Adding UX Skills to Software Profession

Professional certificate graduate Shih Hung Lin dives deeper into tech career

After receiving his Computer Science degree from National Cheng Kung University(Taiwan) in 2012, Shih Hung Lin began his career in the software industry. He started out at National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology, a top research center in Taiwan, where he was both a software engineer and a project manager, focusing on developing the company’s shipping equipment systems.

Three years later, Shih Hung went to work at Transcend Information, a manufacturing and distribution company of Flash drives, hard drives and other memory products. In his Advanced R&D Engineer position, he was responsible for developing the Android app and the Windows applications in the company’s body cameras. It was during this time of app development that the UX/UI field sparked his interest.

“After working for a few years, I wanted to take a break and expand my knowledge,” Shih Hung says. “I knew studying abroad could also strengthen my English skills.” Shih Hung was ready for a new adventure to expand his knowledge and he knew just the place—Berkeley. More specifically, our UX/UI professional certificate program.

What drew you to our UX/UI certificate?

I decided to apply because of UC Berkeley's reputation and great location. I had visited the Bay Area when I was a kid and was impressed with the San Francisco Bay and the amazing seafood.

Berkeley is a city I have always wanted to visit, and I especially wanted to experience the classroom atmosphere in the United States. I chose the UX/UI program because I am an app/computer application engineer. I figured expanding my knowledge in this subject area would improve the user experience of my products.

What courses did you take with the program? Which ones were your favorite and why?

My favorite courses were Design Thinking and UX Strategy and Visual Design Principles. The Design Thinking course gave me a very complete and clear understanding of the UX design process. I enjoyed interviewing target users to understand their pain points while designing and testing the prototypes.

The Visual Design course allowed us to create a series of logos, brochures, postcards, et cetera, which was interesting and further enhanced my knowledge of aesthetics.

What was your experience like in the classroom?

It was amazing! Most of the classes required group work, which allowed me to learn from students of different cultures while cultivating the spirit of teamwork. The instructors were also very patient when giving directions or answering questions. In Taiwan, students generally just concentrate on listening to the lesson, but in the U.S., education is more interactive.

How does taking these courses fit in with your professional goals?

I have always been particularly interested in the human factors of engineering and related knowledge. As a software engineer, I believe that a good user experience strengthens customer loyalty, and a beautiful interface enhances their willingness to use the product. Through this series of courses, I have learned a lot of practical UX/UI skills and knowledge.

What features really stood out for you?

Most of the instructors are from the top companies in the Bay Area, such as Apple, Google and Autodesk. Because they have insights into these industries, they helped us to gain the knowledge and skills that we really need in the workplace.

More importantly, Berkeley Global offers an internship program with Bay Area companies. I enjoyed having the opportunity to work with the company Gamersafer for four months. Gamersafer is a startup located in San Jose, which was founded by former Intel Corporation product marketing director, Rodrigo Tamellini.

Because of the pandemic I was working remotely, but with the convenience of the internet I used Microsoft Team software to discuss and update Rodrigo with my work progress on a daily basis. Gamersafer is committed to creating a good gaming environment without crime, fraud and abusive behaviors, as well as providing account security and other safety solutions. I was responsible for improving the user experience and flow of our app. I was also involved in the design of the new Esport membership and ticketing system. Rodrigo patiently guided me while providing valuable feedback on my work. It has deepened my practical knowledge in UX/UI Design.

I believe these internships help students connect with the real world and enhance their portfolio after completing their studies.

How are you using the certificate in your current position?

I am currently working as a system engineer at Chief Telecom Inc. I am responsible for developing web portals for cloud services.

My supervisor is very interested in my experience studying at Berkeley Global. He would like me to apply what I have learned to the design of the user interface and enhance the user experience when I develop products in the future!

What were your top 5 things to do in Berkeley and in the Bay Area?

Because my apartment was located in San Francisco, I spent most of my time in the city. I loved visiting museums and zoos, eating at Fisherman's Wharf and watching the sunset at the beach on weekends.

My favorite place is Muir Woods National Monument. I am always in front of the computer at work, so I enjoy being close to nature in my spare time. The trees are huge and the forest is so primitive, so it feels like you are in “Jurassic Park.” Unfortunately, I am not able to travel to other states because of COVID-19 in 2021. I hope I can return to this beautiful and memory-filled place after the pandemic is over.

What advice would you give on how to best succeed to a student who is coming to study at Berkeley ?

I think everyone has their own way of learning and at their own pace. But I recommend asking your instructor many questions and having in-depth discussions with your classmates. Also, don’t hesitate to help others to solve problems so that you can practice your new knowledge.

What does earning this certificate mean for you personally and professionally?

This certificate means that I have the ability to practice UX/UI design. I am not only capable of working as a software engineer, but also of designing UI and optimizing user experience. I have learned so much at Berkeley Global and I will not stop learning. I plan to continue to move forward in the direction of being a human-centered designer.