UXDIR 6/29 Graduation Day photo!

I recently graduated from General Assembly’s User Experience Design Immersive Remote program. It was a 3 month bootcamp where my classmates and I took a dive into the principles of UX Design and the UX Design process. It was truly an experience to remember, and I was able to meet some great people (who also happen to be great researchers, designers and thinkers). As the class was ending, I decided to take on the task of creating a class profile, as a way to capture the thoughts of my classmates as they embark on their journeys beyond the class.

Through 1 on 1 interviews, I aimed to discover a few things about each of my classmates:
a. Current Location?
b. Why UX Design?
c. What kind of role are you looking to get? (Generalist vs Specialization)
d. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? (in the UX world)
e. Any advice for those looking into the bootcamp experience?

Everyone has a unique journey, so in the following article, you’ll receive 24 unique perspectives (just in case you were looking to add to your never ending list of resources and opinions).

This is also the start a longitudinal study (because in the end I am a researcher at heart). I plan to follow up as we progress throughout life, so this is the first step in a (hopefully) long-lasting community outreach project.

Without further ado, I present to you my UXDIR 6/29 Cohort!
(P.S. if you want to connect with anyone, you can click their name to head to their LinkedIn)

Shani Millar-Vaughn

Current Location
Fayetteville, AR
Why UX?
I had close connections with someone who worked with UX designers. That person pushed me in this direction because I was unhappy in my previous industry, and they felt my empathetic characteristics matched well with those of UX designers.
Generalist or Specialist?
UX Generalist — I want industry experience before I move into a more specialized role
Where do you see yourself in the UX world in 5 years?
I see myself being a Project Manager. I want to work closely with people and really develop and bring out the best in others.
Advice for those looking into the bootcamp experience?
Ask questions! Your instructors and classmates are there to help you out, and someone may be able to unlock knowledge for you in a way you didn’t think of before. A lot of my own learning came from asking classmates who had a better grasp on a topic than I did.

DaiJea Fuller

Current Location
Gaffney, SC
Why UX?
COVID threw several wrenches in my plans, and I wanted to find a new career
Generalist or Specialist?
Generalist — I want to learn more skills at this point in time.
Where do you see yourself in the UX world in 5 years?
Down the line, I see myself in a job where I’m using my UX skills as opposed to customer service. I want to be able to work at a job with benefits.
Advice for those looking into the bootcamp experience?
Don’t pay for Sketch — It’s a lie.
Actually talk to your cohort members.
Don’t be afraid to look through all your bootcamp options to make sure you find the right fit for you, rather than jumping on the bandwagon of the big names.

Madison Massey

Current Location
New York City (Brooklyn)
Why UX?
A friend of mine that works as a UX Designer recommended the field to me. I also knew people who had gone through bootcamps. I was torn between coding and UX, but UX stood out because it seemed like I’d be working in teams and collaborating more. I wanted to interact with the people around me.
Generalist or Specialist?
While I’m definitely open to a generalist role, I want to start embracing my research side, so looking into UX Research. People are interesting, so I want to be curious and explore them.
Where do you see yourself in the UX world in 5 years?
I don’t know, honestly. I have a list of places I want to apply, but I guess my goal is to work for a medium-large company, and advance in my career. I want to work at a place where I can grow and advance within the company. I also want to be happy with my work culture, and find work/life balance!
Advice for those looking into the bootcamp experience?
Do your research, because they’re all different! Everyone has a different fit for them. Also, it’s a big commitment so once you jump in, trust the process.

