Trying to change careers while settling back in New Zealand had high school English teacher, Muryum, pretty concerned. Having completed a Masters in Education, with an undergrad in Political Science and International Relations, Muryum was working as a primary school teacher in New Zealand and had moved across the ditch to teach English at secondary school level in Australia. After 2020, Muryum felt the need to explore a career change and study software development.
Tech with flair
“I actually ended up getting into UX because I wasn’t creatively challenged enough with [software] development” Muryum recalls lightheartedly. “I’ve always been quite creative and I was always really good at art”. Her impression of UX was that it combines empathy, creativity, and technical know-how with the ability to have control over a flexible schedule. Having discovered the perfect balance between her technical knowledge, personal attributes and creative skills, Muryum made the call to get join Mission Ready’s Level 6 certification in UX/UI.
Making the switch
The idea of a career switch can be exciting but walking into a completely new sector can also be daunting and the learning curve can look steep. “I think the accessibility of the tech sector to women and women of colour has been eye-opening,” Muryum observed while highlighting the fact that local industry experience is an advantage at job interviews. The self-directed learning environment at Mission Ready, the engaging and readily available trainers, and working on real work projects with actual employers were great selling points.
What felt like a risky move delivered results and delivered quickly—even before completing the 10-week industry experience component, Muryum got a call from Ask Nicely where she is currently working as a UX designer. She found the “mentors at Mission Ready were really supportive of my decision to sort of go out on my own,” and adds that her own study and voluntary projects also helped fast-track her very successful career change. “I did the Google UX Design Certificate while volunteering for a meditation startup in America. When I reached the interview stage I was able to showcase both Mission Ready and real world experience as well as the transferable skills I had from teaching”.
How to land
Her story sounds like an ideal case and she perhaps makes it look easy. Her experience at Mission Ready says otherwise. “You really have to take initiative to make sure you’re setting yourself up for success” Muryum advises. For the evidently rewarding “whirlwind of a journey” she recommends going head first and to trust the process. Muryum found the immersive learning experience thoroughly enjoyable. She went on to describe how front-loading information in the early weeks becomes crucial very soon as projects are worked on and portfolios are built, and the industry partners network provides a source of real world problems waiting for an inquisitive UX designer to solve. Her advice is clear and to the point. “You really have to do the best that you can in order to build up not only your knowledge base, but also show your knowledge base for potential job opportunities that come along”.
It’s been over six months since Muryum started working as a UX designer. How does a newly qualified successful UX graduate spend her day at the office? “My days are pretty varied—design sessions, meetings with developers and product managers. A balance of process and some UI elements, and solving real customer problems”.
Often companies have hybrid needs, and UX designers who have more specific User Interface skills, like Muryum, can find themselves wearing both hats. She stresses the importance of being able to show the transferability of skills that can add value to any UX/UI role.
”There is absolutely room for people coming into text with non-tech background. Believe in yourself, take initiatives and know that you can make the transition”.
Chat to one of our friendly team members to see if Mission Ready is right for you.