Jason Field, BrainStation’s Founder and CEO, spoke to hosts Rob Hayes and Tom Creighton about the development of Synapse, the world's first data-driven student learning platform.
Meet Krista, she took our Online UX Design Course in the Winter 2018 semester and has put together some notes on her experience in the course. If you want to learn more about her experience as a student with us at our online campus, and why she took the UX Design course, read the Q/A below!
What were you doing before the course?
I work for the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. We manage a suite of federal government platforms. Some are internal to federal government employees and others are public facing. Some of these platforms were originally conceived and built up to 10 years ago, with no strong UX principles applied. Now, we find ourselves rebuilding the platforms entirely, with a strong need for user experience at the core of the rebuild.
What led you to look for a course at BrainStation?
BrainStation came up in my online research when I was looking for UX courses I could complete online. It also came very highly recommended from a few Torontonians who had taken courses at BrainStation (friends of friends).
What led you to enroll in a course at BrainStation?
My team and I were in a unique position where we fell into learning UX out of necessity, after realizing how badly we needed it. We didn’t have the funding to hire permanent UX positions or bring in external consultants or experts, so we needed to learn the skills in-house ASAP.
What were your feelings going into it on day one?
I was excited to learn something new. I already had a strong interest in UX and was applying concepts at work before having any real training or education. I found it was a natural next-step of my Communications background, which made for an easy transition.
Did you have any prior experience with the course content?
I had already learnt some basic concepts and principles at work, but wanted to gain some real experience and education, mostly to better understand and boost my confidence in applying UX practices to the work I was already doing.
What was your experience in class, with your instructors and with the content?
I liked all the tools and resources we discovered in class. I was able to use a lot of these immediately at work the next day. The instructors were knowledgeable and current experts in their field, which I thought was important. In college, I had had a few professors who had already retired but were teaching on the side. In a dynamic, ever-changing industry like UX, relevance and timeliness are key.
How did the course impact you in your current role?
This course has helped me in my current role but also has started me on a path to learning more about UX. BrainStation’s part time online course was a great overview of the fundamentals of user experience design. In many ways I think it ‘planted the seed’ for an interesting and passionate career in UX.
What do you do on a day-to-day?
I run the help desk for our platforms, meaning that any question any user has about any one of our platforms comes through me before it reaches management, developers, community engagement, policy, etc. I have first-hand knowledge of our users and their pain points, frustrations, wish lists, bugs, etc. Often this involves trying to find the balance of, “Do we need to build better help content or do we need to fix the problem at its core, i.e. the UI, user flows, etc?” In the past, our platforms were built by developers out of necessity but this makes it very slow-moving and expensive to make changes in code, rather than testing and prototyping first, before putting it into production.
Would you recommend this course to your friends?
Yes I would recommend this course to others. I think traditional education offerings may still hold more weight if you have zero experience, but for me it was a great way to learn the concepts quickly, then come into work and apply them the very next day.
Is there anything else you’d like to add about the experience?
I found the course, BrainStation itself, the instructors, all very innovative and current. I found the student portal especially well-done and easy to navigate. Overall it was a great experience.