Breana Panaguiton

Current Location
Marina Del Rey, CA
Why UX?
I’ve always been attracted to learning technical skills and I wanted to be able to learn a technical skill and relate it back to real people and helping real people. I thought I was helping people by being in the wellness industry previously, but ultimately I felt I wanted something with more of a creative output and opportunity for learning. UX Design was an intersection between technical skills and creative aspects, so being in this industry would allow me to exercise all the things I cared about.
Generalist or Specialist?
Generalist for now. While I like research, I’m more of an introvert, so it’s a struggle for me. UI/ Interaction Design comes a lot more naturally for me.
Where do you see yourself in the UX world in 5 years?
Working for a company that has similar goals and values that align with my own — technical, innovative, teamwork emphasis, diversity, transparent and collaborative company culture, eco-conscious if possible, humane, and cool people. The reason why I work has always been important to me. It has to be something that I fully believe in.
Advice for those looking into the bootcamp experience?
A few things to consider —
Time (know your own situation and if it’s the right time to start a program), Budget (look at your whole financial situation…for example GA has the Catalyst program that lets me pay back my fees after getting a job),
knowing what kind of learning style fits you best (bootcamps can be fast-paced and may not be the best fit for everyone).
You’ll get resources, there’s a schedule, and you often have peers to support you through the learning process, and you can’t get that through a self-taught process. But know what’s right for yourself.

Shelby King

Current Location
Atlanta, GA
Why UX?
I feel like it chose me. I knew before COVID that I was considering a career change, so when I was laid off, I was looking into classes on web design just to provide some structure to my day. Eventually I found a UX master class, and it just clicked. I remember pausing frequently during the course and telling my husband about all the cool things I was learning! Figured I would go ahead full steam and do the bootcamp program at GA.
Generalist or Specialist?
Logical next step for me is UX research, but I’m also open to other positions since I naturally fell into in project management, design planning and copy writing during projects in the course.
Where do you see yourself in the UX world in 5 years?
Right now I feel like Bohemian Rhapsody — “anywhere the wind blows.” I’d love to move into a more corporate setting where there are opportunities for career growth down and opportunities for me to step into mentorship down the line. I want to be able to help people on their UX journey in 5 years.
Advice for those looking into the bootcamp experience?
I think the biggest thing is just trust the process and be mindful — be present with the experience, try not to stress as much as possible, and embrace each step of the process. It will help you form connections, which are super important.

Annie Zheng

Current Location
New York City (Queens)
Why UX?
My friend introduced me to UX. After I left university, I was teaching art, but I felt like I was becoming a teacher first, rather than an artist. My friend heard about my struggles, and she mentioned how a lot of her friends who had similar feelings went into UX, so I looked into it. I discovered it involved things I was already using, such as empathy (as a teacher, you need empathy) and usability tests (I was already making lesson plans). A lot of my soft skills seemed to match up. Plus, a bootcamp seemed like a better option than going to a Master’s program.
Generalist or Specialist?
Currently more interested in Interaction Design/UI Design. I like designing the solutions, rather than figuring out the problems. All the micro-animations, micro-interactions, they make your prototypes/apps feel real, and I want to be a part of making that happen.
Where do you see yourself in the UX world in 5 years?
Any kind of role that will allow me to create something (whether digital or physical) that will be able to have an impact on the world. I also want to be in a lead role, like a Lead Product Designer. I want to create, but I also want to mentor as well down the line.
Advice for those looking into the bootcamp experience?
Be open-minded. Let go of any expectations you have, because when you go in with expectations, your judgment might be clouded, and you’ll miss out on something (it’s like going to an event and watching it through your phone rather than watching it in person).
If something fails, there’s always some kind of learning experience. And most important is always keep learning.

