Stepping into a new career with Upskill UX/UI Design
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How Philip turned his passion for design into a successful career with Upskill UX/UI

Upskill
15/07/2022
Meet Philip! After spending a few years creating websites, he realized that the development part of the process wasn’t the professional path he wanted to follow. 

“What I found passion in was the design and figuring things out: from brainstorming, creative mapping concepts, to user flows and journeys,” shared Philip. 

The natural next step was to gain the hands-on skills needed to start his UX/UI career. Philip began learning UX/UI Design by himself, but after a while, he saw the need to have someone more experienced guiding him. 

“I remember pushing myself to go through a few UX courses online, and I did but I would quickly lose motivation shortly after the start. I needed more personal attention to my work and progress."

While scrolling through his LinkedIn, Philip came across the inspiring journey of one of our Upskill UX/UI Design students - during and after the program. 

That’s how Philip found the most in-depth 3-month UX/UI Design program! It had it all – a unique learning experience with hands-on projects, trainers, and mentors who are industry experts eager to share their know-how and expertise, work in groups, and access to leading tools (ex. Figma). It was exactly what he needed to boost his career - and needless to say, he applied.  

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Three months later, and soon after graduating from the Upskill UX/UI Design program, Philip started a new career as a Junior UX Designer at Astound Commerce. How?  

Keep reading and learn about his inspiring journey toward the UX/UI industry!  

Maybe Philip’s story is your wake-up call? If you want to fast-track your career with the hands-on skills companies demand, apply to Upskill UX/UI Design by August 21!
 

Hi, Philip, can we take you back a little bit? When did you first decide you wanted to pursue a career in UX/UI?

It all started during my college years. A few friends and I started a clothing brand, and at a certain point, it needed a website. I taught myself how to make websites thanks to YouTube, and right after graduating (Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration - almost nothing to do with design), I started freelancing by creating websites for family, friends, friends of friends, etc. 

During my work, I’ve always known that development wasn’t my thing - it’s been nothing but an immense frustration, a roadblock in my process. I found passion in design, figuring things out: from brainstorming and creative mapping of concepts, to user flows and journeys - pretty much anything that goes in that bucket. I didn’t really know what I was doing back then - all those fancy words weren’t a part of my dictionary. I just knew I liked creating the websites’ visual aesthetics. 

Until one day, I came across UX (User Experience). I couldn’t believe there was such a thing! It felt like my thing, my profession, my calling even (yeah, I like getting a little spiritual when it comes to work). That’s when my interest started burning. 


Why did you join the Upskill UX/UI Design program? 

It’s very tricky to find a job with no experience when all jobs need experience, and it seems like the only way to get any experience is at a job. Vicious circle, right?  

It’s only normal, and everybody must go through it. So, I thought a good start would be by signing up for an in-depth course. I needed the excuse “I don’t feel good enough to start working because I haven’t studied this” out of the way. 

I remember pushing myself to go through a few of the popular free UX courses, and I did but I would quickly lose motivation shortly after the start. I needed more personal attention to my work and progress - I wished somebody experienced would be by my side to criticize my work and give me direction. 

Back then, I’d come across an article Ion LinkedIn about a guy who had completed the Telerik Academy Upskill UX/UI Design program and was now working on a successful project for Google. I immediately checked the program, but the admission had already ended. I registered to get a notification when a new admission started and forgot about it.

Apart from that, I have an excellent friend - a software engineer - who was very happy with his experience at Telerik Academy. That also helped in positioning the Academy as the “Hogwarts” of IT-related studies in mind. 

A few months later, the email for a new admission “knocked on my door” right when I needed it, and I didn’t think twice. I was about to become a wizard! 

What did you find most valuable in the program? 

