Transformative Journey: My Personal Odyssey through UX Bootcamp

Annie Kuo
October 23, 2023
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Hi there!👋For those who are interested in my story or are hesitant about whether you should join a UX bootcamp for a career change, this one is for you! :) 😊

As my previous article discussed the reasons behind my decision to transition into UX Design, today, I’d like to share the journey during my time at Mento Design Academy.📚

Before we start, I’d like to give you an overview of three main points I’ll cover later, which are:

The things I encountered while taking an online course:

  1. Mastering Time: Strategies for Success in UX Bootcamp
  2. Community Connection: The Heart of My UX Bootcamp Journey
  3. Navigating the Road: The Power of Mentorship in UX Education

⭐️ Mastering Time: Strategies for Success in UX Bootcamp

If you’re considering a career change, there are a few things you should take into account before enrolling in any bootcamp or course.🥸

First and foremost, let’s talk about time management.

I emphasize ‘time management’ because understanding when to work on the course and when to take breaks is incredibly vital. In today’s fast-paced generation, there’s a constant demand to be as productive as possible. The truth is, we’re not robots. Due to the self-paced nature of my bootcamp, I can’t tell you how many times I criticized myself when I got stuck at a particular stage. As a result, my sleep suffered because I believed that continuously working on it would eventually yield the desired results, which was very unhealthy.😧

Remember to reach out for help when you get stuck, so that you don’t waste time. When I was learning UI elements in Figma, I looked into many YouTube videos to find the solution in hours. It was really frustrating to search for the specific answer I wanted. Fortunately, we have the Slack channel called ‘student-lounge,’ which serves as a place for students from different countries to study together simultaneously. I had the chance to ask questions and engage in conversations with others. By seeking help, I found it more efficient and reduced my frustration. (Thank you so much to those who have helped me along the way. 🥺🙏) The point is, as beginners, we can’t learn everything all at once. Sometimes lessons need to be acknowledged through experiences. Being aware of the moments when you need to change your mindset is key.🙌

Overall, working hard is definitely a great characteristic, but remembering to set aside time and give yourself a break can sometimes be the solution you’re looking for. At the end of the day, there is no standard way towards time management, but having a good balance in a self-paced online course is incredibly important. (There is also a video from Mento Design Academydiscussing how to effectively time block or structure your study time.)

⭐️ Community Connection: The Heart of My UX Bootcamp Journey

Many bootcamps are offered remotely or with hybrid options, which can often lead to isolation if designers don’t collaborate and communicate. Since my bootcamp is online, studying all by myself can be very lonely at times. As someone who enjoys socializing, I am grateful that my bootcamp has assigned me a study buddy. We have the opportunity to exchange our progress and updates during our weekly calls. The more weeks we have spent together, the stronger connections we have built. (Dear girls, I’m very grateful to have met both of you on this journey, and you both mean a lot to me.) 🌼

Moreover, the community of Mento is extremely caring. ❤️ We have our biweekly call each month, and sometimes it can be a workshop organized for specific topics by our student success manager or anyone who would like to share their work and receive invaluable feedback from others. Since the students in our community are from different countries, I am very grateful that my bootcamp is considerate enough to take time zones into consideration. We have options for students who live in European/Asian countries and students who live in the US. Sometimes an hour can fly by when we’re engaging and sharing ideas. During the hour, I honestly don’t think I’m alone because someone might share their feelings, and I can’t agree with them more. Apart from the biweekly call, we also have UI challenges, which provide an opportunity to collaborate with others. Overall, while the community may not be large, I appreciate the quality and the sense of connection we share.🍀

⭐️ Navigating the Road: The Power of Mentorship in UX Education

When it comes to mentorship, I would say it is definitely the highlight of this article. I had the opportunity to have my mentor, who is also the founder of the bootcamp. Not gonna lie, I was nervous when I met him for the first time.😅 However, as our course kept going, our conversations became more natural. He possesses an exceptional depth of knowledge and expertise in Product Design. Not only did he share his knowledge and experience generously during the mentor call, but he was also a dedicated mentor, always guiding me in the right direction. I’m genuinely grateful for the fact that he didn’t just provide answers; he encouraged critical thinking, fostered creativity, and helped me develop the most important mindset in Product Design. 📚

💎 Throughout our mentorship, he has been a source of inspiration by constantly providing examples and consistently demonstrating professionalism. I really enjoyed our time together because he is also humorous and down-to-earth. Therefore, sometimes I feel the time passed by too quickly as I always made sure I understood everything he mentioned. I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to learn from him.

🌱 (Thank you, Radu, for being an inspirational role in my journey of career transition. I look forward to unfolding the future possibilities that your mentorship has opened up for me.) 🌱

Unveiling the Gems: Key Takeaways from My UX Bootcamp Experience

To sum up, I still remember I was hesitant if I should join a bootcamp or go for a master’s degree at first. Making a career change is truly terrifying at any time in anyone’s life. However, I’m glad I chose Mento Design Academy because it changed my perspective towards design in life. Not only can the curriculum flexibly fit into an individual’s schedule, but it also provides practical material to make us feel real in the assignment. Sometimes, I’d get so immersed in the material that I’d forget this was a bootcamp!😳

Another thing I like is that as the course keeps going, we always have the reflection section to document our process in each chapter. It was quite rewarding since the bootcamp constantly encouraged us to think aloud. To be honest, I’m beyond grateful I got to practice it as well. Instead of relying solely on my brain to remember everything, it is always better to keep a journal.📝

Last but not least, the most remarkable lesson I learned in the bootcamp is the importance of sharing ideas and thoughts in public. I’m not saying it is solely about cultural differences, but as an Asian student, expressing my opinion in front of others is definitely a challenging task. (This is just my personal experience.) I remember I wasn’t comfortable and confident at the beginning. Nonetheless, I’m getting used to it, and this is my biggest takeaway, which I enjoy a lot.✨

Although it is just the beginning, I can’t wait to see what’s next for me on this journey. :)

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