Tag Archive for: Growth

Considerations with UX Boot Camps

Are you considering changing into a UX-based career and you’re sure that is what you want to do? Whether you are just graduating from college or have been doing something different and ready for a change, keep reading.

For the past few years, the rise in popularity of UX boot camps has been hard to ignore. Learning educational systems have made it super easy for anyone to learn anything. As a person who loves to learn, this is exciting.

Being involved with the UX for over 17 years now, I have had countless people reaching out to me asking for advice on whether or not to take UX courses, what the UX industry is like, and what is expected of a UX or Product Designer role, types of skills needed, and transitioning into a UX role in general.

One of the most commonly asked questions from people seeking advice is “How effective are UX Bootcamps and should I consider taking one before applying for that first UX job?” Every time I tell them, it depends on your situation.

Below is a list of common reasons that may help you decide if you should or should not pursue a UX boot camp.

When You Should Consider a UX Boot Camp

  • You want to move into a UX-based career and are not sure what the next step is.
  • You want a solid background in the basic skills of UX and are not sure who to trust.
  • You need a curriculum to refer back to when starting off in your UX career.
  • You are struggling to pull together an effective UX Case Study portfolio for the upcoming application process.
  • Limited time prevents you from hunting down all the information needed to adequately learn about UX.
  • You don’t know what you don’t know about UX and want to be prepared for any surprises you may anticipate.
  • You have several thousand dollars saved for education (yes, boot camps are expensive).

When You Should Not Consider a UX Boot Camp

  • You have decided to move into a UX-based career and are confident about that next step.
  • You’re already in a design or tech role and may be familiar with what the UX role may entail so there are no surprises.
  • You love to learn and have the initiative to talk to others already in the industry and get their honest feedback about their UX roles and day-to-day activities and expectations.
  • You consider today’s curriculum already obsolete and looking for the freshest UX ideas and innovation.
  • You’re confident that building a portfolio is just doing a little research ahead of time.
  • You have free resources accessible to you to learn about UX.
  • Spending thousands of dollars doesn’t seem worth it to you for taking UX courses when you know what you need to learn already.


Taking a UX boot camp is a personal decision and should be made with care based on your situation.

Everyone is unique. We all have different needs when it comes to learning. Boot camps are there for people that do not feel 100% confident about what to learn. They help you be prepared for UX roles by filling in those educational gaps. In return, this boosts confidence. UX boot camps can also guide you on how to create effective portfolios when applying for your first UX job. UX bottom camps are also very expensive and the ROI is up to you and your personal situation.

If you have the time, the money, and the willpower to learn about UX without relying on a boot camp, that’s great! Connect with others that have already been working in the UX industry and that can pour into you and guide you, to boost your confidence to land your first UX job.

5 Things Nobody Told Us About Life Change

Change sucks. We are creatures of habit. We don’t like it when someone pulls the rug out from under us, especially when things seem to be just fine as they are. Don’t get me wrong. There are some people that don’t mind change, or even like it. I don’t mind it myself, but when there is change, there is stress. Change means we have to start over, learn something new, and figure it out all again.

This past year, my husband (Dewayne) and I have had more change than we have ever had since being married (13.5 years when writing this). Here’s a brief list of changes that have occurred.

  • Son (graduated college in December 2016) moves out of our house and into an apartment (March)
  • Daughter graduated college (May)
  • Listed our large 4 bedroom, 3.5 bathroom house for sale (June)
  • Started the process of building a new house (June)
  • Moved into a tiny 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment (June)
  • Tons of changes at work – new coworkers, new projects, etc. (May-September)
  • House sells! (September)
  • Serious delays with our house being built – concerns of being homeless for holidays (September-December)
  • Daughter moves out of our apartment to be closer to work (December)
  • Lease runs out of apartment – forced to move into another apartment that’s even smaller (December)

There was one point where we were building a new house, selling our old house, and moving into an apartment all at the same time! I was in survival mode a few times, with a couple of moments where I just broke down and cried.

To keep me going, I attempted to keep a positive attitude throughout this year as things happened. Don’t get me wrong…I was a little concerned when the reality of homelessness was a possibility or when our construction manager was fired (oh, crap!).

Here are five things nobody told us about life change.

  1. Natural light is not needed to paint a wall. A phone flashlight works fine.
  2. When moving, you will get all kinds of interesting mail from previous tenants.
  3. Put your name on your food if the kids are still living at home.
  4. If the builder tells you it will take four months to build, take that number and double it.
  5. Walk around, cook, or clean naked, but only after the kids move out.

5 Things I Would Tell My Younger Self

Why is it when May rolls around each year, we suddenly feel ourselves going warp speed? We now have two college graduates and I feel the tears flowing inside (I am not much of a public crier). I can’t believe those cute little blond kiddos are grown up and starting their lives.

As I look back on the past couple of weeks, I realize that life is so short. If I were to visit my 20 year-old self, I would have some things I would like to tell her.

1. Don’t Major in Music

Especially don’t double major in music. I have two (nearly three) degrees in music. What do I do today? I am a user experience engineer and I teach flute lessons and write music for fun on the weekends.

It’s not that I regret my music degrees, I just have to fight twice as hard for where I am today, not making enough money with music. I have to make a living so having reliable work is imperative at this point in my life. If I had gotten a degree in business or marketing, I would have more of an edge in the business I had before the tech bubble and also in today’s workplace.

Minor in music only and enjoy all the fun gigs as a hobby. Get the knowledge in business or something you can use in the future.

2. Be Vulnerable

This area of my life needs the most improvement. Being one of the few women in music composition and web development over the years, I felt I had to be strong and never let anyone know how I feel. Looking back, this may have been a big disadvantage in my life. It’s not too late for being vulnerable in my work (user experience). It’s an ongoing thing that I am working with.

Being vulnerable will open many doors for you and help you grow in your work.

3. Be Intentional About Your Friends

Here at Ramsey Solutions, we surround ourselves with awesome people we call ‘thoroughbreds’, people that are well-rounded in every way, great personality, have a passion for the mission here, not afraid to work hard, the best in their field, etc. I wish I had been more open-minded and reached out to the thoroughbreds of my school days, as I feel we would still be inseparable friends and encouraged each other throughout life’s hardships and victories.

Today, I have learned to hang out with those that share the same passions, great work ethics, and best at what they do.

4. Don’t Lead Them On

This is a hard one to write about. For me at least. I believe that God leads us to the right people at the right time. The journey to that ‘God’ point was painful, as I learned a lot about myself and areas I needed to improve. Along the way, it seemed I led some hopefuls in thinking there was a future with me. I am truly happy in my life and with my husband. God knew what he was doing when he put us together.

My advice is to be transparent with your feelings when talking to the ones you are closest to or have meaningful relationships with.

5. Be Fearless

Anxiety sucks. I apparently was a very anxious kid growing up and throughout my college days. I finally got help and feel 110% better. In the early days, I used to throw up before every solo performance. I used to be sick for days at a time when a big event was about to happen. I was a mess! With anxiety, comes fear. Lots of fear. It crippled me in everything I did. It kept me from moving forward with my dreams. Don’t let this happen to you! Don’t be afraid. That’s resistance, and resistance will never quit. It will drag you down. It indicates what you want to do is what you should do.