A New Skill Set and a New Position to Match: How a UX/UI Boot Camp Helped John Wallace Advance His Career
John Wallace worked in operations at Vrbo, the vacation home rental arm of travel giant Expedia. After taking part in an internal product workshop, he decided that he wanted to pursue a career in product.
“Opportunities were hard to come by,” he said. “I knew that I had to do something to put myself above the competition.”
As if by fate, an internal position on the product team opened up, and John knew he had to go for it. He felt this would be the perfect chance to jump-start his quest to learn the UX/UI side of the position.
“Understanding the user experience and assessing a product was what really attracted me to this discipline,” he said. “And UX/UI skills are transferable — they wouldn’t confine me to a design role.”
There was just one problem: to actually make the switch, John was going to have to learn about how products were designed, researched, and discovered.
Creating an essential framework
When John came across Berkeley UX/UI Boot Camp, it felt kismet. On top of his full-time job, he enrolled — and made the commitment to attend the boot camp’s evening and weekend classes 3 days a week for six months.
“I was already familiar with how users interacted with products, which helped me a lot when understanding user experience,” he said. “The boot camp provided me with the right template for how to capture a user’s thoughts. I took all the raw experience I had from my previous position, and put a framework around it.”
John worked on numerous projects that taught him to bring an initial idea to life through research, design, and technology.
Putting new skills to the test
Shortly after he completed the boot camp, John transferred to an associate product manager position at Expedia. He works on the company’s partner API business, Expedia Connectivity.
“It’s an area of business that, historically, hasn’t been a focused priority,” said John. “Now that the company is moving towards an API-centered model, there are projects running left and right.”
Every day, John is able to utilize his new skill set in his role. Equipped with a holistic understanding of the different stages of product development, he wants to prove that he is capable of managing the big projects he is tasked with.
Looking back — and moving forward
“The course was super helpful,” he said. “I have a new understanding of the product life cycle that I wasn’t aware of — and I’m able to approach my role with greater expertise. Our instructor was a product manager, and the course was designed to go through the different stages of development, from idea to design to implementation to tracking the product’s progress.”
John plans to work on a project that is more focused on the user interface side. He’s excited to be able to use and implement design concepts that he learned from class.
“If you’re looking to foray into a product role, a boot camp is a great way to prove you’re ready to make that transition and equip you with the right skills,” he said.