In 2019, Simone Adesuwa Obidah left her career as a chef at the catering business she had co-founded. Unemployed and trying to figure out her next career move, Simone spent months contemplating what to do next with her career.
Although she struggled for a while to identify skills that were applicable outside the food industry, Simone soon realized that her background provided her with a wealth of valuable, transferable skills. This opened the door to a new world of possibility. She knew she enjoyed designing marketing materials, like flyers, so she thought graphic design might be a good option.
However, when a friend asked if she had heard of UX design, Simone did some research and was immediately intrigued. It took a whole year and a half between leaving the food industry and finding UX to realize that all of the skills she had acquired and honed during her ten year career would not go to waste.
“I believe that cooking for others is a form of creating a user experience; in both UX and cooking, at no point should the person who will experience what you’ve created leave your mind,” Simone says.
Once she decided this was the perfect path for her to pursue, she did her research on UX design education providers and ultimately chose our intensive UX Academy program for career switchers.
“In all the research that I did, Designlab kept coming up. I enrolled in the introductory course to try it out, and while I really enjoyed the course, what sold me on enrolling in UX Academy was how communicative the support team was. All my questions were answered promptly, and the team was patient with me as I took the time I needed to make my decision” says Simone.
Empathy Unlocks the UX Academy Experience
Through UX Academy, Simone was able to reinforce that her existing skills were, in fact, transferable, and developed a solid foundation in the world of UX. Her key transferable skill? Empathy.
“I discovered how to apply my skills in different ways such as flexibility, communication, collaboration and making sure quality is consistent throughout all aspects of product building” Simone says.
“UX Academy helped me build a foundation in the UX design process from start to finish. The curriculum was interesting, and it was great having projects that gave structure but also flexibility in what I wanted my focus to be. This allowed me to create projects for my portfolio that were truly reflective of the things I care about.”
These portfolio projects included prototypes and case studies for fictional company Swap (a virtual clothing exchange app), a local non-profit, and even the City of Berkley—all of which are reflective of Simone’s empathy for all people, places, and even things.
“As a Buddhist practitioner, the belief that all life is worthy of respect informs the way I move through the world and see others (at least how I intend to—I’m still human after all!) I believe that this practice, which is rooted in finding inner wisdom, courage, and compassion, has set me up with the right foundation for the kind of work that is focused on empathizing with others, digging deep to find new solutions and ideas, and having the courage to bring those ideas to life,” says Simone.
This empathy is a key part of what makes Simone an ideal UX researcher 💗