For several years, Sophie Hendry worked at a mid-size mushroom supplement company designing email and social media content. Now, she’s a UI designer at Voxels in New Zealand—and in the Metaverse.

Sophie started her career as a digital marketing assistant, but quickly gravitated towards graphic design work. While this was a great move, there was another career shift that she wanted to make.

“I enjoyed my work very much, but wanted to level-up my career and gain a more specialized design skill set. I saw UX design as a fascinating combination of my interests in visual design, communication, and psychology—and the research-based nature of the field was especially appealing to me,” says Sophie.

Sophie Hendry 1

Sophie completed a site design that featured all the different businesses under the Marmo Gallery umbrella - a gallery, shop, cafe, publishing house, and more!

Sophie’s UX Academy Foundations and UX Academy Experience

Sophie knew she needed to continue to work full-time while taking classes part-time, and the UX Academy format allowed for that.

“The format seemed to me like a happy medium of self-paced learning and structure. I also liked how I could test out the program by taking UX Academy Foundations before going into UX Academy, which is a huge commitment,” Sophie says.

“It wasn’t easy keeping up with coursework while working full-time. It helped to have my twin sister taking the program alongside me so we could motivate each other. I would definitely suggest finding a buddy in the Designlab community. 

One of our Group Crit leaders, Robbin, was such a great role model, which definitely inspired me to keep going through the tough times. Seeking out opportunities to hear her talk about design and her experiences in the industry in and out of group crits was really helpful.” 

Sophie Hendry 2

Sophie researched and executed the branding and responsive website for an insurance agency called KAUS.

Working as a UI Designer in the Metaverse

Sophie’s involvement in the Web3 community helped her to find her current position. She heard from a friend that Voxels was hiring, so she contacted a Senior UX Designer at the company through Twitter. It turns out this designer was a Designlab graduate and mentor herself! 

Then, Sophie had two back-to-back interviews—one with the HR department, and one with the UX design and business managers where she presented two case studies. 

After those interviews, Sophie received an offer for the UI Designer job! She now works with a Senior UX Designer, handful of developers, designers, and 3D artists. Voxels is a small company, so it’s very all-hands-on-deck. 

“You could call Voxels a metaverse in the sense that it’s a 3D designed open-world built on the Ethereum blockchain that you can buy land in, build on, and design experiences in. And no.. it doesn’t have anything to do with Facebook! Company stakeholders see it as just one element of the metaverse—the virtual social world we build online,” says Sophie.

“I have been learning and growing a lot, and really enjoying that. I have found that working at a startup takes a lot of initiative and self-management, but it can be so rewarding feeling like you can have a real stake in the product you’re building, which is especially great if it’s one you love and truly believe in.”

One cool perk of her new job is that their weekly team meetings are held in the metaverse they create, or rather, the UAT—an exact copy of the metaverse where game designers and developers can build and test changes without affecting the public version. After doing these check-ins the team walks around the metaverse and checks out new features that the designers and developers have built. 

“It’s pretty fun!” Sophie exclaims. “And since we all work remotely, it’s the only chance I get to feel like I’m ‘hanging out’ with everyone for a bit.” 

Sophie is currently working on her first first design project: optimizing Voxels’ mobile interface. It’s a project that includes a lot of fun research: downloading and trying out popular open-world games for mobile phones. 

“I didn’t realize I was going to be a game designer when I started, but I am working on creating new movement controls!” says Sophie. 

Sophie Hendry 3

Sophie designed the homepage for a travel website called Wayfarer.

Sophie’s Takeaways From Her UX/UI Learning Journey

Now that Sophie has graduated from UX Academy and landed her dream job, she has some advice for aspiring UX/UI designers:

“I would say to not compare yourself to others, and highlight what makes you unique. You may have a specific skill or interest or experience that makes you the perfect candidate for the job. 

“Also, my company really liked that I was a recent graduate because all the ‘by the book’ design rules and processes are fresh in a student’s mind. That can be an excellent asset to a startup who’s needing more structure in their design process.” 

Outside of work, Sophie enjoys hanging out with her beautiful chow chow Snuffles, designing plushies with her twin for their brand Plushie Love, and playing shows with her band Firewalker.

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Sophie’s beloved chow chow, Snuffles.

Her goal for the rest of the year? 

“A successful website refresh for Voxels will be my main focus for the rest of the year, but I hope to learn a bit of 3D design as well.”

To make a career change into UX/UI Design like Sophie, explore UX Academy, an intensive online program that equips you with the UX/UI design skills you need to land your first product design role.

Connect with Sophie on LinkedIn and check out her portfolio.
 

author avatar

Alexa Harrison

Designlab

Content Writer

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