This month, we’re talking to UX Academy graduate Tracy Lin.
Before enrolling, Tracy was was a freelance graphic designer working full time in production management – a role she continued to fulfil alongside her studies with Designlab. We talked to Tracy her experience of the course and how she’s getting on in her new job as a UX/UI designer with a fashion group.
What made you switch from graphic design to UX design?
I found UX design naturally appealing. I dabbled in it, and undertook self-learning for over a year before I decided I wanted structure and mentorship to improve my work and my ways of thinking and seeing. I found UX Academy and intuitively knew from talking with Harish on the Designlab team that it was right for me.
What job did you land after UX Academy?
I work as a UX/UI designer at TechStyle Fashion Group in Los Angeles. I’m a member of the product team responsible for two of our brands, JustFab and Shoedazzle. The opportunity has all the characteristics that I desired in a job: autonomy, teamwork, mentorship, room for growth, value for design and innovation, to name just a few.
How was the job search?
Job hunting was easier and more enjoyable than I had imagined. I was anxious about being good enough for the market, and I mentally prepared myself for failure. To combat this self-doubt, I decided not to take myself too seriously. I had fun with the process, planning out and executing mini-challenges, like “attending a local design event and make one new connection”. I gave myself three months to find a job that excited me. In the end, it only took a few weeks.
What will your next steps be in design?
I'd like to continue building my design and leadership skills: to learn about related disciplines, work on passion projects, and engage more with the design community.
What do you know now that you wish you would’ve known when you started UX Academy?
I wish I’d known that it's okay to feel discouraged and uncomfortable. It’s natural and understandable. But it's not a good reason to lose momentum or give up prematurely. It's important, especially in hard times, to stay committed to moving forward, reminding yourself of the intentions and aspirations you had in mind at the beginning of the course. It's better to experience the pain of discipline now than the pain of regret later.
What was the hardest part of your learning journey?
It was overcoming that self-doubt, and learning to believe that I could be successful. Those who encouraged and affirmed me turned out to be right, because I graduated and I got the job.
What advice would you give to other UX Academy students?
Remember why you're doing this, and why you know it’s worth it. Write down these reasons before you start UX Academy, when your motivation is high and you’re feeling fresh. Then read it back to yourself when you need to at difficult moments during the course.
It’s common for students to feel defeated when they’re at the toughest part of the learning curve. What would you say to encourage them?
Reach out for support. There's no shame in asking for help. And remember that you won't always feel the way you feel now; feelings pass. Find a mantra that works for you. I tend to overthink, and am a bit of a perfectionist, so I adopted the mantras "don't think; just do," and "done is better than perfect". Be patient with your shortcomings and don’t be too hard on yourself. Detach yourself from outcomes to focus on the process; the process is where the magic happens.
Where do you see yourself in one year?
So much can change within a year; priorities shift with every season. I don't believe present Tracy fully comprehends what future Tracy will want and need, but I know that I seek change and welcome disruption when I've stopped learning and growing. In one year I see myself in a place of contentment, living with purpose, doing meaningful work, and giving back.
You can find out more about Tracy’s work on her website
Interested in changing careers or building valuable new skills? Check out UX Academy and apply before the next cohort. There are very limited available seats and a waiting list for each cohort. Apply now to UX Academy