Side Hustle Review; UX/UI Designer

 

What is UX/UI Design?

The best thing about the field of UX/UI Design is that there is no predestined path to get there. UX/UI Designers come from just about all backgrounds considering the multidisciplinary nature of developing digital products. UX Design refers to User Experience Design (mostly relating to digital products) which includes roles in strategy/content, wireframing/prototyping, and execution/process. UI Design refers to User Interface, which is everything the user sees and interacts with. The UI Designer is responsible for branding, graphics development, design research, user guides, UI prototyping, and communicating with developers. As you can see, both roles are highly interdisciplinary and many designers dabble in both UX and UI processes.

UX/UI Design is essentially the role that bridges the gap between marketing, business, and tech. The commonly shared skill of most Designers is their ability to understand human behavior, anticipating user needs, and craft accessible beautifully designed interfaces for all platforms. Designers are highly observational, creative, and natural problem solvers. If there is a problem, UX Designers jump in to offer creative problem solving activities and drills to make people think and create solutions.

 

 

 

My path into UX/UI can be accurately portrayed by the image below:

 

 

Post-Grad Confusion                                                         UX/UI Bootcamp                                                                                        Now

 

 

After graduating from college with a degree in International Studies and Environmental Sustainability from AU in D.C., I was a bit unclear what exactly I wanted to do and where I wanted my career to go. Like most recent college grads, I felt that deep sense of rejection after applying to numerous jobs I thought my five paid and unpaid internships coupled with 5+ years of customer service experience had prepared me for. I was wrong and quickly realized I needed to acquire some hard technical skills in this modern world if I wanted to get out of deadend administrative roles that left me depleted and unfulfilled (dramatic— I know).

 

While I had accumulated a repertoire of soft skills that have helped me immensely in understanding human behavior, communications, and conducting qualitative research,  I was eager to grow my skill sets and launch a creative career in tech. I had always turned to art and design as a hobby and became self-taught in various design tools such as a InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator.  I found myself spending hours on these programs turning my physical art pieces into digital versions and creating various web pages.

A UX/UI Bootcamp

After working four months as a temporary Operations manager for a tech startup in San Francisco and catering on the weekends, I decided to move to Barcelona and enroll in an immersive 3 month UX/UI Design bootcamp. I was fortunate enough to live with family and save enough money to live in Spain and pay for the course.  I temp-ed for the flexibility and freedom it offered and had a diverse amount of experiences that ultimately lead me to the field of UX/UI (and I highly recommend it to those unsure what they want to do after college).  Sure, I frequently compared myself to my peers with stable 9-5 jobs and a 401k, however at 23 years old I realized I did not need this type of security and was quite confident about my abilities to create the life I wanted (and eventually settle into the 9-5 lifestyle…or not). I stopped comparing my journey to the people around me and made my way to Barcelona for my immersive 185+ hour of hands-on UX/UI education— all taught in Espanol.

I started the course in January of 2019 and presented my final project in April. Each week during the course we were taught from UX/UI professional in the field about their day to day work practices. The course was taught from 9-5 Monday through Friday with lectures, hand-on practice, and brainstorming and ideation activities. All of the education we received was directly used in ideating,creating, and designing our own applications in a group setting. We identified real problems and then crafted solutions. My partner and I created a household application for roommates to organize cleaning and communication. We conducted market research, user interviews, and user testing. We also created the entire brand and designed every piece of the application which you can test here. Feel free to read more about my specific UX/UI design processes and my case study here.

After the Bootcamp

After the bootcamp, I found a paid internship with a design experience agency in Barcelona (the only way for me to work/live in Spain full time), which required me to return back to California to get my visa (where I am now). In the meanwhile, I embarked on my freelance journey as a UX/UI Designer and writer to help support my journey in Spain. I seek to gain more experience with an agency and get a better understanding of my desired specialization in UX/UI Design. Most creatives know that your environment plays an incredible role in your productivity and creativity, which is why I chose to skip out on the high-paying UX/UI salaries in North America to continue working and living in Spain…for now. However, UX/UI Design is a highly lucrative field and entry-level designers can make around 60-80k and more experienced designers can earn around 100k+. The opportunities and endless in UX/UI Design and these skills are in high demand. In addition, the demand for UX/UI freelancers is also on the rise and freelance designers can charge $20-50 per hour (depending on experience).

The only con I can come up with regarding the field of UX/UI design is the perfectionistic tendencies most designers endure with clients and themselves. In any creative role, there is a lot of pressure to perform and create beautiful products in quick turnaround times. However sometimes the inspiration is simply not there, but sites like Dribbble, Pinterest, and Behance make designer-blocks easy to overcome with thousands of design inspiration. UX/UI Design is all about identifying problems and creating solutions which requires a high tenacity for failure. Fail fast and move on, that’s the way I like to think of designing products.

 

If you have any questions about making the jump into UX/UI Design or my bootcamp experience, please contact me through my linkedin.

 

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