Before he became a product designer, Eric’s career spanned a multitude of fields: from PR companies to spending a couple years in the food industry as a waiter, bartender and assistant chef. But none of that really provided stability, and he wasn't really happy.
“Growing up, I was always interested in all kinds of arts. I self-taught myself music production, which opened up opportunities making money in the music field,” Eric shares.
“I knew I wanted to pursue something that allowed me to use my creativity, but also work on meaningful projects. I was lucky enough to be introduced to UX/UI design by some friends.”
After spending a couple months researching and planning, Eric decided to take advantage of his American citizenship in 2019 and move to the United States to pursue a career in UX/UI design.
A Fully Remote, Yet Immersive Learning Experience
“I ended up choosing the Design 101 course and UX Academy at Designlab because of a friend's recommendation. He shared his experiences with me, which made me believe it might just be what I needed,” Eric says.
Before enrolling in Designlab, Eric looked up many other boot camps and programs near California, where he was based.
“I am glad I chose Designlab. It allowed me to learn remotely due to the sudden impact of COVID, which would've been impossible if I'd chosen a program with a physical location.”
1:1 Mentorship and Connecting with Peers
“I would say my overall experience at Designlab was great. I loved the curriculum and enjoyed every part of the content and learning process. My favorite parts of the course were the weekly meetings with other students and the 1:1s with my mentor.”
“I definitely feel like I've learned the most through the mentorship, because mentors share their personal tips and experiences to help us improve on our skills,” Eric says.
UX Academy is a rigorous bootcamp experience, with many different facets and elements for students to take advantage of.
Looking back, Eric reflects that he wishes he had spent more time connecting with other students during his UX Academy experience.
“If there is one thing I wish I would've done more during my time at Designlab, it would be to connect more with other students, because I believe I would've grown faster and learned more if I had spent more time discussing things we've learned throughout the course with other students.”
An Extensive Job Search…And An Offer
After students graduate from Phase 2 of UX Academy, they can opt into Career Services, where they get additional support and guidance as they work through job search materials, from applications and cover letters to interviewing skills and salary negotiations.
“Job searching was definitely the most challenging and nerve-wrecking part of the entire process, maybe because it was my first time officially looking for a job here in the States,” Eric shares. “I remember applying to over 100 companies and not hearing back from more than half of them. I started feeling really anxious and doubted myself if I was even capable of getting a job.”
Despite the disheartening response (or lack thereof), Eric continued to send out those applications—and leveraged whatever experience he could along the way.
“ I was lucky to have worked on a project as a freelance designer prior to my actual job search which I believed had helped me to some extent at landing my current job.”
Finally, after a month or two into the job search process, Eric received an email from the company he now works at, inviting him for an interview.
“I was super stoked and excited, and started researching and learning as much as I could about the job interview process. After a month of interviewing and waiting, I was offered a position as a UX UI designer at my current company.”
A New Career Begins
“I have been working at my current company for a little over a year now, and everything still feels like a learning process, which I really enjoy,” Eric shares.
Although he struggles with self-doubt and imposter syndrome, Eric is committed to finding ways to open his mind to opportunity and possibility within his role as a new UX/UI designer, whether that takes the form of talking with other team members, reading more articles and blogs, or simply going to the gym for some healthy activities.
“I personally think that working as a UX UI designer in tech, mental pressure is something we all must deal with, so finding the right ways to relax the mind is crucial for work efficiency.”
Words of Wisdom
Reflecting on his own career pivot and experience thus far, Eric has a few words of wisdom to share with others:
- Never give up
- Try to learn more about yourself and your passion (for example: I love art and music, so that really helped me target which companies I really wanted work for)
- Ask questions and learn with your mentors (really try to understand and learn what your mentor teaches you, because lots of these experiences they share with you can be the key to doing well at interviews)
- If you have the chance, always try to learn more skills that could possibly enhance your design skills. For example, I have no coding knowledge, but because I have to work directly with engineers, I try to spend time understanding a little bit about certain frameworks or languages to help our team.
“Another thing I enjoy most about being a designer now is the ability to learn so much from other team members with different backgrounds. It is definitely a rare opportunity that I find myself being lucky to have,” Eric shares.
“UX UI design is really fun, and is definitely a life-long learning process, but can definitely be challenging. So make sure you give your full 100% in order to land a job in this very competitive market.”