In August 2020, I completed the Harness Projects Career Launcher UX course. I landed a job as a UX Designer at Justice Connect just 10 weeks after completing my course.
During the first project, we ran through the full Design Thinking process with the help of our mentor Lara Atechian.
After getting the brief, we met the client Communiteer and asked our questions to establish and confirm the project requirements. Then we went away and individually completed some user research. We collated our research results as a team and presented them to the client. After this, we proceeded to ideation mode before designing and testing our solutions. Everyone took a different approach, completed a range of UX activities and focused on various aspects, which was fantastic and meant that we didn’t all have the same solution.
Lara supported us along the way, by giving us advice and feedback on our work, as well as showing examples from her experience working in the industry.
The second project was a deeper dive into UX Research, with the help of our mentor Andrew Doherty. At the end of the project, we each presented our research reports to the client, The Swag.
With more time than the first project, Andrew encouraged us to be flexible in our approach and to experiment and further explore interesting things that popped up in our research. The result was that everyone completed a different set of research activities, but all the results supported the others.
Like Lara, Andrew also provided advice and feedback on our work, as well as examples from his work. There was also an increased focus on making us feel like we were working in a real company and preparing everyone for what it’s like working in a UX role.
Our final project with IKEA was a deeper dive into wireframing and prototyping, with our mentor Matt Webb. This project was mostly around learning and using modern design software to design a solution that met the client brief.
We iterated our designs, starting with basic sketches and wireframes and utilised usability testing to inform our decisions as we improved the fidelity of our designs.
Matt not only helped us with our projects but also with some of the advanced features of the software. He also demonstrated his design process, showed us examples of UX activities in his past and present work and gave advice on our careers.
Harness provided me with confidence, and I managed to land a role with Justice Connect about 10 weeks after the course. I am very pleased with where I have landed.
I already had an online portfolio and was able to add the final case study and update the portfolio based on advice and Youtube videos of UX portfolio reviews. I also had the opportunity to take part in a webinar, organised by Harness, in which 3 industry professionals provided feedback and advice on my portfolio.
This was a great help and confirmed that I was on the right track. Harness also provided feedback on my resume, portfolio and cover letter, and some tips. I also kept up to date with other students and we supported each other.
I first heard about Usability & UX about 10 years ago, while working as a web developer. I loved the idea of being able to positively influence people's lives through design. Eventually, I realised I should be working in UX.
I came into the course wanting more practical UX experience, case studies and mentorship. I got all of this as well as the opportunity to meet new people and make new connections. So my overall experience with the Career Launcher Package was a positive one, and I would recommend those who are in a similar position to consider it.
I came into the course with prior UX theory knowledge, so I focused on practicing that theory experience, as well as learning new skills. By trying new things and making mistakes, I was quickly able to improve as the course progressed. I now bring what I've learned into my work and continue to evolve and improve.
The biggest constant challenge for me was COVID-19. Restrictions came in the first few weeks of the course, and everything from then was done online. This required adjusting and having to learn how to do user testing and interviews over video chat, it did have the advantage that people were more available.
Harness Projects allows you to work on real projects for real clients with a mentor and other like-minded students. You also have the flexibility to choose your approach, including the activities that best suit what you need to do, and develop the skills that will help you in your career.
Follow Will’s footsteps and check out our Career Launcher UX course