Tyra Rameka had been looking to move away from the fashion industry when she discovered UX Design quite by chance.
She knew upskilling would be a challenge but she went in ready to learn and grow, and hasn‘t looked back. We caught up with her to hear about her experience at Mission Ready and what she’s up to now.
What were you doing before you started at Mission Ready?
Before Mission Ready I was putting together collections for New Zealand fashion designers. I’d gotten a Bachelor of Fashion Design and had been working up the ladder starting in dispatch then working up to Dispatch Coordinator, Sampling & Distribution Coordinator and then Sample & Fashion Design Assistant.
How did you hear about Mission Ready?
I actually heard about it from my friend who had just graduated from Mission Ready. I was looking for a new career path where I could use the skills I’d developed in the fashion industry in a more flexible environment. My friend suggested I’d like UX Design and when I looked into it I thought it seemed like a perfect fit.
Why did you choose to study with Mission Ready?
I wasn’t too keen to go back to school—I’d already put in three years doing my Bachelor degree—so Mission Ready’s 19-week course seemed perfect. It was the last year it was going to be covered by the government so I figured it was now or never—it’d be fast, fees-free, it’d allow me to use my design skills in new ways, and my friend had given it a good review.
What was the 19-week accelerator like for you?
It was really good. I liked that the courses were in the evenings and, because it was really fast-paced, the projects were actually quite intense. I’d spend the whole day working on a Mission Ready project then log in for my class at 5pm. Having to learn Figma—a software I’d never used before—was a challenge. There were definitely learning curves to get over but, overall, it was good.
What did you love most about your Mission Ready experience?
I liked that I could reach out to my mentor and get advice from him, and I liked that although I was moving away from the traditional fashion career I was still able to be creative even though some of the projects were web-heavy. I liked being able to sit there with my art pad and sketch ideas. I’d done that when I was in fashion design and it was cool being able to do it in tech as well.
What advice would you give someone interested in studying with Mission Ready?
Do it. If you’re already looking for a UX design course then you may as well do this really quick course that’s going to try and set you up to get a job. Prior, also look at Figma and brush up on your skills. The course is really fast-paced so if you already know a little bit it’s going to help, but even if you don’t have any prior knowledge you can still just jump in.
How do you feel about being a woman in an industry that’s historically been the domain of white men?
Honestly, no. I wasn’t really aware of that. The few people I knew in tech [prior to working in tech] are Polynesian. I’d never given any thought to that and I wouldn’t let something like that stop me anyway.
Any tips on getting hired?
I’m quite fresh so I don’t think I have the weight of being hired by all these different companies but my ‘fresh tips’ I suppose would be really do your best in the internship that comes after because you can use that in your portfolio and, if you make a good impression, networking is kind of the best way to get a job. But I also live by ‘if you can’t get in the door, climb in through the window’, so in my current job I went in as an intern rather than getting hired straight away. I started in ASB Bank’s Māori and Pasifika internship programme and last week I was officially hired by them as a Graduate UX Designer.