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 hate that job.
So, I switched majors, got a 4-year degree, and I came out of school without any job prospects and little hope of doing something that I cared about.
On my end, I went back to business school to get a Master's degree which left me with more questions than answers...
The thought of crunching numbers in Excel or writing Word docs all day was super scary to me. 😱
For years, designing slides was my creative outlet! 🔌
Deep down, I knew that I wanted a CREATIVE career.
After finishing school, the first question we asked ourselves was:
Something was wrong. We didn't feel prepared for the job market and knew that we had to do something different with our careers.
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, getting into a creative career seemed impossible.
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, we didn't believe that going back to school would help get us a the career of our dreams.
We knew it would leave us with more questions than answers, just like before.
After a ton of research, blood, sweat, and tears, we found the golden ticket.
For me, it was a board game I created called “Son of a Blank!”
At the beginning of 2014, I was working in an uninspiring job with no opportunity to move up in the company. I felt stuck.
So, I decided to create my own game. Without knowing it, I followed the UX process to create “Son of a Blank!”
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.
Then, one day, I came across General Assembly and went through their immersive 3-month bootcamp.
It solidified the skills that I had built on my own and taught me how to talk about my work. But...
The portfolio I created through General Assembly didn't separate me from other UX designers.
I sent out my portfolio to many different recruiters and hiring managers, and all I heard was crickets.
After the program ended, I updated my portfolio and added my case study for “Son of a Blank!”, which changed everything.
It proved to the hiring managers that I had unique real-world experience, that I was ambitious, and that I intrinsically understood the UX process.
That's precisely how we design our programs; to help you create projects that you can call your own, which is what is going to help you stand out.
My story's similar. Spending $15K+ 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.
And I kept running into the same chicken and egg problem: “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've traveled a lot and understand the frustrations of managing flights and other details. This led me to pinpoint 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 doing.
Was it perfect?
Could I have done it better?
But the point is that I gave it my best, from user research, to building my portfolio, and the interview process. I showed hiring managers that I understood the methodology and that I could do the job.
After we both landed our UX jobs, we knew without a shadow of a doubt that we had just found the creative careers of our dreams.
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 we began, we’ve been continually approached by dozens of designers wondering how we broke our way into 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 and all of the knowledge we've accumulated since we started our careers.
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 of both worlds.
We consistently heard about issues with mentorship, a lack of community, portfolios that all look alike, and students' inability to successfully articulate their design decisions. 😱
We decided to tackle each of those issues head on.
We specialize in helping Graphic/Visual Designers to transition to UX.
They're incredibly well-positioned to become UX designers who can solve problems and produce beautiful user interfaces.