This month, we’re talking to UX Academy graduate Rachee Jacobs, who studied with the second cohort of UXA students in 2016.
Before UXA, Rachee was a digital designer, tackling everything from logos and brochures to websites, landing pages and even conference booths. We talked to her about her passion for design, her experience of the UXA program, and how she landed a new job as Product Designer at Eved in Chicago.
Hi Rachee! What got you interested in user experience (UX) design?
As a web designer I often felt frustrated by not knowing who I was designing for, and therefore not knowing how to solve the design problem. I discovered that what I was craving was UX design — designing with data, rather than designing just to make something look pretty. I also realised that the field of UX was becoming very popular and important in the marketplace, so I also saw it as an opportunity to develop my career.
What made you enroll in UX Academy?
I always had a passion for design, and am pretty tech savvy, so it just seemed a perfect fit for me. I also had experience working in digital marketing and web development which felt like a sound basis for further study.
I found Designlab while looking around online for UX courses. It was quite new at the time, so there weren’t that many reviews, but the ones I read were very positive. The response I got from Harish (Designlab CEO) after reaching out the first time was very reassuring. He answered all of my questions and addressed my concerns. I knew I wanted to join this course because of the great user experience I was having before the course even started!
Would anything have stopped you enrolling?
I had to quit my full time job in order to pursue this career direction. If I hadn’t been able to find some sort of part-time work during the course, then I wouldn't have been able to do it.
So how did UX Academy go? What was the biggest challenge?
I loved it! The curriculum was solid, the staff were supportive, and there was a friendly student community. As for challenges — at first, I wasn’t excited by the group hangouts. I thought it would be weird to have a group video chat with a bunch of strangers. But after a few sessions, I developed a liking for these calls. It was great to have the support of other students and to receive feedback from people who are going through the same journey as you. I even made some friends that I still keep in touch with!
And what was the highlight?
I loved putting my portfolio together, and seeing everything I’d accomplished during the course.
Tips for new UXA students?
Watch the Lynda videos at 1.5x speed. Trust me.
How long did it take you to land your first job after UXA?
It took me 3 months to find a full time job. I ended up getting an offer from one of my course mentors! I am now a Product Designer at an event commerce company called Eved.
What skills did you learn on UXA that you’re using in your new role?
I think the user research phase was what I was most intimidated by and what I gained the most from. Learning the tools and methods to use and getting the experience of interviewing people have prepared me well for the job.
What are you looking to develop in future?
I would love to learn more advanced prototyping tools and how to make microinteractions.
Any advice for those weighing up whether to apply to UXA?
I highly recommend preparing as much as you can in order to transition into the course. UXA isn’t easy, but it is worth it. Before you start, read all the articles you can. Follow UX professionals on Twitter. Go to meetups. Push beyond your comfort zone.
Yes! The people behind UX Academy are a great group of individuals who truly care about the success of their students. This, together with their openness to suggestions for improvements will help them continue to refine the program and make it amazing!
Find out more about Rachee’s work on her website