Upskill, Connect And Explore: How An Industrial Designer Made The Switch To UX

Upskill, Connect And Explore: How An Industrial Designer Made The Switch To UX

December 21, 2023

Currently working at Datacom as an Associate Experience Designer, Danbee An was looking to make a quick and smooth career transition.

Holding a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial design and working full-time, Danbee found her “perfect opportunity to upskill, connect and explore” in Mission Ready’s 19-week UX Designer accelerator. Having successfully completed the intensive course and the career transition, Danbee shared some valuable insights from her experience.  

A digitally-realised imagination

“I studied 3D Digital Fabrication as a minor in University, and digital design gave me the freedom to design anything I could imagine.” Realising how much she enjoyed bringing imaginative solutions to life by applying good design principles, Danbee was able to see a connection between industrial design and the fast-moving world of UX. In her own words, “UX Design seemed to be the digital equivalent of Industrial Design—carrying similar mindsets, principles, and processes—so I was pretty confident that this was for me.”

Ever since people started creating spaces—homes, community spaces, and today’s megacities—the ability to apply good design to solve everyday problems is increasingly important. From the classic Vespa scooter to the sleek iMac screens, all good designs balance functionality with aesthetics often becoming a brand’s signature—good design not only makes sense, it  looks and feels great too. Achieving this balance is what UX/UI designers strive for, and at 33% higher than the national median salary levels, they’re on the higher end of the pay scale in New Zealand.

Fast-tracked and future-proof

The accelerator courses at Mission Ready are useful for anyone looking to make a career change or upgrade their technical knowledge to match the pace of the current market. Having crossed the finish line, Danbee was able to give a first-hand account of what it was like. “Hectic but valuable, literally go hard or go home.” Her personal hack was to remind herself why she is passionate about what she is studying and to put in the time and effort. She notes “Mission Ready offers so many opportunities. It’s up to you to grab those opportunities and make them yours.”

When asked what some of her highlights were at Mission Ready, Danbee mentioned the 10-week industry experience component. She recalls, “It was a very valuable experience, and I learned many things from many wonderful mentors at Datacom”.  

Making the call

Her success is inspiring, and according to Danbee, it is replicable. Her ten weeks at Datacom enabled her to connect with the team and learn from them directly. “I worked hard to meet all the deliverables of the project while taking on other tasks that the team needed help with, and made the effort to get to know the team. From my experience of working at different companies, everyone loves a hard worker that can be fun to work with—so I tried to be the employee that people would want to work with”.  

Solving real-world problems and improving user experience on a daily basis, UX designers like Danbee play a crucial role in making the world both functionally efficient and aesthetically pleasing. As the industry continues to pick up the pace, the demand for industry-experienced tech professionals will grow. Hence the popularity of short courses that offer collaboration with industry partners. “Hard work pays off, so if you are going to make a commitment for 19 weeks, try your best, put in 200%, and don’t be afraid to try new things.” Danbee reminds us that sharpening your tech skills and learning from industry-focused mentors will lead to successful results.