From a graphic designer to а UX at Progress with Telerik Academy Upskill

Success Stories

From a freshly graduated graphic designer to а UX Designer at Progress with the help of Telerik Academy Upskill

Meet Vela Georgieva, a UX Designer at Progress, one of the leading tech companies in Bulgaria. A job she landed just two months after graduating from Telerik Academy Upskill UX/UI Design.

We are happy to have the opportunity to talk to Vela about her journey from “freshly graduated graphic designer and self-taught UX/UI designer with little work experience,” as she describes her experience before the Upskill UX/UI Design program, to becoming a part of the Progress MOVEit team.

photo of vela a telerik academy upskill ux ui design graduate

And it’s interesting that for Vela it all started with a Medium article...

When did you first decide you wanted to pursue a career in UX/UI?

I studied Engineering Design with a focus on graphic design at the Technical University of Sofia. In 2016, after my first year, I wanted to start exploring some career possibilities that might be out there for me. So, I started googling some stuff about design - for example, what it takes to be a great designer, what hard and soft skills are required, what is the current state of this market.  

While reading some articles on Medium, I came across one about retraining from graphic to UX design. I was surprised that I have never heard about this strange thing called UX before that, so I started avidly reading about it. At first, everything seemed so abstract because UX is all about doing design THE right way, which is believed to be the default approach.  

I told myself, “Wait, isn’t all this so trivial and easy to do? Aren’t all things in our lives designed to work in our favor?” But then I realized that good UX is, in fact, invisible. Someone worked hard to make your favourite app usable, efficient, and visually appealing.  

One thing I knew for sure: UX can provide immense ROI to every aspect of our lives. UX is not just a fancy job title - it's a way of thinking, a way of improving the quality of your own life with that kind of thinking. 

Why did you join Telerik Academy’s UX/UI Design program?

Taking into consideration that there is no conventional education for UX design in Bulgaria, it is really hard to find job opportunities in the industry without having a significant amount of work experience or at least a solid portfolio with a few extensive projects.   

Telerik Academy is the most respected tech-ed institution in Bulgaria. After seeing the announcement for the Upskill UX/UI Design program, I was immediately drawn to it because I already had solid theoretical and practical skills, which I wanted to “upskill” and further develop in such an immersive program.  

As a freshly graduated graphic designer and self-taught UX/UI designer with little work experience, I was more than confident that my enrolment in Telerik Academy will undoubtedly provide me with the hands-on experience I truly needed to start building competence in the field.

What previous design experience do you have? What were you doing before the Academy?

Before the program, I had only the theoretical knowledge from what I had studied at university, plus several online UX courses. My practical experience included an internship as a graphic designer and a few months working at a startup company as an entry-level UI/UX designer. While studying at Telerik Academy, I was also enrolled at New Bulgarian University, pursuing a master’s degree in Design of Electronic Publications and Websites. 

What did you find most valuable in the program? What knowledge and skills gained throughout the course do you currently put to practice?

The one thing I am most grateful for is that I filled a lot of the knowledge gaps I had then.  

We followed a well-structured design process, covering “the best-case scenario” about how things are meant to be done. It gave me invaluable insights into every aspect of UX - from research, ideation, information architecture to designing pixel-perfect high-fidelity prototypes. Additionally, the opportunity to learn and work with fellow designers taught me about the importance of teamwork, communication, and presentation skills.  

My favourite insight from the program was understanding how crucial a design system is for any product. Building one gave me a solid start to focus on the most important things rather than just nudging with pixels and getting lost exploring different variations of colour. This was so game-changing for me because designing UI is time and effort-consuming. You can easily fall in love with the beauty of UI and forget about the actual UX.  

screenshot of vela's final project at telerik academy upskill ux ui design program

How much time did you put into learning?

It’s hard to measure. While studying at the Telerik Academy, I strived to learn something new every day because the program was so intense, even for me as a person who already had a design background. There were times when I got carried away, resulting in a few sleepless but extremely productive nights.  

But all in all, I think that 1-2 hours per workday and 2-4 hours during the weekend is a reasonable time to get up to speed with the curriculum and the homework.  

What have you been able to achieve since graduating from Telerik Academy?

One month after graduating, I had a few job interviews lined up - one of them being with my current employer, Progress. I applied for the UX design intern position at Progress. During the recruiting process, I had the chance to demonstrate the skills I’d acquired at the Academy. I am more than confident to say that Telerik Academy has contributed to my success in each step of the hiring process. I received the official Progress job offer 2 months after graduation.  

I am happy to share that after the internship, I was offered a regular position at Progress. Now I work as a junior UX designer on the Progress MOVEit team. I’m proud and grateful for the opportunity to work on the design of the worldwide leader in managed file transfer software.  

Please tell us in a couple of sentences why you would recommend the UX/UI Design program to other designers?

There goes without saying that the Telerik Academy Upskill UI/UX Design program is undoubtedly the best decision you can ever make in terms of levelling up your (UX design) game. The program is proven to be the most successful of its kind, without any analogue in Bulgaria. I will try to elaborate on a few specific reasons below if you allow me:

  • Learning from the expertise of leading professionals coming from the private sector will give you priceless insights to edge cases you’ve never imagined.    
  • The impeccable design of the whole learning program makes you “connect the dots” in the curriculum so easily - everything is well-justified and follows a natural order.  
  • Getting to know fellow designers, hungry for knowledge, ready to give 100% of themselves to succeed in this challenging journey, brings a powerful vibe you can use both as inspiration and a networking opportunity.  
  • The program will unquestionably provide you with a tremendous competitive advantage over other job candidates. On the one hand, the certificate will solidify your CV, making it attractive to HR professionals. On the other, your course project will boost your performance in a technical/management interview, enabling you to demonstrate such an extensive evidence-based UX/UI case study, not everyone can.
Vela knew what she wanted to do with her career. She mastered the UX/UI design principles in 3-months with Telerik Academy, and she got the job. You can do it too – with our Upskill UX/UI program. 

Check Vela’s projects here.

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