Graduate Catch Up: Leah Bayndrian
Course: UX Design Transform, Full-time
Background: Investment Banking Administration
Current Role: UX Research Specialist
A year on from completing our UX Design Transform course, Leah Bayndrian shares her learning journey with us, and describes how the experience prepared her to hit the ground running as a UX Research Specialist with Oneflare.
What were you doing before Academy Xi, and why did you decide to give UX a go?
Before starting my UX course I had been working in London for an investment bank; mostly in the area of banking administration. I was involved with updating systems and streamlining processes to work with new banking regulations that were coming into effect in the UK.
My role involved working with a team of 150 people, finding out how they used current systems, what frustrated them, and their goals and needs when it came to building new systems. The engineer I was working with to create this, suggested I look into UX, so when I flew back home to Sydney I began my research. I came across Academy Xi and signed up – kicking off a pretty exciting career change!
How well prepared did you feel after graduating from Academy Xi to hit the ground running at work?
Academy Xi was able to prepare me for the world of design and all the new challenges I needed to take on when job hunting after my course. The design world is very new and different for someone who came from a non-design background, there was a lot I had to learn and understand in terms of how I needed to prepare for a design role. Everything is different, from the way you work, to how you speak and communicate with developers and stakeholders. There is a lot to learn and a very short space to grasp it all.
The Academy Xi UX Transform course gave me the ability to understand what I wanted out of a UX role, as well as all the base information with doors ready to open. The course helps you understand where your interests lie, as in what you like to do and where you want to grow and develop.
Some people were drawn to the UI side of design whereas I was more taken with the research. I’m more involved in the early concept of design, deciding why and how we should tackle problems to build for a better experience.
The course teaches you all the base skills that will equip you to complete UX projects. During the course you undertake real client projects which is a highly valuable experience. You work with the clients to get an understanding of what is expected from you as a UX Designer and understand how to complete a full design journey, delivering an outcome to your clients – which is what is expected from you as soon as you start your first role.
Xi equipped me with the skills to carry out the design thinking process with variable options to take and an understanding of how to conduct research through testing and iterating designs. They help you stand on your own two feet, with the ability to understand the pros and cons of different kinds of processes and tools, choosing where to implement how best to tackle a problem, enabling you to continually grow your skills and keep learning.
How did Academy Xi help you find and prepare for the role with Oneflare?
The Tribe at Academy Xi was able to help prepare me for the world of design and all the new challenges I needed to take on when job hunting after my course. During the course we were always told how to get the most out of it and to really put ourselves out there by going to meetups, networking and understanding what the day to day world of UX is really like.
Throughout my course, The Outcomes Team helped with many areas of interview and job preparation:
- Resume writing: Translating past career experience into the context of my design skillset
- Interview prep: we gained tips on how to prep for interviews and get our story across. We also played out mock interviews and practiced questions. Importantly, we learnt how to question our potential employers to gain an understanding of their UX maturity, and how they currently work with design teams
- Creating a portfolio: we worked on creating a portfolio with case studies from our client projects which all employers wanted to look over.
- Creating an online presence: They encouraged us to write blogs and be active on Linkedin
- Networking: creating connections within the design world was also good advice, as the design community, while growing, is still relatively small, it’s good to build connections and be able to reach out for advice from mentors and other professionals.