For many such as myself, attending an immersive meant leaving behind a previous career to develop a new one. Stepping away from the familiar to the unknown can be terrifying, but knowing what to expect can make it feel much less daunting. Here’s what I would have told my younger self to expect before I began my journey into UX.
Immersive school is where you build your problem-solving toolbox and learn how and when to apply each tool. By the time you graduate, you’ll have a variety of news skills such as conducting user research, planning user flows and information architecture, wireframing, and prototyping. Since every project is different, expect to use some critical thinking to decide which combination of skills and methods would yield the best result. Figuring out your process for bringing an idea to formation is something you’ll refine and carry throughout your career.
I think we can all agree that an intensive 10-12 weeks is not a lot of time to practice new skills. Bootcamp will equip you with the basics, but as they say, it’s practice that makes perfect. You’ll certainly learn to conduct an interview and to use the features in design applications but to gain any kind of fluency requires extensive hours of dedicated time. Once school is over, be prepared to challenge yourself with extra work and get comfortable with what you’ve learned.
Don’t be fooled by the amazing graduation stats immersive schools tout. Finding a junior role is no easy feat. Let your passion and enthusiasm for design shine through with persistence and determination. Consider taking on small projects or even pro-bono work to get practice, build your portfolio, and have something interesting to talk about at interviews.
So you were able to land some work? Congrats! The hardest part is over. The next challenge that most designers face is internal. You’ll question if you’re doing the right thing or if you’re even the right fit for the job. This is normal as you build confidence through experience. Share your progress with peers to see if things make sense and if you’re on the right track. The more practice you have articulating design decisions, the more you’ll feel comfortable when it comes time to show your work.
Never underestimate the power of a coffee chat. If the UX immersive sounds like a journey you’d like to set off on, try connecting with recent graduates through LinkedIn. Most are eager to share their stories and answer questions to help you along the way.