From CX Professional to UX/UI Bootcamp

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In October 2020, I signed up for a UX/UI bootcamp with Springboard. This was something I wanted to do for a while, but could never find the time or right program to join. Like some, the extra time presented in lockdown meant this was both possible and beneficial. Keeping my mind busy was a good way to progress while the world stopped around me. It was also a valuable time to grow as a CX professional.

What we’ll cover:

How it could be helpful for CXers

The field of customer experience (CX) is rapidly evolving. Its scope of bridging departments and connecting customer/user experience is becoming more elaborate with the increase in platforms and ways a customer/user can interact with your brand. Today, digital is key within customer experience, but it’s easy to be left behind or feel it’s a world too difficult to learn.

In multiple companies I’ve observed ‘comfortable solution’ syndrome. This is when leaders solve a problem with a medium they are most comfortable with. With complexity increasing these days across all businesses, jumping to a particular channel without some sort of familiarity or a clear strategy is ineffective. It is important that leaders across CX are comfortable with all channels. Without this comfort level, leaders default to the area they are strongest in, so they can lead with confidence.

I don’t want to be a ‘comfortable solution’ leader. There is such a joy in working with different people when you can find a common language, as well as earn the respect of others. By doing a UX/UI course, I can better collaborate with experts in the digital field. This doesn’t mean I have to know everything, but know enough to confidently make decisions, ask the right questions and dig for further information.

Why a UX/UI bootcamp versus learning it myself

It’s different for each CX professional how far they want to learn a particular subject, especially considering that we need to know so many aspects of customer/user experience. In my case, I wanted an in-depth foundation in both user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design. This means I wanted to go beyond what is necessary for a CX professional. As my background is visual design, UI was also a key interest.

For over twelve years I worked in the creative field, building upon my art school education. I was able to pivot from footwear designer to experience strategist without any formal training. It became clear working with clients that understanding the entire customer/user ecosystem was key. While working agency-side, my specialty was branding and customer experience within a physical context. To understand the digital experience, UX/UI was a great expertise to know.

For years I dabbled in UX/UI. Whether it was Meetups or designing and coding my own website, I learned UX/UI in whatever ways possible. However, my confidence reached its max with this approach. Without practicing and understanding key best practices, I feared looking like a novice. It became clear that in order to advance my knowledge in UX/UI, I needed a more structured approach. This is when I decided to look for a bootcamp, aka course.

My main evaluators to find a course were curriculum, course structure, product depth, time required and professional application. The final contestants for a UX/UI bootcamp were Springboard and Ironhack. I went with Springboard as it was self-paced, included mentorship, featured career counseling and resulted in 3-4 portfolio projects. Being able to go back into an educational mindset was exciting after working as a professional for over a decade.

The biggest, relevant CX lessons so far

Appreciate your experience, but put aside your ego. Being a CXer means I understand the basic principles of UX. However, to get the most out of my course I needed to tell my ego to step aside. Sure, I thought there were better, more realistic ways to complete a task. But as this was a course, not a professional setting, I did not need to prove myself to anyone.

Trust the process. Though familiar with the basics of UX, I did not know the in-depth process. Much like the above point, I needed to trust the methods presented to me. My mentor was very adamant in taking the project step-by-step instead of jumping to conclusions. It feels very much like resisting the urge to flip to the end of a book to know how the story ends.

Experiment with new tools and processes on your own time. When working in a professional team, it can be difficult to deviate from the norm. We get swept up by existing processes and can struggle to introduce new ways. It can feel like our efforts will not be worthwhile. This is why trying new tools and processes outside of work is valuable, even essential. It allows you to try new things without pressure, and experiment as long as you like until it’s ready to roll out.

Become a part of your new community, even if it feels ‘too early’. This is probably one of the most important when learning a new skill, whether it’s for a professional or personal reason. In my case, it meant reaching out to UX/UI professionals, scheduling individual mentoring sessions, as well as joining conferences, whether virtual or in-person. It helps to feel supported and motivated while learning a new skill, as well as understanding its practical application in the real world.

Let’s summarise

  • As a CX professional, I decided to sign up for a UX/UI bootcamp
  • In multiple companies I observed ‘comfortable solution’ syndrome within leaders
  • UX/UI is a good method for having more confidence in digital products
  • There are different ways to learn UX/UI, and a bootcamp was a good option
  • There are many things CXers can learn from doing a UX/UI bootcamp