Today we’re talking to UX Academy graduate Emily Ho, who studied with the Disney cohort back in 2016!
Before joining the course, Emily was working as a Senior Level 2 Support Genius at LevelUp, a mobile payment and rewards solution provider. We talked about her UX Academy experience, and found out what happened next!
Hey Emily! So, how did you decide to join UX Academy?
I'd been working in retail and customer service for over 10 years and needed a change, but I still wanted to continue helping others. All I was sure about was that I wanted something that was creative, but still process driven.
Were there any obstacles that might prevented you from re-training?
Cost was a huge factor, and I needed the flexibility to keep my full-time job. UX Academy solved both of these issues for me, so enrolling was was a no-brainer!
What got you interested in UX design?
Honestly, it all started when a friend of mine finished up a UX bootcamp. I got intrigued because I had heard the term “UX” before, but hadn’t known what it actually meant. When I found out that it was basically a happy combination of all my experiences and knowledge, I knew it was something I had to consider. UX design intrigued me because I saw it as design with purpose. I was never a fan of art, but I appreciated products and services that were well thought out and helped people in their lives.
Did you have any fears coming into the course?
Oh absolutely – taking risks is NOT something I do frequently, and I had to weigh up the pros and cons of even considering a career change. Not knowing what opportunities were actually available to me, and not coming from a traditional design background, made it a much harder choice.
However, since I was able to keep working my existing full-time job while doing the course, I was able to focus on actually completing the course to its fullest before starting the job hunt. I’m also someone who enjoys many things, but commits to very few of them. So for me to complete the program, make a career transition, and fully enjoy what I do on a day-to-day basis was a massive achievement for me and big win!
UX Academy Experience
What did you think of UX Academy overall? How did it go?
I had a great time. It could've gone more smoothly – because I was also keeping my job, it was really tough to stay on track with coursework. There was a point where I almost gave up, but deep down I knew that this career change was important for me, and I pushed myself to finish.
Did you face any challenges that you hadn’t considered? Were there any pleasant surprises?
I didn't anticipate that I'd be traveling for work for almost two months straight, and that really derailed my plan to graduate on time. I think the biggest surprise was finally feeling that I know where I belong, and feeling for the first that that this is the work I should be doing for the rest of my career.
What was your favorite part of the course experience?
Meeting like-minded people – it was like speaking to people who spoke my language! It’s also awesome to have made friends through the course who I still keep in touch with frequently, even though we’ve never physically met.
What recommendations would you give to current or future UX Academy students?
Don't doubt yourself. Imposter syndrome is real, but don't let it control you. Challenge yourself daily by learning a new tool or skill. I lack confidence in my visual design skills, so I actively push myself to practice UI design whenever I can.