Before moving to UX, Ketan worked as a graphic designer between his company’s marketing and IT teams. While he enjoyed the work, he felt he could be having more impact. The course helped Ketan move into a lead UX/UI design role and gave him the confidence to present to the most senior stakeholders in the business.
What interested you about UX?
I’d always been interested in web design but never fully understood what that entailed. I assumed you needed coding skills which I didn’t have. Then, an opportunity came up at my company to work alongside the IT manager developing the website and I jumped at it! It gave me the chance to see what’s involved in making websites work better and how that benefits the business as a whole.
I had worked closely with the sales, IT and digital marketing teams, so I knew about the different channels within the business. But before studying UX, I never knew how to make them work together.
Why did you decide to study with the UX Design Institute?
I started looking into a proper qualification in UX so I could put structure around what I was already learning in my role with the IT manager. I wanted to formalise my knowledge. I think one of the things that really stood out about the Professional Diploma was the depth of the course; the subtopics covered within UX. I had a broad understanding of what UX was but from my research I could see that this syllabus was really in-depth.
The Professional Diploma was more substantial than other courses; some were only three months long and offering a job guarantee at the end which I just didn’t buy into.
How did you find the support during your studies?
It was great. I was working while studying so I could implement what I was learning on the course right away. Whenever I had difficulty doing something, I could contact my course tutor and ask for help. Having access to the course content while I was working on live projects in my own role was really helpful too.
Sometimes I’d finish work and have to jump straight into my coursework which was a challenge. But it was a personal choice and being an online course it was more manageable. I liked that there was the option to do the course in 6 or 12 months.
The flexibility of the course and the easily digestible videos really helped fast track my learning. The videos are short but they go deep into each subject. There’s lots of stuff about UX online but nothing as in-depth and consistent as in the diploma course.
What’s been the most valuable part of the course for you?
Being able to evolve my role within my company by learning how to communicate with stakeholders and bring people on board with your ideas. Designing change is one thing but getting everyone on board to implement it is quite another.
It’s been amazing to see how you can use UX as a unifying business goal. It benefits the customers and it benefits everyone else too.
How have you incorporated what you learnt on the course into your role?
We were working quite a lot in silos. Before I started advocating for the collaborative, UX culture nobody really paid attention or realised the full potential of what UX could offer. They thought it was more about how they look and did not really understand the depth to which it can impact product success.
Describe how the course increased your confidence.
Because I’m the only UX designer I need to present to stakeholders including the board of directors. The course has definitely helped with my pitching and presentation skills. I can now speak to board-level directors, following a certain process to articulate an idea. I’m comfortable presenting data and research. I know how to package it in the right format for particular stakeholders and get them invested in the idea or the proposal.
How was your experience of building the portfolio?
It was quite challenging but enjoyable. I could see that my project work was solving a problem which really showcased the value of UX. Doing the portfolio exercises gave me a thorough understanding of the challenges faced by UX designers.
What advice would you give someone considering the course?
I think you need to be passionate about it and be ready for a challenge. The biggest difficulty I had was getting out of the mindset of trying to design the most amazing thing and instead look at what the user actually wants.
That’s probably the main piece of advice I would give – particularly for designers – is to focus on the user, not what you think the design should be.
After I graduated from the Professional Diploma in UX Design, I also completed the Professional Certificate in Visual Design. I wanted to further enhance my skills with a better understanding of UI which means I can now create better designs. There are a lot of transferable skills between graphic and visual design and I thought getting a qualification would give me more of a competitive advantage down the line.
Would you recommend the UX Design Institute courses?
Yes, I’ve encouraged a lot of people to do the Professional Diploma because of the range of skills that you develop; from tech skills to social skills to presentation skills. There are so many different routes into UX and transferable skills that can be applied to it, that you can really come from any background and do well.
The Professional Certificate in Visual Design was great to brush up on some of my self-taught skills and just refine my design work. I think the course would be really valuable for front end developers. I think developers are starting to show a greater interest in UI design and learning some of the fundamentals would definitely be an asset.