Annie used FutureLearn to upskill in UX and design. She tells us how FutureLearn helped with her job search, how it helped to pivot her from a business role to a creative one, and why the platform helped to increase her overall confidence and motivation.
After working as a product manager for 6 years, Annie decided it was time for a career change. She took the UAL’s Creative Computing Institute and Institute of Coding’s Introduction to UX and Accessible Design course as a way to expand her skill set and explore new areas where she could apply those newly-gained skills.
“I’ve been working in the tech sector for the past ten years, first in user support, then in product management. I realised I wanted to do something more creative, and I’ve always been interested in usability and accessibility concepts. I’ve been aware of FutureLearn for a few years and wanted to find an introductory course in accessible design so that I could see how much I already knew about the area and if it was right for me.”
The course helped Annie to confirm that a job in UX and accessible design was right for her and encouraged her to find new opportunities within the area.
Find new opportunities
“The course really opened my eyes to what accessibility can be – it’s not just about catering to people with different abilities but making technology more adaptable to all kinds of everyday situations for everyone. From a personal perspective, it reinforced and enriched what I already knew and gave me the confidence to build on this. I was familiar with concepts of accessibility but I suffered from a bit of imposter syndrome – this course made me realise this was an area I could work in and motivated me to pursue it.”
Whilst Annie was looking for a permanent position, she added the course to her CV and even applied some of the knowledge learnt from the course to some freelance work.
“I noted the course on my CV as something I’d done recently and this gave me an opportunity in interviews to talk about an area I was interested in focusing and improving on. Some of the freelancing work I took on also required knowledge of accessibility standards so the course helped to provide a refresher on this, which I could take forward.”
Apply the skills you’ve learnt within your career
Annie is due to start a new job in a related field and says she’ll be applying some of the skills learnt from the course to help her adapt in the new role.
“I’m about to start a job in technical writing and I can definitely use the knowledge I’ve gained from the course to think about how I can make my language and content design more accessible. More generally, this course has encouraged me to think about how UX and accessibility can be applied in all kinds of roles and positions. The new job is at Government Digital Service and they’ve recommended doing their Introduction to Content Design to help transition into the role. This is really cool as I can ease into a new position while using a platform I’m already familiar with and enjoy using!”
One of things Annie liked the most about using FutureLearn was the opportunity to explore ideas in the discussion section of courses and to bounce ideas off other learners.
“I really enjoyed the fact that this particular course had tasks more focused around ideas and concepts as opposed to heavy design tasks. This encouraged me to think more about abstract ideas and to explain my thought processes, which I found really useful in helping me consider how I would communicate different concepts to colleagues”.
The comment section also provided a great place to recap my thoughts, contribute to a wider discussion and build on different perspectives. I’ve used a range of online learning platforms before but I feel that the community on FutureLearn is something that’s really great – people are excited to talk to each other which makes learning more fun.”
Plan future learning opportunities
Annie encourages other people to use FutureLearn to upskill, and plans to return to the platform to learn new skills for an upcoming project to create a new video game.
“I would recommend FutureLearn to anyone who wants to try their hand at something, whether you want to study a particular subject more intensely or are curious about another career path. The courses are low pressure and great for upskilling and increasing confidence in certain subjects. For example, I’m currently designing a video game and in the future I will need to know more about copyright.
I’ve seen a range of FutureLearn courses that could help with this and I’ve got a number of other courses in my wishlist – from Introduction to Indie Games to Designing a Feminist Chat Box. I’m sure FutureLearn will help me to build on my portfolio of knowledge!”