How upskilling in UX design helped Angus launch his own consultancy.
Before enrolling in our Professional Diploma in UX Design, Angus worked in content marketing and data analytics. Despite having strong digital experience, he felt there were gaps in his knowledge and in his ability to communicate effectively with designers and developers.
He spoke to us about how the diploma course helped him overcome these challenges and become more confident in his work.
What interested you about UX?
As part of my marketing role I was helping clients to optimise their websites and I became fascinated with UX. I wanted to learn more about how people build better products; what works and what doesn’t. I was also working alongside developers and designers and I wanted to be able to communicate with them better and empathise with them more.
From marketing, I moved into a broader role as a digital strategist. I was thrown in at the deep end and given a lot of UX work like user research and usability testing. I loved it but it I wasn’t totally confident in it.
I lacked a proper grounding in what I was doing, a formal qualification. There were gaps in my knowledge. I felt I was doing maybe 50pc of the job of a UX designer but I wasn’t actually able to deliver when it came to creating prototypes or wire frames.
So I started looking for a course that would be academically strong but also very practical and that’s how I ended up finding the UX Design Institute.
Why did you choose the Professional Diploma in UX Design?
The university credit rating definitely stood out. I had done courses with other online providers but none of them came backed by a university. As well as that, I was looking for something that was really practical and I saw that this course was structured around a real UX project. I knew there was going to be a big focus on actually working like a UX designer. That’s what I wanted.
How did you find the experience of learning completely online?
It was pretty much ideal for me, because when I started the course I was working full time and my role was quite demanding. I needed something that was really flexible.
The online Slack community was great too, it was really active and people were very helpful.
I think one of the scariest things about trying to get into UX is not knowing where to start; how to meet people, how to build connections. That’s why the community element on the course was so important.
My background is not in design but through the UX Design Institute, I actually started going to meetups. The course gave me the confidence to branch out a little bit and start building my network.
How did you find the course content?
I loved the whole syllabus but I particularly enjoyed learning the fundamental principles of good design. There was a lot that I learned that I wasn’t aware of. Designing specifically for mobile was also really, really helpful because we were dealing with very current case studies and challenges. The content gave me the confidence to approach my work in a better way. The videos were great.
Was the course difficult without previous design experience?
I was a bit worried about that before I started but I soon realised that being a good UX designer is not really about producing pixel perfect design. It’s a process. And if you follow the process and you understand why the process is valuable, you’re probably 80-90pc of the way there. Once I got into the course, I realised the tools and the technology are not that scary, and I really enjoyed it.
Describe your current role.
Since starting my own digital consultancy, there are three areas that I help companies with; marketing strategy, analytics and user research. That’s what I focus on and it’s been really, really interesting. The course was so valuable because it gives you more credibility talking to clients. You have a university credit rating which really adds weight; it gives you that authority.
In your experience, what’s the demand like for these UX services?
There’s definitely an appetite for someone that can understand the hard data side of how websites work and the qualitative UX side. I’m really enjoying the process and the challenge of it.
I didn’t just do the course to become a UX designer. I wanted to add UX design skills to my overall skillset. I’ve always been more of a generalist so what I’m trying to do now with my own consultancy is provide people with a mixture of different skills. Now is definitely the time when having a good user experience really matters.
What’s been the biggest benefit of the course?
I think the main benefit for me was validation – reassurance that a lot of the research work I was doing was in line with best practice, and then learning a lot of new skills and techniques at the same time.
And the biggest challenge?
To be honest, for me it was just trying to carve out space and time to get the work done. Sometimes I would miss webinars but thankfully they’re all recorded so at least I could go back and get into them. The main challenge was just managing my own time and making sure I was putting the hours in regularly.
What was the portfolio work like?
Really enjoyable. It’s a process and you need to be documenting your progress at each stage of it. That’s so important when you’re working on your own paid projects. It’s not just about producing a final set of designs, it’s about how you got there.
It helped me get better at things like prototyping and wireframing because I was able to really spend the time honing those skills. You’re really forced to think about the decisions that you’re making.
Is the course content aligned to the work that you’re currently doing?
Definitely. The course is laid out like a real UX project so you get to see how every bit of the process works. A lot of the work that I do is around helping clients understand where they are and where they fit within a market. Being able to apply the knowledge I learnt in the course to working in the industry has been really, really helpful.
Would you recommend the course?
Absolutely! If you’re already in UX or if you’re just starting out, you’re going to learn so much, so many valuable principles and skills that will stand you in good stead.
It doesn’t always have to lead to a career as a UX designer either. If you work in any kind of marketing or content team, anyone with a stake in how a website is run, you would get a lot out of the course. You come out with really transferable skills and deep knowledge that can be applied to lots of different roles.
If you want to hear more from our students read more alumni success stories here or click below to learn more about the Professional Diploma in UX Design.