How Christine Tayaba Used a General Assembly UX Design Bootcamp to Make a Career Switch

In the midst of a sales career for the biotech and pharmaceutical industry, Christine Tayaba realized it was time to make a change. After being in a job that required constant travel, she knew she wanted a change in career and in lifestyle. This is where General Assembly comes in. How did Christine use a 10-week course to find a career she can be happy in? We got a chance to talk with her about her experience at GA’s UX design bootcamp!

While researching career paths that would allow her to use both creativity and logic, she found UX design — and eventually, she was led to General Assembly.

“I started thinking about making a career change because I’m really creative, but I’m also very analytical at the same time. I started doing research on different jobs out there that incorporate those skills, and I came across General Assembly through recommendations of a few friends of mine who had done the program. So I did some informational interviews with them and then also went to an open house to try to understand what UX design is all about. … it was a really good place for me to ask a lot of questions and really understand what I was going to be getting involved in.”

Though she could pay part of the tuition out of pocket, she was also able to use Climb to help cover the rest.

“I was able to afford about half of the program and pay that in cash, luckily. I feel pretty fortunate about that, so I didn’t need to finance the whole thing. And I found Climb through General Assembly, and it was a really easy process … I got approved pretty quickly, so it was nice to have that so I wasn’t scrambling to try to figure out how I can come up with the rest of the tuition and the fees. It was a really seamless, easy process.”

Once in the classroom, Christine began learning not only the fundamentals of UX design, but also how to present the skills she’s learned.

“They really give you a good foundation about the industry, and they give you the basic fundamentals on how to get started, so I thought that was really great. I was lucky because our class was very close-knit, and everybody was very supportive. So it was really easy to figure stuff out by just talking with people in the class or reaching out to your instructor. The bootcamp gives you the fundamentals of UX — some psychology, research, and design. You take what you learn and put it into action by building a web app, mobile app, and working with a real-world client. I wasn’t used to showcasing my thought process, so you get a lot of practice presenting your work … When it comes to UX design, you have to be able to collaborate with different teams, ask the right questions and be resourceful, communicate ideas, and be able to have discussions with all levels of management … You have to be able to present your work, present your case, and why you made certain design decisions, which is really important.”

And with opportunities for real-world applications and discussions with industry professionals, she got an education that helped prepare her for the next stage...

“They had set us up with a real-life client, so that was really cool to get a little bit of experience working with someone on a true application. They had also brought in some experts in the industry, which I found helpful for portfolio evaluation because that’s also something that’s really important when you go into UX design, how to present your work so that anyone that’s looking to hire you is seeing the whole scope of your experience and your skill set. To have professionals or people that are freelancing or that have been in the field for a very long time look at our work, I thought that was really important.”

...including the post-bootcamp job hunt.

“They had a sort of career coach/guide at GA, and I worked with him to try to monitor all of the applications that I had sent out. I had an Excel spreadsheet where I knew exactly who I sent an application to, what kind of application it was, and did I include a cover letter, so it was really really detailed for every single job … I don’t think I ever in the past had monitored my applications as much as I did now, but I think moving forward I’ll always do that … It keeps track of all your progress, and for me, I’m able to calculate how many applications go out and when I get an interview, so I can kind of calculate how many I need to send.”

Now, she’s in a career that’s more challenging, but more fulfilling.

“It’s the complete opposite of what I did before. Because I had been working for so long and was used to talking in front of people, it made it easy for me to talk about my work. So that was a big plus in my work experience that I brought over, with having these discussions and trying to get buy-in on my designs. Everybody is a designer and will have opinions — in sales there’s always a lot of rejection, so you kind of get used to taking feedback and trying to work with it. I brought over those skills that really helped, but they’re totally different jobs. I made a huge jump into a new career, which I don’t regret at all because i’m really happy.

“It was not the easiest because it took a lot of work and a lot of commitment, and I think even now I’m still learning more. The thing is, you learn all these design programs, which is great, but you always have to learn more. Technology is always getting updated, but once you have the basic tools, they’re not too different. I just feel like I’m learning every day.”

With all this experience in her pocket, what would Christine say to someone who’s considering enrolling in a UX design bootcamp?

“For anyone who’s interested, I tried to get up to speed on the tools that I knew I was going to use in class so that in class, I wasn’t worried about the little things and was really soaking in all of the fundamentals that they’re trying to teach us. I would try to get up to speed on anything in technology and design, so read the books that they recommend (which I did as well). Then, start to ask a lot of questions if you can talk to any other UX designers, and do interviews with them to understand the field and the potential work that you’re going to do. That would be great because when you do talk to these people, they give you all different answers. This job is so huge, and you can be very detailed and work on certain things, or you can work on very high-level stuff — you could be all about mobile, you could be all about web, so I’d just say try to get fully prepared for the course before starting it.”

Christine is a client of Climb’s. However, she was not paid or otherwise compensated for this testimonial. This testimonial reflects the real-life experiences and opinions of Christine; however, it should not be assumed that all users will have the same experiences. Individual results may vary.

The quoted statements appear verbatim as given by the user, except for the correction of grammar and typing errors. Some testimonials may have been shortened or rearranged for the sake of clarity.

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