Dan Kossoy

Current Location
Potomac, MD
Why UX?
I was actually first introduced to human-centered design in my freshman year of college. My entrepreneurship course had all the students in our class watch a news report covering IDEO, where they showcased their design thinking approach to product development. It really felt like love at first sight and hit all the entrepreneurial and creative notes I knew I was searching for. That sparked interest pushed me to focus my studies on the field of marketing, where I felt that I would be able to explore the intersection of creativity and business. I really enjoyed my education in marketing, but the more I looked ahead, the more I saw that I wasn’t quite fulfilling my creative problem solving needs as much as I had once hoped to. That reflection guided me back to the roots, researching IDEO with a more objective eye and discovering that it was actually product design that more closely matched what I was looking for. From there, despite having great interest in physical products (inspired by IDEO), I chose to focus my efforts on UX, tipped to the digital side due to a fascination for cutting-edge technology and an interest in exploring such a budding and dynamic field.
Generalist or Specialist?
I’m iffy…there’s definitely certain areas that call to me more, but I think that in terms of “breaking into UX,” my plan is to look for generalist roles. I also think that some experience as a generalist will give me more perspective and confidence on making that call a few years down the line.
Where do you see yourself in the UX world in 5 years?
From a personal standpoint: still motivated. I’m really inspired by tenured professionals in the field that display a constant hunger for growth and I hope to emulate those role models. I’ve also been fortunate enough to have some great mentors guide me along my journey and would love to pay that forward by mentoring newer designers myself, sharing any wisdom I can, and learning from fresh perspectives. In terms of career, I think the idea of taking on more managerial responsibilities would be exciting. I have some managerial experience in the past and find a lot of fulfillment in big-picture, strategic thinking, as well as in working with and leading others towards a common goal. On that note, I’d also love to be with an organization that is led by strong values and works towards creating positive change in the world — a place doing work that I’m proud to put my name behind.
Advice for those looking into the bootcamp experience?
Do your research, know what a bootcamp is good for, and where it falls short. Just make sure it’s an informed decision and that your expectations are clear. If you choose to do it, trust the process, ask a lot of questions, push yourself to build friendships with those around you, and put in what you hope to get out.

Alexis Wright

Current Location
Austin, TX
Why UX?
I’d been a graphic designer for 8 years. I was kind of falling out of love with it, and I found UX through dabbling with web design. There’s so much more to it than making things pretty; I get to interact with users and clients, and go through more of the design process.
Generalist or Specialist?
I want to specialize in UI, but I do want to be involved in the research process, so maybe a Generalist role with an emphasis in UI.
Where do you see yourself in the UX world in 5 years?
I hope to have a lot of work experience and create a really strong network. I really want to make sure I’m immersed in the UX/UI design world, because I’m very passionate about it. I’d hope to be a senior member of a team, but I want to make sure my designs are changing the world. I would like to be a team leader, and mentor as well. I learned that I really enjoyed teaching people design during the class, so I want to share my knowledge.
Advice for those looking into the bootcamp experience?
There’s a lot of resources out there, but you won’t get to fully know the experience unless you’ve talked to someone who’s been through the process. I suggest you look for someone through LinkedIn or through a google search of portfolios.
Look at the type of learning (face to face vs self-driven).
Don’t be afraid of the price tag!

Trina Tuazon

Current Location
Houston, TX
Why UX?
I had a background in healthcare (behavioral therapy, physical therapy, EMT school). I really enjoyed spending time with people, working with clients and connecting with them. As I was working with them, there was a gratification from watching them heal, and I always enjoyed that. One day I met up with a friend who was a UX designer, and it piqued my interest. Her selling point was that she was able to connect with people, and she got to design beautiful things. The light bulb went off in my head, because I wanted to express my creative side. It just felt right, and with everything that happened in 2020, I had the opportunity to dive into UX, so I tried it.
Generalist or Specialist?
I wouldn’t mind a Generalist role, so I can continue to work on all aspects of UX. I really enjoyed Usability Testing, and seeing the end product come to life, so might want to get either into Research or a Design specialization once I have more experience.
Where do you see yourself in the UX world in 5 years?
I want to gain a higher position, but in terms of motivations, I want to be able to help people the way that I’ve been helped. There’s been so many people as I’m trying to network that have been so open to sharing their experiences. There’s so many people out there with helpful advice. I want to be able to pay it forward, and give out similar advice.
Advice for those looking into the bootcamp experience?
I heard this a lot, and it’s that you get what you give to the program. I did have questions at first going in, but I found the more that you dive deep into the craft, and learn from your peers and instructors, the more you’ll get out of your time.

