Transitioning from a finance student to a product designer

Hey there, designers and non-designers! Thanks for dropping by to read this article. Since you’re here, I guess that you know a minimum of something about UX/UI.

In a world full of experienced and great designers, I am one of the many self-taught UX/UI designers. It all started back in the day when the words such as Covid, pandemic, lockdown, quarantine, social distancing had just begun to become household words. It started in March of the year 2020. Like every other ‘class of 2020’, I had just returned from my university to attend my ‘online final semester’. I was attending my online classes but honestly, I had a lot of time on my hand. Where many of the people I knew chose to use it to sleep their time away (not judging them of course), I decided that I wanted to use it effectively and learn some new skills so, like any other normal person, I headed to one of the greatest learning platforms that the mankind has ever known; the Youtube.

I started going through random videos about what skills can be beneficial for the future. And I came across a video that listed out 5 of the many skills that can be beneficial for the future. One of the skills that were mentioned in the video was ‘graphic designing’. I knew I wasn’t a creative person when it came to designing but that didn’t stop me from starting the learning process because, why not? So, without thinking much about it, I installed the needed Adobe software on my computer and started learning to use the software and, slowly started doing photo manipulations and illustrations. I was enjoying the process of learning this new skill. It was amazing to see how a least creative person such as myself was able to create some of the creative things digitally. To keep me motivated to keep going with the learning process, I started my Instagram page and started sharing my works on it. Even some of the celebrities of my country took their time to share my works on their Instagram handles which was overwhelming.

Months passed by and the government lifted the lockdown. We were finally able to go out. By this time, I had already passed out of my university with good grades. I was a student of the Finance and Marketing stream so I started preparing my CV for the same and decided to send it to the companies for a job. But then, my elder brother who was working in the IT sector in South Korea suggested that I should try searching for jobs in the design field instead. For a few days, I didn’t even give a thought about it. I thought that maybe my brother was overestimating my design skills and hadn’t given much thought to what he was actually telling me to do. I knew I wasn’t going to get any job. I thought that the employers’ would probably laugh their asses off if I sent them the design works that I had made so far. I tried talking to a few of the people who were already working in the design field and to say that the way they shared their experience was really demotivating would be an understatement. I was extremely demotivated after talking to them. I called my brother and told him that I wasn’t going to apply for design jobs and that is when he gave me a long-ass speech about how:

“one should never give up on something without even giving it a shot.”

He tried his best to motivate me but that motivation wasn’t enough for me to get started with the design job-seeking process. I was confused. I was frustrated. Then a few days later, while I was scrolling through Youtube mindlessly, I came across a video with the title ‘A day in the life of a UX designer’.

That was the very first moment that I came to learn about UX/UI. So, I opened the video and watched the whole video. I watched that video not just once, not just twice, but thrice. I watched the video on repeat that day. The video was so aspiring and I knew what I wanted to do next. So, I opened my diary and started scribbling my goals for the coming few months.

I wrote:

Kindly, ignore my awesome handwriting.

And hence, my journey of learning UX/UI began from there. I started searching for good Youtube tutorials on the internet and fortunately, I found some useful videos. They didn’t help much but they were helpful for sure when it came to clearing the basic understanding of the software and the UI process.

A few of the many tutorials that I found helpful at that time were:

Getting started in UX design

The 2019 UI Design crash course for beginners

Basics of UI design for mobile apps

Then, after a few weeks of learning from the tutorials, I decided to try my luck and I went to a startup IT company, showed them my works that I thought were presentable enough. Of course, I didn’t get the job instead, I was given a design challenge by the company owner. I was asked to design the checkout page(s) for an e-commerce site that their company was working on at that time. They already had a design for the checkout page(s) made by their senior designer. So, it was definitely a tough challenge for me. However, with the minimum to no experience of designing web pages, I started my work. I tried understanding what the e-commerce site was exactly about, what were they selling, what were the goals and motivation behind the project. And after that, I started making designs for the check-out page(s). After, a couple of days, I sent the final design to the company.

A few days later, I was told that the client of the e-commerce project liked the design that I had made and wanted them to be used for the further development and as you could guess, I was on cloud nine. I mean who wouldn’t be? My design was selected. It was the best day of my life.

So, with that design, I was selected by the company as an intern. I did an internship for 3 months and eventually, I was offered a full-time job as a Product Designer in the company.

The journey so far has been amazing at the company. I have got the opportunity to work on some of the big projects so far and have also gotten the opportunity to lead a project of one of the popular online news portals as well. I really take pride in my works and when I look back and think how far I have come from the day I started my design journey, it really makes me feel proud of myself.

This learning of UX/UI journey is a long one, and I have still got a lot of things that I need to learn. I am working on my UI as well as my UX skills and also trying my hands on the front-end coding. It is an interesting process, and I will surely keep you guys updated on my journey.

Also, thanks for reading my journey so far. I will keep you guys updated with my further journey. I will also share some of my works, my design and thinking process, and lots of other things through Medium so, don’t forget to follow me here.

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