From UI To UX: How Learning UX Design Transformed My Freelance Career

Fernando wasn’t happy just creating great user interfaces; he wanted to create great user experiences. Here he tells us how learning UX design changed his career.

by Emily Stevens on 23 October 2018

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After studying graphic design, Fernando built up his freelance career as a visual designer. Despite a steady flow of clients, he felt something was missing. He didn’t just want to create great user interfaces; he wanted to create great user experiences. On a mission to fill his UX skills gap, he took the CareerFoundry UX Design Program. In this quick-fire interview, Fernando shares his story with us.

Hi Fernando. What were you doing prior to the CareerFoundry UX Design Program?

I was working as a freelance designer, doing work that I wasn’t proud of. Banner campaigns, microsites for advertising and all this kind of work that was fine to pay the bills, but not rewarding at all.

What made you consider a career change?

I wanted to start doing more meaningful work and be able to offer more comprehensive solutions to my clients.

Why were you first interested in UX design?

My background is in branding and user interface design and I felt that the UX part was missing. I knew some basic stuff like wireframing, but more in an intuitive way rather than using it as a key component of the design process. I wanted to be able to see the whole picture and understand what happens in a design project from the very beginning to the end.  

Why did you decide to take a bootcamp course?

A bootcamp course is short, intensive and focuses on the most important aspects of UX, and that was exactly what I needed. I didn’t want to commit to a long-term career and wait for years until I was ready to apply what I learned.

What did you most enjoy about the course?

Having a different task every day was great. It helped me to keep my motivation up and maintain the commitment that you might not have with other online courses.  

Which aspect was the most useful or interesting?

Having a mentor you can communicate with every day is definitely one of the greatest things about the course. Not only does it help to clarify doubts, but it’s especially a great opportunity to build a relationship with someone who is an expert in the field.

What were your next steps after finishing the course with CareerFoundry?

First I started to improve relationships with my clients by offering more services and feeling more confident talking about topics that I would avoid before. Growing that confidence gave me the opportunity to be part of the product design team at Fertighaus, Germany’s number one portal for prefabricated homes and, more recently, to launch my own product, HolaBrief is an online tool that helps designers ask all the right questions and create amazing design briefs.

How did CareerFoundry, and your new qualification, help you progress in your career?

For me it was crucial to understand exactly what UX is all about, and to be able to speak to product managers and other designers on the same level. It also helped me to create more interesting projects, resulting in a better portfolio.

What was it like to start your first job in tech?

Two big things happened at the same time: I moved to Berlin and I started working in tech. Before that, I was living in Barcelona and working for advertising agencies. The change was quite radical but really exciting. I learned a lot; in just a few years, I went from having no idea how to create a digital product or all the processes involved to creating my own!

What are top 3 aspects of your new career?

Being able to create my own product allowed me to manage my time and work from any place, which is great. I can also choose who I work with, which is fantastic. Even though I haven’t mastered every single step of the product development process, I now have a good understanding of everything. I can focus on UX/UI and branding, which are my true passions.

What’s a typical day like?

It starts with breakfast, of course, then I go for a nice walk with my dog and sit in front of the computer around 10am. I check emails, talk to the rest of the team to make sure we are all on the same page, and then I start with my tasks. These may be branding related, UX related, project management, etc. Luckily every day is a bit different.  

What would you say to anyone considering making a career change?

Just do it. It’s definitely an investment and you won’t regret it.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?

Growing with my projects and hopefully living in a little cabin in the woods.

What You Should Do Now

If you too are interested in learning UX design, take a look at our free short course here.

If you are interested in building a new career in tech, check out our full career-change courses, or speak to an expert program advisor for free.

by Emily Stevens on 23 October 2018

About the author

Emily Stevens

Originally from England, Emily moved to Berlin after studying French and German at university. She has spent the last seven years working in tech startups, immersed in the world of UX and design thinking. In addition to writing for the CareerFoundry blog, Emily has been a regular contributor to several industry-leading design publications, including the InVision blog, UX Planet, and Adobe XD Ideas.