Academy Xi Blog

From Architect to Service Designer at Qantas

By Academy Xi

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Students of Xi: Meet Tobias

Tobias Robinson decided to leave the comfort of his job as an Architect to enter the world of Service Design — an industry that had only recently popped up on his radar.

“When I found Service Design, I started asking questions as I didn’t know what it was. The more I delved into that world, the more excited I became,” recalls Tobias.

Before Tobias found Service Design, he felt trapped in the slow pace of Architecture. “Most Architects will say they’re the most highly skilled, underpaid people. And it’s true, but for me, money wasn’t the chief motivator — it was also the pace of the industry.”

Instead of staying in a job that failed to satisfy and bring him fulfillment, Tobias went out in search of a new field, industry, and career. He landed at Academy Xi and took both the part-time Service Design (SD) course and the full-time User Experience Design (UX) course.

At first, Tobias replaced his nine-to-five job as an Architect with a full-time UX course — essentially comprising the same hours as a full-time job for 10 weeks. Throughout the course, students were exposed to other fields of design that utilise the skills of UX. One of these fields was Service Design. Tobias became interested in learning more about this field and delved straight into the SD part-time course, two evenings a week, at the same time as continuing the UX Transform full-time course!

The exposure of two different fields, the overlap of skills, and the insights of multiple instructors created the perfect storm of experience. This experience, led by a determined motivation to learn and dive into new industries, would lead Tobias down the path needed to meet the right employer.

During the Service Design course, Tobias worked on a real-life project with Qantas. All of the students in the course focused on the service design of baggage handling: a project that was both complex and intensive, providing the perfect learning environment for deploying Service Design skills.

While working with designers at Qantas, Tobias was headhunted for a newly launched airline project. Qantas was on the lookout for someone with skills in Service Design and problem-solving to help them launch their in-flight connectivity service — essentially their new Wi-Fi offering, and Tobias seemed to fit the bill perfectly.

Tobias had always dreamed of working in the airline industry; it’s not only a glamourous industry, but it’s customer-centric at its core. “Airlines have a way of fostering skills and staff, which is not something that many corporations get right. There’s a lot of business-to-business work that goes on in Qantas, but at the end of the day, the touch point is the customer,” he explains. He started working officially for Qantas after [the UX/SD course ended] and was thrilled at the immediate opportunity available ahead of him.

In his new role as Service Design Business Analyst at Qantas, Tobias spends more than half of his time talking to people, whether they be customers trialing the MVP or engineers working on the service.

“It’s engaging with people, it’s coordinating people, and it’s knowing the right questions to ask,” explains Tobias.

On explaining the what-if scenarios, Tobias admits that if he didn’t have the courage to make the leap into Service Design, he would be stuck in an industry that just wasn’t for him.

“I would be very slowly chugging away at a career in architecture that presented a much narrower scope. There are a lot of amazing architects who really enjoy doing very particular things, but that was never me.”

And all of his hard work has led here: to a new job in his new industry, almost immediately after his investment of hard work and dedicated learning time. Reflecting back on his journey, Tobias smiles: “Working on real industry projects at Academy Xi has set me up for working as a Service Designer at Qantas.”


If you’re like Tobias and are stuck in a career that’s not the right fit, make the change today and transition into a role that’s challenging, exciting, ever-changing. Learn more about our Service Design course and how you can transform your career.

Academy Xi Blog

Graduate Catch Up: Leah Bayndrian

By Academy Xi

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 Student Profile

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.
Thanks Leah! If you are interested in a career transformation yourself, check out our range of courses here.