Our graduates have done it again! For this spotlight, we had Avocademy graduate CJ Marsada share her journey to become a Product Designer.
CJ was on track to becoming a pilot when she found out about Avocademy. She completed the UX Foundations course and the career jumpstart. After graduation, she landed a job within 10 days of starting to apply. You can take a look at her portfolio here.
Read our conversation below to hear more about CJ’s experience!
Q: Share a little bit about you and your background?
A: I have been working as a product designer for 6 months now. Before the Avocademy Bootcamp, I had no design experience. I have always done art ever since I was little, which I think helped me. I previously wanted to be a pilot, but then the pandemic hit. At first, UX Design was just an alternative to make money. Now I am working full-time as a designer and having so much fun.
Q: How did you find UX/UI design? What drew you towards UX/UI design?
A: First, it was just like, a practical choice, right? Because, to this day, the traveling, and flying aviation industry still recovering back. And at that time, tech was booming. I've been doing photography, and I've been dabbling with lots of software since I was little. At first, I was like, maybe I’ll work in cybersecurity and be a software engineer.
I wanted something more dynamic so that I could do some creative problem-solving. I just kept looking at tech jobs. Tech is sustainable, it pays well, and it is something scalable. But at the same time, I wanted something fun. That's when UX design came up. Before I had no idea what UX Design was, so I looked more into it.
UX is such a niche field. I kept getting targeted in marketing with Facebook, Reddit, and Tik Tok. So eventually, I thought I might as well give it a try. I was more drawn to the visual aspect at first. The more I studied the course, and the more I looked into just UX Design in general, I found myself liking UX work and research work rather than UI.
Q: What were some misconceptions or myths you encountered about the tech industry?
A: I always heard you have to get a computer science degree to get into the tech industry. Or that you have to be a developer. It seemed almost impossible.
Then when I found out about UX Design, I heard the opposite myth that everyone can be a designer. This is true but it is a lot of work that goes into being a UX Designer. It is not just as simple as liking art or knowing photoshop.
Every experience is personal and not going to be the same for everybody.
Q: Why did you decide to do Avocademy after you've already done that little UI program?
A: I did a foundations course from Design Lab and was ready to move on to the next course. There are so many bootcamps out there that are so much money. There is never any guarantee that you will get a job and the salary advertised with these large bootcamps. I was about to start another Design Lab course but I wanted something with more mentorship and career assistance.
I looked at Course Report and Career Karma and saw all the amazing reviews for Avocademy. It is a fraction of what you are paying for other bootcamps and offers unlimited mentorship. I thought it must be too good to be true. I kept seeing on Facebook the founder of Avocademy, Maca, responding to people's questions. I took a chance and it paid off.
Q: How long did the course take you?
A: The foundations course took me about 8 weeks to complete. I started the Career Jumpstart in January. I did three real projects and started applying for work.
Q: How long did it take you to find a job from the moment that you applied to a job?
A: 10 days.
Q: What is some advice that you would have for somebody that is maybe considering breaking into tech through design?
A: If you think you're the kind of person who can never stay still, whos always googling things, who always wants to learn something, and if you learn something, you find something worth learning again. If you're always curious if you want to keep tinkering with things, even if you have to force yourself a bit sometimes, but if you don't mind having to always refresh your stock knowledge and you always want to keep learning then design is right for you.
If you want to be part of something that's ever-evolving, and if you think that is something you find enjoyable, I would advise trying design. You don't have to enroll in a course right away, just try looking more into design and see if it could be right for you.
Find CJ's portfolio HERE.
The interview has been edited for length and clarity.