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From technical consultant to UX/UI design leader: our graduate’s career change journey

Mikaela, a former technical consultant in the transport industry, leveraged maternity leave to enter the UX/UI design field. Beetroot Academy's online course fit her busy schedule, allowing her to learn UX/UI design while caring for her child. After highlighting her combined skills and experience to employers, Mikaela landed a UX lead/design consultant role at a specialized firm within a month and a half. She now enjoys collaborating with a team of designers and recently took on an additional leadership responsibility.

What made me think of location-independent work

Before Beetroot Academy, my work experience had nothing to do with design. I used to run my own company, working as a technical manager consultant in the transport industry.  As Volvo is a dominant employer in our city, I mainly had assignments with them, including product development of heavy-duty engines. I continued like that for several years until I went on maternity leave. 

Unfortunately, during my first month away from work, the Covid-19 pandemic hit, and my client terminated all consultants.  I realized I needed to find location-independent work that would allow me to work from home. That thought had crossed my mind more than once before, yet the pandemic strengthened it. In addition, my family and I decided to move away from the big city, which made it even more challenging to keep my previous job. While working as a consultant, I became interested in people, their behaviors, and how technology could be designed to meet their needs. That is how I came to UI/UX design and decided to take it a new career direction. 

Everything I learned was a small step toward a future career

While searching for a course, I knew that an online one was my only option as I had to balance my studies with taking care of our newborn. I was drawn to Beetroot Academy's program as it was intensive yet shorter than some other options available. I could also see that it was well-crafted and relevant to the market's demands.

Likewise, I enjoyed the Academy's methodology. We were provided with materials to study before each online class, allowing us to practice what we learned with the teacher. This was a huge plus for me as it allowed me to be flexible with my study time. During the class, we received the best of both worlds: teacher-led knowledge and the opportunity to ask questions and receive feedback on our assignments. This combination proved to be highly effective, and I received the attention and personalization that characterizes a quality education.

The studying process was intensive yet interesting. It was evident that our teacher had many years of experience in the profession and was eager to share their knowledge. While certain aspects took me longer to understand, such as mastering a completely new program, it was clear that every element of the course was carefully chosen to prepare us for future careers.

Landing a job after 1,5 months of search

After graduation, I had some time remaining on my maternity leave, which I dedicated to brushing up on my resume and taking a break to absorb all the knowledge. Later, as I actually started a job search, it took me only one and a half months to secure a full-time job. Currently, I am a UX lead/design consultant at a specialized consultancy firm that deals in UX and Full-stack development. Together, we are 20 consultants, half of whom are in the UX domain. 

It was crucial for me to join a team with other designers to learn and improve my design skills continuously. That was a good decision, as this experience helped me increase my velocity and strengthen my skills in the UX domain. Recently, I have taken on the role of a UX lead, which involves a more strategic and holistic approach to user experience and coaching other designers in their daily tasks.

The key was to incorporate my previous experience, not to forget it

In the tech industry, the demand for skilled professionals is very high, and it can be overwhelming to face the competition. As a junior, it's challenging to stand out from other candidates. However, combining your previous work experience with your current knowledge can be one of the best ways to do so.

In my case, I had been away from work for almost two years, taking care of our child. Some might see this as a disadvantage when entering a new career path. But I focused on how my previous ten years of experience, combined with UX, could add value. It was very effective for me and sat me apart from other applicants. My technical management and UX design skills turned out to be exactly what my first client wanted.

Veronika Yakubova
Content creator at Beetroot Academy
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