Kat M Pham

Current Location
Seattle, WA
Why UX?
The principles involved in UX are something I really enjoy. I was working in Second Life and doing Journey Mapping, User Flows before I even understood the concepts. I like to be able to see my work come to fruition. I also love understanding and getting to know people and seeing what drives them, then turning that into a unique, personalized experience.
Generalist or Specialist?
I would love to specialize, but right now I consider myself as a Generalist with more focus on the Design portion of the process, since I already have skills within the design sphere.
Where do you see yourself in the UX world in 5 years?
I hope I’ll be working at an AR/VR company. I’m already looking at companies who utilize it for consumer areas, and I want to be part of building that experience. I’m also looking into how can we approach AR/VR in an ethical manner…I want to use that technology for good. I also want to be a mentor to other UX designers or whatever the field is called in 5 years. I feel like it’s a great field for a lot of people who fit the profile of a UX designer, and we need more!
Advice for those looking into the bootcamp experience?
Get a comfortable chair!
Tools will come and go, so don’t get too invested in one tool.
Divorce yourself from your designs and don’t let critiques get you down. From critique, there is only room for growth. Also, be able to back up your designs.
Learn from everyone that you meet — everyone has a different, unique experience, so there’s so much to learn.
Stay curious — It will help you thrive in this environment.
Learn how you respond to stress

Tylean Coleman

Current Location
Pensacola, FL
Why UX?
So I feel like I’ve always been a creative person, but I don’t feel like creativity was ever a well-known career path when I was growing up. Marketing stood out to me in high school as it seemed like it was more of a creative path, so I stuck to it. In college, I became the school’s AMA (American Marketing Association) branch President, and through that I was able to design posters, speak, and gather creatives together. Once I graduated, I decided to move and live closer to mentors and look for Marketing jobs. I worked for a newspaper designing print and digital ads, and it hit me that I didn’t feel 100% satisfied about my career, because I wasn’t able to release all my creativity day to day. The pandemic hit, I was browsing YouTube, and I happened to come across a video about UX. I watched it, kept digging, and I decided to take a chance and go for it. I’m glad I did, because I feel like I’ve found my path.
Generalist or Specialist?
I’ve always been a Generalist kind of person, and I’m not opposed to starting off that way. My end goal is definitely to specialize in the UI design realm.
Where do you see yourself in the UX world in 5 years?
My dream would be working in a city where I could go without having my own car, and be more eco friendly (aka working from home). However, I still want flexibility to go into the office. I like to be able to develop relationships ,which I feel I can do remotely, but I want that in-person connection. I also want to be able to find mentorship opportunities, and a culture that promotes a healthy lifestyle, both physically and mentally. I want to be able to take time off and travel, as well as work hard. Hopefully moving from a Junior role to the next step!
Advice for those looking into the bootcamp experience?
Have fun with it! Don’t take it too seriously, because that will probably happen naturally since you’re taking a financial and time risk.
It’ll be easy to fall into the habit of staying up all night and stress, but take care of yourself, and stay grounded so that you’re making sure to enjoy the moments along the way.
Find that work best friend! Having someone who you can vent to, and also work well with made a big impact for me, and it’ll help you destress as you go through the class.

Cary DiCristina

Current Location
Atlanta, GA
Why UX?
As someone who’s been in both the analog and digital world, nothing is worse than using a product/going onto a site and having a bad experience. I had some experience with UX several years ago in IT, and it always fascinated me because it looked like the level of graphic design that I could handle. I worked my way up to PM, and I realize now that I got a skillset from that experience, but there was still this feeling of “I didn’t do that.” I was intrigued by the holistic process that stretched across multiple disciplines. More recently as a filmmaker trying to get stuff together, I wanted to tie in design with filmmaking. I wanted to be able to build my own business brand and help other small businesses get more recognition. UX seemed like the connective tissue to help make an impact, since I want to have long term partners rather than just make quick fixes.
Generalist or Specialist?
I think probably Generalist, because as a business owner I can bring in specialists to help me out. I like exploring all the parts because they help me spawn ideas, but I feel like I’ll need a counterbalance.
Where do you see yourself in the UX world in 5 years?
I don’t know if I’ll be in the UX world, but I know UX will be a part of my world. As a storyteller, I will now go and think about how my stories are being presented to and received by the audience. Content will need to change, so understanding the user will be super important in terms of storytelling. I feel like UX will help me set my brand apart from other content creators.
Advice for those looking into the bootcamp experience?
Be ready to be hit with information overload. You’ll be thrown in the deep end, and you gotta be ready to swim.
Do your research, make sure it’s the right financial fit for you, and makes sense for you at the time.
Figure out what kind of learner you are.

