Find out how BrainStation Design Instructor Sarah McVean made the career move from Product Designer at KPMG to UX Manager at Shopify.
Meet Nicholas Sim, a BrainStation alum who landed a role as a UX Designer at Microsoft right after graduating from the User Experience Design Diploma Program. Having both a graphic design and digital design background, Nicholas isn’t new to the design world, but applied to BrainStation to gain the skills and experience needed to transition into a UX role.
We asked Nick about his career transformation experience and how the program prepared him for his new role.
BrainStation: Congratulations on your role at Microsoft! Can you tell us a little bit about your role there and what a typical day looks like?
Nick: Since I just started at Microsoft a couple of weeks ago, the team has been easing me in slowly. However, I’m currently working on production and UI work for one of their existing products.
A typical day would be to sync up with other designers to see what we’re working on and if there are any roadblocks preventing what needs to be done. After that, everyone carries on with their tasks. As for myself, I’d be working on projects that involve the UI and UX of the product. The team is very friendly and easy going which makes it easy to ask for design help or feedback when needed.
How did BrainStation prepare you for job hunting? What kind of career support was provided?
BrainStation prepared me by bringing HR professionals and Senior Designers into class. The HR professionals provided tips to help our resume writing and the Senior Designer prepared mock interviews for the students. The mock interview gave us a better understanding of the type of questions companies would ask when doing an actual interview.
Career support was provided through resume and portfolio reviews, and Teddy – the Student Success team at BrainStation Vancouver – would check-in with me throughout the job search. It was good to have him around to help as it kept me accountable.
What were some of the most valuable skills you gained during your UX Design Diploma Program, and why are they important?
The most valuable skills I’ve gained are strategy, research, verbal presentation, and time management skills.
UX strategy and research requires you to plan ahead and discover problems to the solution before you start the design process. The verbal presentation skills were formed because there were many presentations throughout the program curriculum, and this trained me to speak well in front of groups.
Time management is another really valuable skill. Attending class from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM every day, while juggling assignments and the final capstone project was very difficult. Self-discipline and learning to prioritize has helped me manage my time more efficiently.
How are the skills you learned at BrainStation helping you excel in your position at Microsoft?
BrainStation taught us the industry standards to prepare me for my professional career. Applying the standards sets me up to be a strong Designer for Microsoft.
Additionally, by doing several presentations throughout the program, I received feedback from my instructors and classmates that helped me improve my delivery and storytelling. When it comes to presenting my work to stakeholders, I am well prepared to do it in a professional setting.
Time management is another skill that helps me excel in a professional environment. BrainStation has taught us to manage, plan, and prioritize workloads so that tasks can be completed well, and in a timely manner.
Has BrainStation influenced the way you view digital skills and professional development?
I came from a digital design background before taking the diploma program at BrainStation, and I’ve picked up several digital skills along the way. Some of the UX skills that I’ve gained at BrainStation include UX strategy, research, and process, which are all extremely important for any organization to consider before the development of a product.
As for professional development, BrainStation instilled the importance of networking. Your network is your net worth.
If you’re looking to make a career change like Nick did, BrainStation offers diploma programs in User Experience Design, Data Science, and Web Development.