Hey, I'm Colton!
Yup. The guy above 🙄👆
Hey, I'm Ludovic! The fancy guy below.
Together we created Kickass UX in early 2019. But let’s take you back to the beginning for each of us.
I followed the traditional path. I originally went to school to become an aerospace engineer. I quickly realized I would really hate my job if I went down that path.
So, with the little time I had left in school, I switched majors, got a 4-year degree, and basically hated every second of it. I came out of school without any job prospects and very little hope of doing something that I cared about.
On my end, I went back to business school to get a Master's degree, thinking it would help me figure out what I truly wanted to do.
Instead, it left me with more questions than answers and no guidance on what kind of career to pursue.
After finishing school, the first question we asked ourselves was:
We both knew something was wrong. We didn't feel prepared for the job market like we thought we should be. We also knew that we had to do something creative with our careers, otherwise we would slowly go insane.
That's when we discovered UX. We had no relevant knowledge, no prior experience, and no idea of where to start.
With a Political Science and Communications degree for Colton and a business degree for me, we didn't have the knowledge needed to get into a creative career.
Going back to college wasn't an option for either of us. We didn't have the money or time to dedicate to traditional schooling.
Plus, after our college experiences, we didn't believe that going back to school would help get us a creative job.
We knew it would leave us with more questions than answers, just like before.
Then after a ton of research, blood, sweat, and tears, we found the golden ticket into our dream jobs.
For me, it was a board game I created called "Son of a Blank!"
At the beginning of 2014, I was working in a non-creative job with no opportunity to move up in the company. I felt stuck. I was going nowhere fast, and I needed to get out.
Without any other opportunities, I decided to create my own game. Without knowing it, I followed the entire UX process to create “Son of a Blank!”, from the research phase through visual design and handing off assets to the manufacturer.
I loved the process so much that I looked around to find a career that would allow me to do that all day. That's when I found UX.
I kept teaching myself UX in every way I could. I read UX books, learned about design software, and created my own small projects.
Then, one day, I came across General Assembly. I went through their immersive 3-month full-time bootcamp.
It solidified the skills that I had built on my own and taught me some of the technical terms for each of the methods that I used when creating Son of a Blank! that I hadn’t yet learned.
The portfolio I created through General Assembly had nothing that separated me from other UX designers.
It looked the same as everyone else's and highlighted the fact that I didn't have experience.
I sent out my portfolio to many different recruiters and hiring managers, and all I heard was crickets.
It wasn't until after the course ended and I had more time on my hands that I was able to go back, update each of my case studies, and, most importantly, add my case study of Son of a Blank to my portfolio, which changed everything.
It proved to the hiring managers that I had unique, applicable real-world experience, that I loved to learn new things, that I was ambitious, and that I intrinsically understood the UX process. This is super important.
That's precisely how we designed our program; to help you create your own projects that you can wholly call your own, which is what is going to separate you from other junior UX designers.
My story's similar. Spending $10-18K or more on a boot camp wasn't an option for me. I knew that I had to DIY my way into UX, but I didn't know where to start.
There was so much information out there about UX; it was hard to know what was the right thing to pursue.
And I kept running into the chicken and egg problem that we all run into at some point or another: How do I get a UX job without prior experience or education?
I had to create my own real-world experience to display my understanding of UX to hiring managers and recruiters. I took it upon myself to solve problems using the UX process.
Instead of creating a board game, I decided to tackle a problem that is close to my heart: travel.
(If you couldn’t tell from my text accent, I’m originally from France.)
I have traveled a lot and understand well the frustrations of managing flights and other travel details. This led me to pick two Seattle companies in the travel industry: Expedia and Concur.
I created two case studies to showcase my UX skill set. All of that on my own without guidance. There is no better way to learn something than by practicing.
Was it perfect?
Could I have done it better?
But the point is that I gave it my best, from user research, building my portfolio, and the interview process, I showed the hiring manager that I understood the process and that I could do the job.
After we both landed our jobs in UX, we knew without the shadow of a doubt that we had just found the exciting and fulfilling careers that we were searching for.
Collectively, we have over ten years of experience in UX. At this point, we've both created dozens of features that have benefited millions of people.
Since getting in, we’ve been continually approached by dozens of individuals wondering how we broke our way into the field of UX.
So, about two years ago, Colton and I set out to solve the problems that students experience with universities, bootcamps, and DIY.
That’s when we decided to create our company, Kickass UX, and our first program, UX/UI Expert.
We combined each of our unique experiences getting into UX (Ludovic with DIY and me with DIY + General Assembly) and all of the knowledge we've accumulated since getting into the field into the program.
We also interviewed and got feedback from dozens of people who attended universities and bootcamps so we could create a program that combines the best aspects of each.
We consistently heard about issues with mentorship, a lack of community, incomplete and lackluster portfolios, and the inability to articulate their design decisions.
So we decided to tackle each of those issues head on.
One of the biggest differences between us and all of the other big companies teaching UX is that we don't just accept anyone. That practice has caused the market to be flooded with inexperienced UX designers with very few applicable skills.
That's why we decided to solely focus on helping graphic/visual designers transition into UX.
Thank you for listening to our story. 🙏
We'd love to hear more about you, your background, and why you're interested in UX.