Karina Gonzalez

Current Location
Atlanta, GA
Why UX?
A big reason I chose UX Design was that the design aspect of it really stood out to me as I watched YouTube videos about it. I had been working at a startup, and one of my goals was to actually get training so I could join the design team. Then COVID happened, I was laid off, and I was struggling a little bit. But once I regrouped, I realized this is the time I could really look into UX. I found that it tied into my desire to connect and understand people, and also mixed in the design aspect since UX is about creating for people.
Generalist or Specialist?
Honestly, that’s something I’m still trying to figure out myself, so for now my options are open.
Where do you see yourself in the UX world in 5 years?
Ultimately, I want to work for a mid-size company. One that has a collaborative culture, and is growth-based. I could see myself being a Senior Designer and taking on more of a leadership role.
Advice for those looking into the bootcamp experience?
It’s a big commitment time wise, but don’t doubt it. The experience with the community, and the time put in makes it worth it. All things that are worth it in the end are going to have some sort of struggle.

Annie Im

Current Location
Kentucky → Baltimore traveler
Why UX?
I saw a lot of job opportunities for it when I was in school, so I wanted to get into it.
Generalist or Specialist?
Generalist role. I enjoy both research and design, so I don’t want to limit myself currently.
Where do you see yourself in the UX world in 5 years?
Well I can say I don’t see myself doing freelance. I do see myself in a higher management position, like a Senior Designer. I want to get to a point where I feel like I know what I’m doing, and I want to be recognized by my peers for my work in the field.
Advice for those looking into the bootcamp experience?
Do it in person if you can. If you have everyone in the same general location, it’s easier to make friends. Also, the computer can be a distraction.

Reena Kaur

Current Location
Detroit, MI
Why UX?
I honestly didn’t know it existed, so my brother in law introduced me. I had my own start-up business, where I had already been doing the process, but I didn’t know the name for it. COVID hit, and I was considering going back to school, so I looked into bootcamps, did some networking, and found General Assembly. I heard a lot of positive things, so I decided to take a chance.
Generalist or Specialist?
I feel like I would like to specialize at some point, but I think I’ll be a Generalist for now. There’s so much left for me to learn in the world of UX.
Where do you see yourself in the UX world in 5 years?
I’d be open to bringing back my start-up business (my own brand) and applying what I learned about the UX process to that business.
Advice for those looking into the bootcamp experience?
UX bootcamps are a good place to start if you’re feeling lost or confused. Even if you don’t end up doing UX, the courses will teach you skills that you can transfer to a lot of areas. Use it not as the end result, but as a stepping stone to your next goal.
Ask yourself what kind of learner you are (visual vs hands-on).
It’s a lot of work, and it’s a lot of dedication, so what you put in you’ll get out. Also, don’t expect the bootcamp to just hand you a job at the end.

Kristen Nichols

Current Location
New York City (Brooklyn)
Why UX?
I was looking to make a career shift from the Yoga and Wellness Industry. I’d heard about UX like 5 years ago, and it combined creativity, psychology, and empathy (which I value). I was just naturally aware of how much website/app design had an impact on me, and I wanted to help people through good design.
Generalist or Specialist?
I’d like to do more Generalist work since I have a lot to learn, but I really want to eventually specialize in UI Design. I just felt like I was having a good time doing it, and I can get lost in it.
Where do you see yourself in the UX world in 5 years?
I’m really open for opportunities. I’m hoping that I’m in a job that I care about, that creates some good in the world. I want to have work/life balance, financial stability, and be interacting positively with the world.
Advice for those looking into the bootcamp experience?
Make sure you have an extra monitor!
Trust the process. It is not a long process, but it’s long enough for you to get lost. Just do the work, don’t worry about the results too much, and just believe you’re on the right path if you just keep showing up.

