Creative Confidence

{ 🎨 } – Becoming A UX Designer

Ozge Ergen – Becoming a UX Designer

About a year ago, I started on a new journey with one purpose in mind.

It was quite unlikely for me back then to accept challenges without analyzing risks. I was a business consultant, after all, the type of person who is good at observing markets and behaviors to create strategies. It was easy for me to make decisions professionally but personally, it could take me months to make even small changes in my life.

After 8 years in product and content management, I was consulting in the digital entertainment industry. I had a good income, the time and the “freedom”. So I started exploring, I used any excuse to travel to a new place and read books on subjects that are new to me.  

In one of those long hours waiting at the airport, I picked some books on behavior science. Intrigued by the subject I added popular psychology to my reading list. I had this hunger in me to learn more. So I decided to look for master programs. Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) caught my interest, love the idea of examining our relationship with technology through the lens of psychology. Then I came across to General Assembly’s UX design immersive. GA was fairly new in design education at the time but it was perfect for me. (I wasn’t quite sure if I was cut out to be a designer, I had very low self-esteem for any creative job back then. I thought I could take this 10 weeks course to get a better understanding of the field and my ability to make a switch.)

I had to wait for 3 years to sort out my work and finances (a lot of challenges.) When I was finally ready to enroll unexpected visa issue forced me to delay my plans. I would need to wait 6 more months. I somehow knew that I don’t want to wait anymore. So I didn’t. 🙂 With a little detour, I enrolled in UX Design Immersive program in Austin, finished the pre-work project in a week and flew to the US to become a UX Designer.

It wasn’t like any experience I had before. The course was full time and we were required to work on projects in the evenings (for me in the early mornings.) Ok, this part is very familiar to most of us I assume in one point most of the professionals (regardless of your business) needed to work late hours due to project deadlines, etc. However, in my experience, it was always a reason to complain. I never liked working after typical work hours.

Now I know that the work becomes “your work” and hours spent in front of a computer feels like your act of creative expression when you are given the confidence to produce without the fear of being judged.

Throughout the course, I learned new design skills and practice them at the same time. It was pretty intense, to be honest, and sometimes really stressful but during those 10 weeks, I noticed an increase in my energy. Somehow I had the confidence to do anything. It was almost like going back to the first years of my career, those times when I wanted to show the world how passionate and motivated I was.

I remember my first interview for a UX designer job after I completed the course. When I was asked to talk about my design process and projects on my portfolio I clearly had the confidence in my work and skills. And I didn’t fake anything, it was very natural.

When I think back I now see more clearly that the more I climbed up the ladder in my career the less I used the creative muscles that helped me stand out in the first place. I became an expert in my field and had chosen professional environments where I could be “right” all the time.  I was looking confident but actually, I had this lingering doubt in my creativity that forced me to make safe choices.

I, as a professional who had over 15 years of experience working in the corporate and private sector, adopted a new perspective with my journey into UX Design. I not only can think more independently when I approach new projects and problems but also communicate my ideas better without the fear of being judged. I let my “curiosity” lead any business discussion and I am not afraid to ask for feedback on my work and always excited to learn from other designers and thought leaders.

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Ozge Ergen / UX Design Expert @ Applause

Connecting dots and solving problems with design. Making playlists and inspiring people with music. UX Designer / Researcher based in London.