After establishing herself in an affiliate marketing career, Isabel Korman realized that she wanted more from her career. She wanted to be able to create and think creatively on the job, engage in more problem solving, and work more collaboratively with others. She loved the excitement that came with creating and the ideation that went into the process. She also enjoyed the exhilarating process of coming up with new ideas and the challenges that came with it.
Isabel is also a visual person and delights seeing her work come to life in front of her. This passion stems from Isabel’s life-long background and involvement in art, ranging from theater and music to drawing and dance.
She wanted a similar kind of drive and passion from her career.
It wasn’t until a random conversation with a friend that the term “UX Design” first surfaced. This sparked her interest, and the idea for a new career came to light.
Bolstered by an ensuing job search and deep curiosity about the field, Isabel started to seriously research UX design as a career option. She read articles, reviewed blogs, spoke to career advisers, and even had the opportunity to discuss the field with a designer at Apple. Isabel wanted to familiarize herself with the terminology and understand what a career pivot would take.
The more she read about UX, the more intrigued and excited she became. Isabel was soon realizing that UX aligned with what she envisioned her career to be—full of ideation, collaboration and problem solving. She realized that UX design was all about putting yourself in the shoes of others, creating beautiful and functional designs, solving real problems, and also thinking about the overall business goals and strategy.
“I wanted to continue my education and enrich my knowledge of UX beyond my own research."
Isabel also knew she would have plenty of room for career growth with UX design. Part of Isabel’s month-long research process led her to our Professional Program in User Experience (UX) Design.
Unsurprisingly, Isabel wanted to keep her marketing job while she prepared for her next career. “I wanted support from mentors in the field and other people who were going through the same path as me,” Isabel shared. “I knew doing a program like UC Berkeley’s would be a great credential under my belt as I was looking for new work.”
There were three main reasons Berkeley’s program stood out.
- The flexible courses and graduation timeline gave Isabel the power to determine how fast she could progress through the program.
- She liked that instructors are working professionals who understand the mechanics of working in the UX field.
- All the courses are very hands-on and allow you to directly apply the concepts learned to upcoming projects.
One of the benefits of going through the program is the shared experience with her fellow students. Classmates and instructors weigh in on projects. Group assignments help simulate the working processes that professionals face in the field. “Even with everyone’s busy schedules,” Isabel says, “we were able to communicate clearly and find time for the projects.”
Another factor that Isabel appreciated was the diversity of students, each of whom brought expertise from varying backgrounds and melded them into shared goals that directed their UX projects. She had the opportunity to work on several group projects with other students. This was great practice for working in a team of designers.
Experience and Expertise
While the student cohort was such a positive plus to her student journey, Isabel was also appreciative of the instructors’ experience and direction.
In her first class, Introduction to UX Design, instructor Minakshi Mukherjee impressed Isabel with her thoroughness and diligence in delivering the material. “She was patient and provided great feedback for every step of our projects,” Isabel enthuses.
Relevant Course Material
Diagramming and Prototyping for UX proved another boon for Isabel. In her words, instructor Brett Redinger “had a very blunt, honest and unique approach to design, careers and the design process. I was excited to come to class and hear what gem of industry knowledge Brett would share each evening.”
She was a bit intimidated at first by his class speed, direct approach and project requirements, but soon valued the push and drive that Brett urged all of his students to adopt. As a result of this creative pressure, Isabel came out of this course with her favorite project, one she’s proud to include in her portfolio.
Sarah Gregory, who taught User Research for UX, provided a different kind of spark. The instructor, of course, came to class with lots of detailed information, but it was her enthusiasm that fired up Isabel. “I felt energized when I came into the room. She held the attention of our entire 24-person class,” she shares. And when she completed that course, Isabel was teeming with new theories and hands-on practical strategies that she could apply to projects moving forward.
In Isabel’s Words
“I greatly enjoyed my experience at Berkeley,“ she enthuses. “I remember happily getting on BART after work every week and going to classes. It was an exciting feeling and I was looking forward to all the new things I would learn each week.”
Armed with a portfolio bursting with professional-quality work, Isabel is now trying to match her education with the perfect job. As she sums it up, “Throughout my whole experience, I never once regretted my decision to switch into UX and study at Berkeley. It felt right the entire time, and I wondered why I never knew about this field before. I felt like I finally found what it is I’m meant to do in life, a career that will make me happy. I am hungry for more and can’t wait for my new career to begin!”
Are you hungry for a better career? Dig into the Professional Program in User Experience (UX) Design.