series, where we get in touch with our recent graduates to find out about their experiences on our courses as well as how their careers are progressing in the world of UX design.
In this interview, we catch-up with Jenny Björkman, one of the very first graduates of our UX Design Diploma programme, having successfully completed the course in November 2018.
Jenny now works as a UX Designer for an exciting FinTech in Edinburgh called Sustainably, an app that connects with your bank account to round up spare change on purchases to donate to a charity cause of your choice.
Here she talks us through her career journey into UX design and how the UXDI helped her to achieve her goals.
Hi Jenny, so to start us off, why don’t you give us a little background info? How and when did you decide that you wanted to work in UX design as a career?
Well, I started out in information design, which was like UX on paper before UX existed. I loved the job, as it was the perfect 50:50 split of logic and creative, but unfortunately, there was no career progression, so I side-stepped into a Project Management role before changing lanes into Marketing.
Then I met my husband, who was Creative Director at a digital design agency. When I told him about my old information design job and why I loved it, he said ‘You should do UX’. I started looking into it and thought ‘Yes – this is for me!’
So, presumably your research led you to find the UXDI?
Yes, once I had decided that UX design was what I wanted to do, I was like right, I’m going to try and move over to UX and at the time, I thought it would be easier to do so internally from the Marketing department of the company I was working with because there was a UX team and a UX Manager, so I started stretching my role to include as much UX work as I could.
Things were looking good for my career transition into UX and the Head of the UX department suggested I do a course to formalise my skills, so I found and booked onto your two day face-to-face course. I then followed that up with your short online course and both of these confirmed that UX was definitely what I wanted to do.
Unfortunately, through a combination of factors including bad timing and a massive restructuring of the company I was working at following its buy-out by another company, the offer of a change of role into UX I had previously negotiated was taken off the table. I hung on for as long as I could (about 8 months) but when the UXDI reached out to me to tell me about the new Diploma course they were launching, I took the opportunity to pack in my job and start the course.
So you weren’t working then while you were doing the course?
No, I left my job immediately and then I started the Diploma in the July and finished it in November, so I did it over 4 months.
And how did you find the course, did you find studying online a positive experience?
I’d already done the short online course, so I knew exactly what I was in for and I found it a really good way to learn to be honest! We’ve set our bottom room up as an office, so I just shut myself in there and got on with it.
What is your top piece of advice for anyone currently on the course or considering starting it?
To make sure that you’ve got your work done for the scheduled webinars and ensure that your course mentor knows that you’ve handed it in and you want it reviewed because that advice really is gold dust when it comes to your progress!
And what aspects of the course did you enjoy the most and which parts do you think filled in gaps in your knowledge in particular?
Oh, you’ve basically done the job when you get to the end of it.
So you feel like you come out like a fully fledged UX Designer?
Yeah! You’ve done the job; twice if you’ve done the mobile and desktop. That’s another thing I would highly advise people – do both if they have the time.
I suppose I already know the answer to this one but would you recommend the UX Design Institute to others and why?
Highly recommend them. It’s a really great company and they’ve just got really fantastic staff and you’ve got the right attitudes. You’re always on people’s sides – there was always someone on the other end of the Intercom to answer questions.
Finally, would you have any advice for anybody else completing the course on how to get a job in UX design?
Aside from putting in the work to get certified and qualified as a UX Designer, there were a number of steps that I personally undertook to secure my current job with Sustainably. These included networking with other UX professionals in the industry, reaching out to and establishing relationships with people more experienced than me for mentorship and reflecting on and changing up my own personal brand.
Want to follow in Jenny’s footsteps to a great career in UX design?
Find out more about our UX Design Diploma course now.