Me at the end of 2017 and me in Cluj-Napoca at the PPB yearly offsite in May 2018

So, on 16th January 2018, I wrote my first ever post regarding my transition from to and the feedback I received was overwhelming to say the least.

That article is linked here:

With this, I thought it would only be appropriate to write a follow up article ‘One On’ and release it on the 16th January 2019

2018 — what an incredible year that was for me professionally. I got my first permanent UX Designer role (go me) at Paddy Power Betfair in the eCommerce team. I’ve had the privilege of working with some great colleagues who have helped guide me through the early stages of my career incredibly.

I’m not going to go into what projects I’ve worked on, this article isn’t aiming to be a CV/portfolio but an overview of my year.

So, let’s get started on some of what I learnt in 2018.

Doubts — For the first few months I had quite a few and felt out of my depth somewhat. You may possibly feel like this too with your career change, but trust me, when you think about how scared you were when you were trying to change your career, learning whilst doing will quickly make the doubts disappear for good.

Continuous Learning — I genuinely thought you could learn what being a UXer was from a few online courses and a few small contract roles, I was wrong. It gave me a great base to start from and was well worth doing but in UX, you will always be learning new things and having the ability to use research, testing and optimization alongside your designs has helped me hugely. Working in a corporate environment surrounded by more experienced designers gives you the ability to learn every day whilst taking into account the user needs vs to business goals, that’s the beauty of UX. I’ve been very lucky that I am in an environment where mistakes are accepted as part of being a good designer, but you must learn from them. This is why picking a company where you are supported and exposed to all facets of UX becomes incredibly important to your learning.

Accept Feedback/Criticism — This was one I struggled with at first. It may be difficult to leave your ego at the door at times, but you need to remember that no matter how experienced you were in your previous career, in UX you are just starting out so listen to the feedback, give your reasoning and don’t be afraid to challenge. You are all working towards the same goal so don’t take anything personally.

Stakeholder Management — This was something I felt would be my strongest transferable skill due to my past career in recruitment. I’d still say I am good at building rapport with my stakeholders but at times I am too eager to please. It may be because I am now in a career that I am really enjoying. Just try not to feel like you need to always say yes but, on the flipside, try not to say no for the sake of it, have data, customer insights or best practice examples to challenge product managers

Screenshots of the apps for both Betfair Sportsbook and Paddy Power — I have worked on user stories for both of these plus the Betfair Exchange app and the desktop versions

My goals for the upcoming year

Continuous Improvement — When I look at my work in early 2018 to the work I am delivering now, the words of Frank Sinatra ring true “Regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again, too few to mention”. There are solutions I have proposed that I look back at now and wonder what on earth I was thinking, but by putting those ideas forward we came up with more workable solutions. Learning from those mistakes will enable me to be a far better designer in 2019.

Reading/Writing — I want to increase the amount of UX related content I read and also put more relatable UX content out, such as this article. If you guys have any ideas on topics you’d like to hear my views on, then please reach out to me.

Giving Back — One of my biggest goals for 2019 is to start organising ‘Hack Days’ with a view to looking at societal problems and how tech can help alleviate them. Ideally, I would be looking at junior professionals with a sprinkling of seniors to help “mentor” the teams.

On that note, If any agencies would like to offer some free space over weekends throughout the year for me to host these, feel free to get in touch.

Did I make the right decision getting into UX?

So, I guess the final question you are all asking is “Did I make the right decision getting out of recruitment after 6 years and into UX?”

100%. It was challenging, it was scary, and it took me massively out of my comfort zone to transition but I can genuinely say that this is the happiest I’ve ever been in my professional life.

I really hope that if you are in a similar position to where I was, that my has in some way given you the motivation to take the risk, believe in yourself and know that with hard work and dedication you too can change your life for the better.

If you would like to contact me, please email [email protected] or reach out on LinkedIn.

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