We all sometimes come to a point in our careers where we don't enjoy what we are doing, but most of us just continue doing it as we think how unwise it would be to start fresh again. But changing your career is very natural and nothing you should be worried about. Did you know that it is estimated that most people will have 12 jobs during their lives? And that over 39% of people who are considering career changes are motivated by higher salaries.
Here is the story of Cristina Mairal, who made the brave decision and changed her career path in UX and how she used her past experience to become successful. We spoke to her and she was most willing to share her journey, challenges and joys of her aspiration.
Cristina Mairal - Product Designer @ NewGlobe
Tell us about yourself- where you are from, any details that might be relevant, your education and more.
I was born and grew up in Barcelona and moved with my ex-partner to Amsterdam in 2007, I had a child, and at that point, I had to reinvent myself professionally for the first time.
Like many people, I studied up for a bachelor's degree and started working in something completely different. From studying business, I started working at a multidisciplinary Art Gallery, a Graphic Design professional association, then a Catering company, and then as a Catering Sales Manager at a 5-star hotel near Barcelona before moving to the Netherlands.
What was your job before ?
My last role before becoming a Product Designer was as Customer Solutions Specialist at ESOMAR.
What prompted you to take up UX as a career?
What, and who, I would say - the What, the company where I was working at the time decided to close its doors in Amsterdam, and I was lucky enough to be one of the last remaining staff members, so I had enough time and the financial security to do my research and decide my next professional step. The who, he is a colleague and a friend. He pointed me in the UI direction when we collaborated on my personal development project. He liked the project, the interactivity part, and the look of it, and encouraged me to search in that direction. That was the perfect storm to start looking at my next steps.
With your earlier experience being different from UX, was it a difficult transition ?
I would lie if I said it has not been difficult; it has. Even with the “required” skills, finding your own place in a new world requires a mix of skills, strong willpower, stubbornness, and being in the right place at the right time, with a pinch of good craziness.
What do you think is the future of UX ?
I do not have a clue; however, what I do know, I found my natural space to continue growing.
UX has shown to have a lot of possibilities, and when you dive in, you can try different areas of specialisation to find which one works for you. Are you a generalist? A specialist? A researcher?, UI? or do you excel in customer experience?
Why and to who would you recommend UX as a career?
I would recommend a career in UX if you are an inquisitive person, like solving problems and helping people. If you think there is a better way to do things, you like working collaboratively with a team and thinking outside the box.
How was your experience studying with UX Design Institute?
My experience was excellent. I enjoyed every lesson, the freedom to submit my assignments and the continued support of the UXDI team, even after graduating.
Would you need anything else except relevant qualifications to do the job?
Good preparation is important. The UX world is fascinating and moves at a fast pace. Lots of reading, training the eye on good design, solutions and trends, and being curious are a must.
In most creative jobs you need some sort of a portfolio-do you need it here? How important it is?
Yes, a portfolio is a must to showcase your methodology to approach different projects. The format or shape is up to you, website or pdf. The important part is the content and the way you display it.
Find My Programme partnered with the UX Design Institute to offer Diplomas in both UX and UI, click here to find out more about these Diplomas.