From Retail Banking To Startup Life: How I Swapped Customer Service For UX Design

Chang Jiang was working in a bank when he saw an opportunity to improve the customer’s user experience. This led him to UX design. Since then, he’s swapped banking for startup life. Here’s how he did it.

by Emily Stevens on 29 March 2018

ux story mag

Whilst working in a bank, Chang was often privy to customer feedback – especially concerning the digital banking experience. Having always been curious about design, apps and technology, he started thinking: there must be something he could do to improve this part of the service.

At first, Chang wasn’t aware of UX design. He had always had an interest in graphic design, but it wasn’t until a friend suggested UX that it all started to fall into place. The prospect of designing professional apps that solve real-life problems ticked all the boxes, combining his passion for customer service with his creative aspirations. At that moment, Chang started to consider a career change in earnest.

“Initially, I just loved graphic design. Then one of my friends recommended that I look into UX design, and I found I was really interested in it. Then I was thinking, if I can help design beautiful apps that solve a problem and make people’s lives easier, it would be awesome!”

Chang realised a big career change would mean hitting the books. However, like many adult learners, he wasn’t in a position to quit his job and study full-time. Flexibility was the key, so he opted for the CareerFoundry online bootcamp, where he was free to keep his own schedule. Through one-to-one support from his CareerFoundry mentor and the active student community, Chang soon realised that he wasn’t alone, and this eased his transition into a brand new industry.

“This course opened another door for me to get into the tech industry. The most useful part of the course was the interaction with my mentor; this gave me lots of hands-on experience and stories about the industry. The Slack community also helps a lot! Not just the career specialists who give us lots of tips in terms of job hunting, opportunities, resume, etc. but also other students who help each other with portfolios and sharing interview experiences.”

As for the course itself, Chang especially valued the chance to get hands-on experience. Whilst studying UX design with CareerFoundry, students focus just as much on practical work as they do on theory – which means putting their new skills to work as soon as they acquire them. For budding UX designer Chang, working on real-world projects and seeing the end results was one of the most satisfying aspects of the entire experience.

His previous position at the bank gave him unique insights into real customer problems, which he was then able to address through design. Having identified the biggest user pain-points, he redesigned the Scotiabank mobile app in order to transform the user’s digital banking experience.

“Personally, the most interesting part was when I saw the final deliverables of the app I designed, which is raw and fresh!”

By the time he’d finished the course, Chang felt ready for the job market. Not only had he mastered the fundamental design skills; from his days in retail banking, he also had a strong sense of empathy. Backed up by his professional portfolio that he’d assembled as part of the course, he went in search of his first UX design role.

It wasn’t long before he landed a job at Venture Space, a Toronto-based startup, and really got stuck into his new profession. Since then, it’s been a steep learning curve – and not without its challenges. However, this is all part of the thrill, and Chang certainly considers it to be a long-term move: five years from now, he hopes to be a senior designer.

“It was a brand new world to me. In terms of my profession, I would say I have the knowledge of fundamentals for what I am going to do in UX/UI. But every day there is something new for me to learn, which could be challenging sometimes! However, overall I enjoy them and I grow with it.”

Not only has Chang crossed over from banking to design. Studying UX also opened the door to a whole new working culture. Coming from a retail banking environment, entering the startup scene is an adventure in itself, and Chang considers it to be the best thing about his new career. Aside from that, he loves being able to apply his creativity to actual real-world products.

Having successfully transformed his career, Chang is full of positivity – and strongly urges others to do the same. What advice would he give to those considering a career change?

“You should definitely give it a shot! You never know how awesome you are!”

Want to find out how awesome you are? Chat to a program advisor today and get the ball of change rolling.

What You Should Do Now

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by Emily Stevens on 29 March 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.