Divya Maharajula worked as a Junior Architect in India, and an Interior Designer in Vietnam before moving to the United States.
“I was always confused and tried to step into several creative fields before pursuing my dream career. When I moved to the US, I had no work permit (and no job) for around 5 years. But it’s always imperative for me to have some creative outlet, so I stuck to my forever love: Oil Painting and Portrait Art,” says Divya.
Once she received her work permit, she started selling those paintings on Etsy. Gradually, she moved into freelance digital art/illustration, which ultimately led her to explore UX/UI Design.
As an Architect and Interior Designer, Divya enjoyed the challenge of creating amazing physical spaces for clients. “At the end of the day when your vision comes to life and makes people’s lives better, it feels fulfilling and gives you a sense of purpose. That was something which I was missing and also was lacking in my freelance Illustrator role. I wanted to do something which had more impact and also get me some actual proper income.” Divya says.
An Old Connection Leads to a New Community
Divya began her journey by browsing her list of friends in both Instagram and Facebook to see if anyone she knew was in the UX/UI Design Industry. She noticed that an old friend, whom she knew from her Architecture college days, had “Designlab” mentioned in their bio—and was also an Architectural Designer transitioning to UX!
Divya contacted her friend and learned that she had just completed her UX Academy cohort and started Career Services.
“We had almost a 2 hour long phone call in which she shared her experience with Designlab in detail. She literally persuaded me to enroll and I immediately did that,” says Divya.
The Reality of Being a Mom and a Student
With a preschool-aged child and a husband with a full time job, Divya knew that it would be a challenge to take on the additional role as a UX design student. The challenges were compounded by the fact that the pandemic was in full swing, and her child was at home full time with her.
Divya was committed to this career shift, and carved out time during late nights and early mornings to work on her UX Academy coursework. Luckily, she was matched with a mentor from India, so the timing worked out well.
“Starting a new rigorous course while taking care of my kid at home was daunting to me. But the Designlab staff was very supportive in my journey, and I loved how flexible everything is. It was tough considering my situation, but in the end it’s all worth it, and I’m glad that I made it work,” Divya says.