Ruth and Anäis met at Ironhack learning UX/UI. With completely different backgrounds, they teamed up together to deliver an awesome final project to win Hackshow. Ruth is British and has never been in touch with the tech industry; Anaïs comes from France and has previous experience working in the tech industry. Let's take a look at their stories!
Why did you choose to join Ironhack and break into tech?
I’ve always been in education - from being in school, to uni and then I started working as a primary teacher. I felt I was preparing children for a world I didn’t really know much about. That aroused an interest in changing careers and doing something different. I first learned about UX/UI design from my partner, who is a web developer. The more I learned, the more interested I became and the more I saw that skills I had as a teacher would fit well with the skills of a UX designer.
I chose Ironhack because I didn’t want to take a lot of time away from working (and earning money!) to do something new. So, the 9 week course seemed perfect for that. I also wanted to work with people, rather than learn it on my own. I tried a couple of courses online in the past but I really need to be able to interact with "real" people to motivate myself and to get the most of the course. I also know that I work best in a team and that’s why Ironhack was such a good fit for me.
On reflection, being able to work with people from all different kinds of backgrounds really helped me grow and learn, much more so than I thought possible.
What was the key moment in your life that made you think about taking this step?
As I said before, I had heard the term "UX designer" from my partner, but I had always dismissed the idea because the word designer made me think I would be out of my depth because I wasn’t particularly artistic. I now realise that you don’t have to be artistic to be a designer! So I first realised that I was really interested in this when I watched a Youtube video explaining what UX actually is. I saw lots of similarities between being a teacher and surprisingly, it seemed to resonate with my interests and skills.
How did a remote bootcamp fit into your plan? Why did you choose remote instead of an on-campus bootcamp?
I currently live in Scotland and so my only option was to join Ironhack Remote to do the course without moving to a different city. I have to say that this was a perfect fit for me also because I want to work remotely in the future. I also enjoy that there isn’t any commuting time in the mornings and afternoons but you still get to feel like part of a community.
What was your favourite Ironhack moment?
Probably during my cohort’s final presentations! Just seeing how far everyone had come and realising that we had actually completed it was surprisingly emotional. There was such a sense of collective achievement.
You won the Hackshow with your project. Can you tell us a bit about it?
So my final project, which I worked on with my partner Anais, was for a company called Almotech. They are a Spanish startup that have developed a home appliance which can convert used cooking oil into multi-purpose soaps. We had to create an app that allows users to interact with the appliance, as well as coming up with branding suggestions for the company. It was a really interesting project and we learned so much – especially from working with a real company.
What are you aspiring to do next with your new skills?
Right now I’m finishing fine tuning my portfolio and practicing my UI skills with short daily challenges. I was also lucky enough to be asked to be a teaching assistant on the next course so I’m really enjoying helping (and learning from) the new students. My plans for the future are to start applying for jobs as a UX designer. Ideally I’d like to work in a big(ish) size company which has a team of other designers from whom I can learn. I would also love to work for a company that has a clear purpose and solid values that align with my own – perhaps something environmentally focused.
Thank you for being so open about your experience. Do you have recommendations for anyone who is thinking about changing their life with Ironhack and tech?
First of all, reach out to Ironhack alumni and find out what their experiences were, especially people who have a similar background to you – whatever it may be. The people I spoke to were really happy to share and gave lots of tips and advice.
Secondly, my advice would be to "just do it" (thanks, Nike!)! It’s easy to say, but I found it really hard to do because it meant leaving a career I was comfortable in and also it meant a financial commitment. I wrote so many pros and cons lists and found myself going round in circles until I realised that I just had to do it. I had to take the first step (which meant taking the course) and only then I would know if it was for me. I’m glad to say that it is!