There were a lot of valuable things in the program, but if I have chosen the most beneficial to my learning journey and gaining real-life experience in the academy, I would say:

  • working in a team on a real-life project;
  • meeting a lot of professionals with years of experience in their design-related craft;
  • getting the chance to present my work in front of people and receive feedback (that’s a big one);
  • researching, designing, and testing a real concept for an app - the same way it would happen in real life.

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What positive impact did the UX/UI Design program bring to your career? 

I gained knowledge, but most importantly - confidence - mainly from the presentations. I used the project we were building during the program as a portfolio piece, which was a few weeks before the end of the program, so what I was showing was not even complete.

And to all the designers out there - I cannot stress this enough - your work will never seem complete! Remember that. Stop overthinking and start doing. Nobody ever told me that the project in my portfolio was not complete - nobody cared - and still, I got the job. 

My first week in the company was my last week at Telerik Academy - that was crazy for me. But with a few liters of coffee, nothing is impossible. I completed the program and didn’t lose my job. Woohoo! 

You are currently working at Astound Commerce. What is it like to be a UX designer for e-commerce? How do you spend a typical workday? 

Astounding! It’s absolutely amazing, and I love it!  

Astound is a very challenging place to work. The bar is set high, making it the perfect learning opportunity. For the 6 months I’ve been there, I’ve learned more than in my 2 years being a freelancer. 

As a UX Designer at Astound, you’re assigned to a project for a big e-commerce company (if you’re interested, have a look at the company’s case studies), or you develop yourself by learning from company resources, NNG or Baymard. If you’re interested in UX and haven’t heard about those, check them out.  

Simply put, you’re either working on a project or not. And when you’re not, you learn new things and help the company develop its resources and processes. I personally love that variety. It keeps me interested and motivated – no two days are alike in Astound. 

Being a UX Designer for e-commerce goes beyond UX. You need to understand different e-commerce verticals, read tons of research and usability testing, and know the best practices. NNG and Baymard are both great sources for that. 

What motivates you to keep learning new skills? Which habits of yours help you the most? 

To me, productivity equals a good daily routine. It’s all about building the proper habits and staying consistent. I know it’s a lot easier said than done. I strongly recommend an excellent book on the topic- “Atomic Habits” by James Clear. 

However, we could talk all day about different schemes and strategies to overcome laziness and procrastination, and how to find ways to feel more motivated and inspired. And at the end of the day, that’s always going to be very personal. 

To be productive, you first need to love what you do and to love what you do, you must find yourself. To find yourself, you need to try things. 
 
Simply put, just try stuff, don’t overthink (as a rule of thumb - try doing more than thinking), and always give yourself time to rest - time away from work without even thinking about it. That last one was something I discovered recently, bringing tons of positive changes to my life. 

Oh yeah, and don’t forget to drink tons of water. 

Before we say goodbye, we have one last question. What advice would you give someone thinking about becoming a UX/UI designer? 

I think you need to be able to have deep and thoughtful conversations with yourself - yes, if that means talking to yourself when you’re alone, then do it. The best way for me was through journaling, writing my thoughts down, and developing them. Journaling is a big one, especially when you feel confused and unsure about what to do. 

Different people want different things in life. You need to ask yourself what you want. Would you like a nice job that you enjoy but do not overwork yourself and have a very balanced life with lots of traveling, being a good parent and friend, and just being more focused on the world outside work? Or would you like to find a job in which you’ll grow and grow and grow and learn and learn and learn and achieve, and then one day maybe teach people how to become better at it (of course, in any case, not forget to spend time with your family - that’s the most important thing). Set your priorities straight. Listen to yourself. Find out what you really like. It’s not easy, but life tends to get a little more colorful once you do. 

Oh, and don’t forget to be thankful for what you already have. And remember, you already have enough, and you’ll only do more just because you decided to, not because you feel pressured that you need to. Listening to yourself means listening to yourself, not others. 

 
Want to supercharge your career? Apply by August 21 for the Telerik Academy Upskill UX/UI Design and become a well-rounded professional.
Upskill
15/07/2022

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