Even as a skilled Graphic Designer and Front End Developer, Micah still had trouble finding a UX/UI design job in the competitive Seattle market. After an unsuccessful search, he realized that he needed to acquire new skills in order to make the transition.
After researching and comparing different bootcamps, Micah enrolled in our UX/UI Design bootcamp. Learn about Micah’s learning experience switching careers, and see how he landed a UX/UI Designer role at Nordstrom.
Tell us: what were you doing before you enrolled?
I have a bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design and Business Management. My first job after college was with a sports apparel e-commerce startup where I worked for 7 years. I started as a Production Designer, then moved into a Graphic Designer role where I also did some light UX work. My final position with the company was as the UI Developer on their web team.
Following the completion of a big project, I was laid off and I spent the next 4 months unsuccessfully searching for UX roles in Seattle. I tried to transition from graphic design and front end development.
What made you decide to enroll, specifically?
I needed to gain some more UX knowledge and experience to be able to compete in Seattle’s competitive tech market. I looked at other programs like online college-level certificate programs before finding Thinkful. I chose Thinkful because it was more affordable, and it allowed me to continue my job search with remote learning and a flexible schedule.
I also needed guidance building my UX portfolio, and Thinkful stressed that the program was geared toward creating a strong portfolio, so that really sold me.
How did Thinkful impact your career and life?
Thinkful helped me achieve my goals and change my career path to something I was more passionate about. It helped me open the door to my future, and showed me a lot about where I was going, how to get there, and where I want to ultimately end up. Now, I’m beginning a new career I’m excited about!
Describe your learning experience. Was the program what you expected?
My experience had highs and lows. I already had a lot of the foundational skills taught; however, the UX research process portion of the course was valuable, interesting, and it aligned more closely to my goals for the program.
It’s hard to compare the experience to a traditional university. The knowledge acquired through Thinkful is high-level. You learn the “what” and “how” of the topics, but the course lacked the deeper level of “why” and “when” that you learn in a collegiate setting. On the flip side, I finished college with little concept of how to sell myself professionally, especially in today’s tech market. Thinkful really showed its strength in terms of preparing me to be successful in tech.
What has been your hardest challenge throughout the program?
Especially with a background already in design and tech, finding a job was tough and very frustrating. It can be difficult to compete with the level of talent and volume of people competing for these same roles. Learning how to think about how to sell and position myself properly throughout the job search process was by far the hardest challenge for me.
What was your favorite aspect about the program?
Career services help and the local community were my favorite aspects of the program. I also really enjoyed working on my final project, which was really interesting and a great learning experience.
To the Career Services team, I cannot thank them enough for their involvement. And the local Thinkful community is so involved and present; I could always count on at least a few people to help out when I needed it.
Describe your new role.
I’m the sole UX Designer for an amazing product team at Nordstrom Corporate in Seattle. We’re building a suite of new internal tools for the business, and creating a full design system for the suite. My team is incredibly skilled and I’m thrilled to be working with complex data, since it could lead me to AI and Machine-Learning, which was a target area of interest for my career checkpoints.
Do you have any advice for prospective Thinkful students?
This program is great for a highly self-motivated person who is passionate about UX and product design. The career services team really gives great help throughout the process as you learn the ins and outs of the tech and design industries and job hunting.
Once you join, really make the effort to dig deeper on your own to go above and beyond for your projects, and you will without a doubt be rewarded for your effort.