Christina Jeong

Current Location
Washington, D.C
Why UX?
My first intro to UX was when I was doing Graphic Design, which was cool, but didn’t feel super fulfilling. At the time, I was working at a Cafe, and this guy came up and introduced himself, and asked if I was satisfied with what I was working on. I said no, and he told me he was an Instructional Associate for General Assembly. He told me about the program, and about UX. I was amazed that a random stranger came up and shared all this information. I wanted to be around people like that.
Generalist or Specialist?
Right now, I’d be looking for more of a Generalist role to work on my research skills, but I’d like to focus on Interaction/UI design in the future.
Where do you see yourself in the UX world in 5 years?
I want a Senior UX Design position! More-so than working at a big corporate company, I feel like a design agency would be nice. I feel like I’d have more creative license.
Advice for those looking into the bootcamp experience?
You’ll need time to get used to the workload.
Make sure to allocate time for self-care — It can be overwhelming between long lectures and projects. Sometimes because you’re so focused on something, you might miss the most important points. It’s important to refresh and come back and have fresh eyes.

Jay Kendrick

Current Location
Atlanta, GA
Why UX?
When I first heard about UX, I thought it was just UI and building apps. I was forced into a new situation because of COVID, and I started to dive deeper into what UX really was. I have a design background (worked as graphic designer for 9 years doing a lot of branding work), but my career didn’t feel as fulfilling and exciting as I had initially thought. I found GA, and I decided to dive in.
Generalist or Specialist?
I definitely know my place on the UX T (inside jokes, yay), and that’s under Interaction Design/Visual Design. I could see myself being a Generalist as well.
Where do you see yourself in the UX world in 5 years?
Don’t feel like I need to be management, but I want to be able to have influence in the company that I work for in some capacity. Honestly a creative agency sounds nice.
Advice for those looking into the bootcamp experience?
Have the time to dedicate. It’s a life changing adventure, and you don’t want too many outside distractions.
Have a nice space to work in that won’t interfere with your learning.

Destinee Camacho

Current Location
San Jose, CA
Why UX?
I wanted to look more into the tech industry since I live in California. I looked into coding school, but I had a hard time…however they also sent out info about UX Design. I found out that UX is offered through bootcamps, and doesn’t require a lot of school.
Generalist or Specialist?
After consideration, I’m finding that as much as I would like to specialize, I’ll probably become more of a Generalist given the job market. I still have a lot of skills that I want to learn.
Where do you see yourself in the UX world in 5 years?
I’m currently back in school trying to be the first person from my family to get a degree, so hopefully I’m done with that! I also want to be out of my parents house, with a comfortable position in UX. I hope to be able to go and travel as well.
Advice for those looking into the bootcamp experience?
I can only speak for my own experience from this UX design bootcamp, but — Get a planner! It sounds cliche, but it really helps.
Time box yourself, as it’s easy to fall behind.
Don’t get yourself down, and be open to learning more material.

Deuce Bello

Current Location
Houston, TX
Why UX?
I chose UX design because I wanted to make a new path for myself outside of Athletics. It seemed like a perfect fit because you can create, which is something I’ve enjoyed doing since I was young. I feel lucky to have found it.
Generalist or Specialist?
Generalist role. I do eventually want to branch out and be specialized, but right now I’m a sponge to all things UX.
Where do you see yourself in the UX world in 5 years?
I would like to be enjoying a significant salary, but on top of that, I want to just be more knowledgeable. Like one of our instructors in the course.
Advice for those looking into the bootcamp experience?
If you’re nervous about it going in, just follow your gut feeling. It’s tough, but keep going, because it’s worth it in the end.
Keep your thoughts positive.

