After nearly eight years in finance managing loan portfolios, Jenny Kim felt like she had hit a dead-end, despite landing promotions.
“I was dragging my feet to work daily,” says Jenny. “I knew it would be better to quit my job and do a career change cold turkey. If I didn’t do it then, I would regret wasting so much time pondering.”
While studying at Springboard, she used her newfound design skills to create content and build an audience on social media. She now has 201,000 followers on Instagram and over 2,000 subscribers on her YouTube channel, where she shares reviews of beauty and fitness tech products and keeps a travel vlog.
Now, she’s a freelance content creator working with top brands including Meta, L’Oreal, and Bacardi. Melding her UX design skills with content creation enables her to create content based on a deep understanding of her audience while ensuring the content is easy to consume and helps brands achieve their goals.
“When I create content for brands, I think about the person receiving the content,” she says. “Every Instagram Story I post and caption I write is infused with UX design.”
I took a coding class and gave up after the first lesson. Then I Googled “Tech jobs without coding.” After a few searches, I discovered something called UX. I watched YouTube videos, read books, and did several trials for different UX bootcamps.
I like doing very creative work but I’m also very methodical and logical. On top of that, UX design pays more than other jobs in the creative field. UX is about bringing convenience to people without them realizing it, which is a cool concept.
It has changed drastically. While studying UX design, I became a content creator and picked up a decent audience. Now I’m a UX consultant–meaning I focus on content creation with a UX mentality.
It's exciting that I found this new love of tech through UX design, and my life has changed so much because of it. Now UX is infused throughout my career as a content creator and strategist–and even on a personal level.
The whole concept of UX is creating convenience for the user. That got me thinking about how we tell stories and how this fits the user experience.
Even if an interface is simple, I review all the buttons and CTAs. Does this icon make sense? Do people understand what it means? Those simple tweaks make a huge difference in the user journey.
Yes. I now include it in my sales pitch so clients know I understand the ecosystem. I talk about why integrating different platforms matters when creating content.
For example, Instagram might give you exposure, but YouTube lets you offer more in-depth content the user needs. I landed a sponsorship deal from a VR brand in January and they came to me because they saw my expertise as a content creator and UX designer.
Integrating the two became my secret sauce. I help brands get closer to their audience and appear more personable.
I recently conducted user interviews for a brand. From that discussion I learned that most people feel like when brands create content, it’s all about “Buy this” or “Buy that.”
They only see one layer of what the brand offers. Instead, we should create content from an audience perspective by understanding how the product or service can benefit them by including it in their life.
I was looking for flexibility. I also wanted a mentor who could relate to me as a friend and a career coach who could hold my hand throughout the job search. I also liked that Springboard offered deferred tuition. Knowing I could pay after getting a job gave me peace of mind.
Springboard updates its curriculum regularly, so I felt I was more up-to-date on the latest technologies even than my seniors, who didn’t know about certain tools I was using.
So I had the opportunity to teach them the tools I learned at Springboard. I loved how the Springboard curriculum was pared down to the essentials but I always had the option to study certain topics in more depth if I wanted to.
My mentor was a UX consultant, so he was very entrepreneurial and a seasoned designer. Entry-level designers tend to say yes to everything to please their bosses. He taught me how to say no. He told me, “You’re human. You need to allot a certain amount of hours for this work. Don’t promise to stay overnight to get work done because that means the company is taking advantage of you.”
Tell them how long it takes to do the work and leave extra time to review your designs. He taught me not to be afraid of speaking up. Just because I’m a junior in this field doesn’t mean I can’t speak up, because I was hired as a professional, too.
My mentor told me to focus on transferrable skills as a selling point to negotiate higher pay. I have a finance background, so I understand the logistical and financial aspects of creating something. That means you can’t pay me an entry-level UX salary. I negotiated my salary for my current role. I know it was bold, but I requested a call with the CEO directly. If you have work experience, even as a server in a restaurant, you have transferable skills that could benefit you in negotiating a higher salary.
COVID hit during my job search, which was devastating because no one was hiring. My career coach introduced me to a fellow Springboard student who was also job searching. We became best friends, and we started doing calls biweekly to check in on each other. Job searching is a very emotional phase, especially when you feel unqualified. No one talks about your mental and financial struggles during a job search–especially because everyone’s journey is different.
I worked for a startup called Crease Pro, which builds training apps for athletes. The founders didn’t understand UX at all.
While they were rushing to get the design done, I had to emphasize why user research was so important. They wanted to skip user interviews. I put my foot down on that. Through that project, I learned I’m much better as a researcher and strategist than a designer.
I learned that my main transferable skill is communication. No matter what company you work for, you have to make presentations at some point. If that’s your forte, emphasize it, because not all UX designers are good presenters. Every designer brings something different to the table.
If anyone is reading this and considering Springboard, I want to encourage them to take a shot. You don’t have much to lose. I had to take big risks to complete the UI/UX Design Career Track. It wasn’t easy because I was working full-time. But if you want to change your life, you must take that step, even if that means committing an hour a day. Use your time to do something good for yourself.