“I’m learning so many new things and already applying many of the things I’ve learned in UX Academy. I can see myself doing this for a very long time.”
Before UX Academy, Anthony Henry was working as an Architect for a firm in Toledo, Ohio:
“In Architecture, depending on the firm and your position, the opportunities to use your creative abilities can range from designing whole structures to not designing much at all, and the opportunities to interact with the users and see how your design affects them is even less likely,” says Anthony.
After doing some research, UX seemed like the perfect combination of the two things Anthony felt were missing from his Architecture career: more creativity and interaction with users. Designlab seemed like the ideal place to continue his design education.
Anthony’s UX Academy Journey
“My biggest draw to Designlab was the one-on-one mentor sessions and the Group Crits. Having the knowledge, resources, and network of experienced professionals in the field was huge for me,” Anthony says.
“As a career switcher, having direct ‘face-to-face’ feedback with my colleagues and mentors was major in helping me understand everything. Everyone was extremely helpful, they provided tons of resources and perspectives that I may have never considered on my own.”
By Design Magazine Augmented Reality App: Mobile AR app that when paired with an issue of By Design Magazine, shows additional behind the scene and video content on the page, in augmented reality.
Landing a UX Design Job at Toyota
After graduating from UX Academy, Anthony’s fraternity brother, who has been working for Toyota for a few years now, told him about a UX position and suggested he apply. So he did, and about a week later he had his first phone screening where they asked about his past experiences to see if he was a good match.
Then a few weeks later, Anthony met with some of the current designers at Toyota and presented his portfolio. He then spoke with some higher-level designers, and they discussed his general experiences in the workplace and his past design experience.
Anthony received the offer soon after that third interview, and overall the process took about a month and a half. He’s now a Junior UX/UI Designer for Toyota in Plano, Texas. As someone who has always loved cars, this feels like the perfect fit for him.
“Outside of how the exterior looks, I love interacting with the screens and playing with the digital interior features,” says Anthony.
“So far things are going great at Toyota! I’m learning so many new things and already applying many of the things I’ve learned in UX Academy. I just got started, but I can see myself doing this for a very long time,” Anthony says.
One especially fun perk of working at Toyota: as part of the research phase, Anthony gets to test drive different cars and see concepts of things that haven't been released yet.
“There are tons of exciting projects that are coming out of Toyota right now! The biggest and most recent project is the upcoming 2022 Lexus NX. The redesign of the infotainment center has been making headlines in the industry, I encourage everyone to check it out!” says Anthony.
ZEIT: Responsive web design for conceptual travel agency.
Advice for Career-Switchers to UX Design
Now that Anthony has graduated and landed an amazing job, he has some advice for incoming, current, and graduating UX Academy students...
Incoming Students: My biggest advice is to not get overwhelmed. UX Academy is an intensive program with a lot of work and information, but it’s so much fun! Enjoy the journey you’re about to embark on, utilize the knowledge your mentor will bring to the table, and network within the Designlab community.
Current Students: My biggest advice would be to try and narrow down some industries that you would be most interested in working in, then tailor your portfolio to that. Designlab allows an excellent amount of flexibility for you to build your portfolio how you want. For example, coming in I knew the auto industry was one of the main industries I wanted to design for. My mentor understood this and allowed me to slightly deviate from the standard curriculum so I could design a CarPlay app.
TankMate: Mobile and automotive app for Apple CarPlay to locate gas and EV charging stations.
That project helped me stand out in the job interviews, which led to an offer with Toyota! So if you’re interested in doing UX for a major retail company, design something related to retail. If you’re interested in doing UX for the airline industry, design a travel or booking app, etc. Use your projects, the lessons learned from them, and your past knowledge to your advantage.
UX Academy Graduates: I would say when it comes to the job hunt, be patient. You might get discouraged along the way when companies aren’t returning emails or responding to your applications, but there are so many job opportunities out there. You worked hard and pushed out some amazing work to get to where you are. Keep applying and keep reaching out.
Designlab has plenty of resources that you can tap into to get you to where you want to be. Once you get into those interviews, think about everything from your past jobs and experiences and try to tie UX into that and share that with your interviewer. You could have been a grocery bagger at a local grocery store. Use that experience to tell your employer how you were able to analyze the weight, size, and scale of different products to place certain items with other items to provide the best user experience of transporting the user's products from store to home (i.e. bread and eggs in their own bag and off the side so they don’t get ruined in transport). That’s kind of a far-fetched example, but at the end of the day, it’s all UX, and it can be applied to anything. Find your anything.
Anthony emphasizes that Toyota offers a really great work balance. When he’s not at work he’s either enjoying time with his family and friends, or finding other ways to utilize his creativity
“In 2021 and beyond, I just want to continue to learn and grow in my new position. Outside of the auto industry, augmented reality and virtual reality is another major interest of mind. So I would like to learn how to design in those areas and maybe find a way to tie it into the driving experience. So we’ll see what happens!”
If you’re looking to follow in Anthony’s footsteps and make a career change from a field like Architecture, we recommend exploring the UX Academy journey where UX Academy Foundations is often the best first step!