How I got into tech: Journey to a career in UI/UX
Guest post by Rufai Munye
👋🏾 Salaam, we are Somalis in Tech, and welcome to our monthly newsletter. Each month we’ll bring you the latest from the community, tech news, and a community guest feature.
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We’re currently planning an in-person event in London with a provisional date of Wednesday 20th July. So if you’re UK based keep that date free for now and once we’ve got more details we’ll sure let you know it.
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Other members are loving it, all you need to do is opt-in for that week’s matches and then agree on a time with your match.
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🗞 Hot off the press
Several startups including Superhuman - a VC backed email startup - have laid off staff indicating an economic downturn. Others like Coinbase have rescinded job offers for potential candidates suggesting that the impact is across industries. Klarna, the Swedish payments company, announced that it will be laying off 10% of its staff (clearly, it’s been a difficult couple of weeks for the people of Sweden. 😔)
This news suggests that it’ll be tougher for startups to raise VC investment, so now would be a good time to bootstrap if you're currently building.
The tech giant is due to announce exciting new updates coming consumer’s way, including software updates to its IOS system, and new Macbook Air. Many are eagerly awaiting to see if Apple will announce its new AR glasses.
My Journey to UX/UI
In this month’s guest feature, Rufai Munye shares more about how he found himself in his current career as a UX/UI designer based in Manchester, UK.
What first made me consider UX/UI
My first encounter with UX/UI occurred when I attended a BBC user research workshop at Media City in Manchester. They were searching for ways to improve the BBC iPlayer experience. The session was led by two user researchers who both had a pleasant demeanour making sure there was a relaxed vibe. I could see they were attempting to make me feel at ease while also avoiding influencing my responses. I recall questioning them about the field and their careers near the end of the session and deciding to check into it further. I believe I was working at Vodafone at the time in a customer service role, but I wanted to move into something more permanent.
I then started looking for apprenticeship possibilities in the industry and came across a small business that was partnering with Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) to offer a degree apprenticeship. I applied and made it to the final round, which consisted of group activity and an interview. I don't mean to boast, but I believe I did quite well and was a bit disappointed that I was not accepted. I had requested feedback and was fairly surprised with what I was told but took it on board. After this opportunity, my drive somewhat fizzled out and I pretty much forgot about it.
The Bootcamp experience
Roughly a year or two later is when I came across the bootcamp. I don’t really use social media but started to use Twitter again and started finding gold mines. I found out about Love Circular (LC) through MuslamicMakers who had a scholarship for the bootcamp which I applied for. I decided that even if I didn’t get the scholarship I would pay the cost (which I ended up having to pay) as I was determined to improve my life circumstances and accepted that the majority of the effort has to come from myself. Shortly after this, I found out about Somalis in Tech and other communities such as Deen Developers and Muslim Census.
I just want to take the time out to emphasise that if you follow the correct accounts, Twitter is a fantastic place to be. It gives you the opportunity to learn and grow, form relationships, change careers, and have a significant impact.
I did a three-month bootcamp with LoveCircular, which included two weekly live Zoom lessons, one for theory and one for presentation. The majority of the course is focused on the design parts of UX/UI, but I was also interested in the research side. After informing my instructor she offered to contribute additional material via Slack.
At LC they go above and beyond to make you feel comfortable no matter what background or previous experience you have. The community aspect is what attracted me to Love Circular and its noble mission of getting 1 million people into Tech. Unlike many boot camps, they support you in your job search which can be a daunting process.
The job hunt - the jobs slack channel
Coming up to the middle of the bootcamp which was February I would be lurking in the jobs channel of Love Circular, Somalis in Tech and Muslamic Makers. A post by Mohamed about Made Tech caught my attention because I had heard about the company before. Within LC there are a few people who work at the Government Digital Service (GDS) who work closely with Made Tech. I’d spoken with one of the instructors who works at GDS and he had nothing but positive things to say about Made Tech. After doing some background research on the company I decided to apply and ٱلْحَمْدُ لِلّٰهِ (Praise and Thanks be to Allah) everything went well.
Here’s a post I made giving the good news on Slack:
I have joined Made Tech as a Design and Research Trainee for 3 months moving to a full-time contract as a Service Designer or User Researcher. I am personally leaning toward the User Researcher role but exciting to see what either option could lead to.
Resources that I found useful
I felt a bit overloaded with how many available resources there are and ended up bookmarking well too many. If you can organise them in a neat way however it can work to your advantage. For example, one bookmark section I have is Design Systems which includes both GOV.UK and Spotify.
One of the best resources I’d say is joining 1-3 Slack groups where you can ask questions, and post-work to get feedback on and benefit from the conversations that are taking place.
Thanks to Somalis in Tech for the opportunity to contribute to this newsletter
I’d love to continue the conversation so do connect with me on LinkedIn!
🔥 Featured job opportunities
CloudPay: Senior Front End Sofware Engineer (Barcelona, Spain)
Taladaan la ruugin waa lagu rafaadaa
Unexamined counsel can result in unbearable consequences - via Mohamed Noor