“It’s so crazy to me that it took me this long to find this line of work,” says Springboard alum Aisha Butt.

A biology major who spent four years working in the healthcare space, Aisha describes her path to UX design as a “roundabout” one. But now that she’s working as a UX research associate at Facebook, everything “makes sense.”

We recently sat down with Aisha to discuss her pre-UX professional life, what drew her to the field, and what she took from her Springboard learning experience.

What attracted you to UX design?

I was really attracted to UX design and research as a whole because it really spoke to a lot of my strengths and things that I was really interested in as I was hoping to figure out what I wanted to do with my life.

I was working in behavioral health and then research for a while and there were parts of that work that I really enjoyed and there were things that I felt like I really excelled at, but I didn’t know if I could continue moving up the ladder to really excel and become an expert.

UX design was this beautiful mixture of both research and behavioral health and trying to understand people and their needs and then trying to use that to create something that reflects those needs—and that really spoke to me.

Why did you enroll with Springboard?

I think a big part of it was the online component. Springboard really works hard to be a curriculum that you can integrate into your life as you’re a full-time employee or doing something else on the side and I really appreciated that. I felt like I could do my job—you know, pay my bills—and at the same time be moving toward a longer-term goal—and that was really important to me.

But also: the mentorship aspect. When I was applying or looking for a certificate course, it felt like there weren’t other options that offered this mentorship aspect of things. I’ve always felt this part of Springboard is really what set it apart.

How was your mentor experience?

I had two mentors just for a little bit, but I think they both were there for me when I needed them the most—and that was during the job application process. I reached out to both of them to get some insight into a project I had to share for a job interview and they had great information to offer, direction to give for what I should do, how I should prep, and I really appreciated that.

Those relationships are definitely relationships I felt like I could leverage and really utilize to move forward in my career.

What was your capstone project?

I decided to tackle something that really annoyed me. I really like Yelp and I’m a big, avid user of Yelp, but there were little pieces of things that I felt like I could maybe try to make better for myself. That whole process began with me trying to figure out with my research if other people felt the same as me or had the same issues. And the research showed—after I surveyed all of my friends—that they felt the same way. So I was able to use that to build on a project that helped me add this different bookmarking feature in Yelp and do a little bit of a redesign. That was really fun for me.

What surprised you about UX design?

The focus on the human being that we’re building for. It’s so crazy to me that it took me this long to find this line of work because it’s sort of what I’ve always sought and been after with working in healthcare. Doing a biology degree, I was pre-med for a while, and I really wanted to help people and build things for people that could actually create impact. I feel like in this very roundabout way I ended up here and it just makes sense.

We’re building things, we’re taking people’s perspectives into account to really create things that they need and really hearing them and I really, really appreciate that. It’s something that I want to do for the rest of my life.

How was your Springboard experience?

I think one thing that I really noticed during the application process and trying to find a job was that I had a foundational knowledge of things coming from my background and my research experience, but this program really helped me learn how to speak about UX in a way that made sense to people in the tech industry. It helped me figure out a way to connect with people and really showcase my skill set, both from my past experiences and from the experience of this program. So, thank you for making it happen. I’m so appreciative.

This Q&A has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.

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