Ethan Miller discovered UX design towards the end of his undergraduate degree program in graphic communications. “I immediately fell in love with creative problem-solving for the business and the people who use the service,” he says.
After graduation, he landed a job at a winery doing customer experience design (an area of design that optimizes the customer’s experience with the organization as a whole rather than a single product).
However, he had always wanted to work on a digital product in a real UX design role. So he decided to pursue a certification in UX design. After completing Springboard’s UI/UX Design Career Track, he landed a role as a product designer at Intuit, working on the TurboTax product. He designs dashboards for the engineers who build the customer-facing product.
It's been really fun and exciting. I work with a team of many designers, some of whom specialize in UX research or content design.
I’ve been impressed with Intuit and how much they value design and empathy for the people who use their products. Working with engineers taught me how they think about problems and the constraints they work with.
I was talking to a few alumni from my university who were working as UX designers and one of them recommended Springboard.
They landed a great job after finishing the UI/UX Design Career Track. I did compare Springboard to other bootcamps. Ultimately, I found that the self-paced nature of the program, the weekly mentor calls, and the guidance throughout the program were most valuable to me.
My mentor was Michelle Park [product designer at Stitch Fix]. We had a great relationship and are still in touch. She provided valuable advice, especially regarding user interface (UI) and visual design. She was extremely friendly and willing to help. She went out of her way to help me with my projects.
Fuzed was my first capstone project. My experience of graduating college in 2020 during the pandemic spurred the idea. I wanted to explore online learning and find opportunities to improve the experience. I interviewed students to understand their pain points and motivations. Distractions and lacking social connections with their peers and instructors were key issues.
Ultimately, I created a social conversation app for hosting live audio discussions and webchats with your peers. It was a fun project because I got to prototype it and test it on several students.
It was rewarding to see how my design could be valuable to them.
Yeah. I think there are potential opportunities to create something like this, perhaps without even building a new app from scratch. For example, Slack or Discord could be used to replicate the idea.
My advice is to network. I reached out to countless people on LinkedIn every week–people who had graduated from Springboard, alumni from my university, and people I was interested in connecting with because of the company they worked for or the position they held.
I did around 80 or 90 informational interviews with designers. I also chatted with other mentors for free through websites like ADPList and UX Coffee Hours. I also got feedback on my job search strategy from my career coach at Springboard, who gave me great advice on my resume and portfolio.
I reached out to someone on LinkedIn we had an informational interview. She knew about an open position and passed on my resume and portfolio internally, which landed me the interview.
I wasn’t too selective. Networking is a numbers game. I reached out to many people; some didn’t get back to me while others were too busy to meet. I focused on my alumni network and Springboard connections. With everyone working remotely, I think many designers want to connect with and mentor younger designers.
I asked questions about how they got into the industry, how they landed their current job, what they like and dislike about it, and any advice they have for someone entering the field.
The connection I had with my mentor. Having oversight from a senior mentor who has worked in the industry for over a decade was invaluable. She would tell me if I was on the right track with my deliverables so I could build a portfolio that would get me hired, which contributed to my success in the job search.
Do your research. Determine if you can see yourself working in this field and what you’ll do in a design job. Also, chat with designers or find online resources. If you like it, take the leap. You must fully commit to making a change and starting a new career.