Widlin Ducatel

Current Location
Atlanta, GA
Why UX?
A few years ago, I was an Engineering major, and I decided to take an entrepreneurial route. I had a life changing event, and I was forced into changing my lifestyle. I wasn’t able to go to work for a while, and all the money I had saved went towards my expenses. With my free time, I was searching for things to do to be productive. I found GA and was intrigued by UX Design. I felt like UX design called out to me because it was a perfect balance of being technical and being creative. I like the feeling of creating something and being able to make an impact. As a designer, there’s so many avenues to take, and I feel like I’ll never get bored. UX can be applied to so many different areas, and it sparked that part of me that I had buried for so long. I knew this is what I wanted to do.
Generalist or Specialist?
It depends on the company and niche I look into. I think Generalist — Specalist is the right name for what I want. I want a broad spectrum of skills, but I want to specialize in a few things like Research, problem solving, and working with business structures. I approach design from both the business side, and the consumer side.
Where do you see yourself in the UX world in 5 years?
Making money for sure, I can’t lie. I see money as a tool to get me to where I want to be in life…not out of greed, but out of necessity. I want to build a legacy for my family. In UX, I’d like to work with a diverse portfolio of companies. From there, I want to take my experiences to start building my own personal network in order to start working on some of my entrepreneurial ideas, or to create a UX firm. I’m always on the path of continuous growth.
Advice for those looking into the bootcamp experience?
Know yourself! Know if this is for you. You need to be resposnsible and driven towards growing and developing. You have to make the effort to reach out for resources, and network.
If you’re looking for a quick pivot, or a quick way to dip your foot in a field, I say go for it! There’s a stigma that if you don’t go to college then you haven’t accomplished anything, but I don’t believe that’s true. There are many alternatives that can get you skills that you can apply right away. In the tech world, if you can prove your skillset, you can make it.
Bootcamps are like hitting the ground running. Dedicate the time, and you’re going to build skills that you can use right away.
Bootcamps force you to be innovative, and think outside of the box! You have to be able to be adaptable.

Libby Abizaid

Current Location
San Francisco, CA
Why UX?
I had worked in Tech Sales for a few years. I like the companies, I enjoyed working with customers, but I wanted to do something more creative. I looked into Marketing, but it wasn’t what I was looking for. I talked with designers, and realized that UX was a perfect meld of my creative and problem solving skills.
Generalist or Specialist?
Generalist — specifically Product Design roles. I want UI to be a part of the role that I’m in. Ultimately, I see myself as a Generalist on a medium size team where I can grow and have opportunities to find a mentor.
Where do you see yourself in the UX world in 5 years?
I see myself staying out in San Fran. I’d like to work for a company that has a consumer facing product (like a wellness or meditation app), work my way up from Jr. to Sr. Designer, and be in more of a leadership role in a company that has a product I’m excited about.
Advice for those looking into the bootcamp experience?
It’s a great opportunity for those who are serious about moving over into UX design. Put everything you have into the program while it’s happening. Commit yourself to it.
It’s worth becoming comfortable in some of the design tools pre-course, so that you’re not bogged down initially. It’ll be worth it if you put in the work.

Alice Jong

Current Location?
The Bronx, NYC
Why UX?
It was a close lateral move for me, as I had been in Fashion Design.
Generalist or Specialist?
I want to start as a Generalist, because I want to continue working on all my skills. I have experience with graphic design, and I want to try writing and research and see if another path opens up. I also enjoyed being a Project Manager during the class.
Where do you see yourself in the UX world in 5 years?
Finding a job! Establishing a way in UX where I could function autonomously since I want a flexible time schedule. In fashion design, I started in companies, and eventually worked my way towards freelance work. I’d like to do the same in the UX world. Maybe I’ll start my own design agency.
Advice for those looking into the bootcamp experience?
Tell your family and friends that you’re going to be very busy. Make sure that they understand that it’s a serious endeavor, and not just a casual summer art class.
Establish your outlets…have something else to do to escape. Pulling yourself out of context can help you refresh your mind and.
Trust in your instructional team more than the material! Your instructional team is there to help you succeed.
Networking is key!
Please feel free to vent and complain and rage in any written format, because you paid for that time.

Thank you to my classmates for providing their time and words for this article! I wish you all the best of luck with the job search and your careers in the UX world and beyond! Feel free to reach to out to me if you want to talk (and if you don’t reach out, I’ll be reaching out to you haha). I’ll see you all in 5 years for part 2!

Ah, right if you happened to get to the end of this (congrats btw) and you’re wondering where I am…well I have an article coming soon that I’m finishing up about my story, so stay tuned. Until then, you can catch me on LinkedIn, I’d love to connect :)

Open minded + curious UX Designer. I like taking deeper dives to understand and summarize topics so that other people don’t have to do as much work (hopefully).

Open minded + curious UX Designer. I like taking deeper dives to understand and summarize topics so that other people don’t have to do as much work (hopefully).