My Storyby Kamaal Khanum-Williams, 27 Apr 2016
After weeks of searching, I have got the best job I could have wished for. From this week, I'm now a UX/Quality Engineer at FARM Digital. I have got the job that I've always wanted (it's crazy how I got it but I'll get to that later on); I have to thank everyone at FARM for making me feel super welcome.
A few years ago one of my university lecturers said something that makes sense now: "there are jobs out there for you that haven't even been identified yet but you will be the next generation to do them, for sure". At first when he said that I didn't really understand what other jobs could possibly come around, instead of sticking with traditional roles such as 'web developer' or something like that.
My degree was good, don't get me wrong but I thought I could only be a web developer.I loved coding in my first year but I couldn't ever commit myself to learning it in-depth. After trying to learning more skills by following tutorials, and going to some events, it became a sort of 'information overload'; I didn't know where to start or begin. After doing all these things I felt stressed and frustrated that I wasn't going to be able to get anything out of this for the long term.
For me, I found that I was stuck somewhere in the middle for my first two years at uni I found I was trying to force myself to be a web designer using Team Treehouse or Codeacademy just so I didn't do the degree for three years and have nothing to show. I mean if you’re a web development graduate, you're expected to code 24/7, Right? I found the more I tried, the more I realized that the web-dev role wouldn't be for me, as you have to be passionate for it. That left me worrying for final year, I guess this is were the change came.
The 'change' started over the summer before final year I got an internship covering project management and mixing with the web design/graphics team. After I realised web design wasn't for me I found a passion for designing (though, I didn't know how if I could make a career out of it). I was lucky to do a UX unit and from there on my career prospects seemed positive, I found my 'niche' in the market? I didn't have to code but I could design, perfect?
Fast forward to the end of the year I got 76% for my UX unit so I knew it was something I could defiantly do. I started doing work in my own time using sketch, and reading blogs on what to do and further my studies. After rebuilding my portfolio and personal skills I started to apply to some jobs.
Here’s where things got crazy!
I was sitting in my room at midnight getting ready for this 'Glug' event in the next few days - I decided to put a message into this app called 'Meetup' which helped organize the event for invites etc. Just a message asking if anyone has any UX or testing related jobs going as I'm about to graduate. I didn't expect much from it because I thought people would find me a bit cheeky doing that. Even-though I had tried applying every other way to get a job and hoped this would work.
Well...it actually did work.
Not too long after, Jon, the Technical Director at FARM messaged me on Twitter, and things took off from there. I was able to come in the office meet the team again, I did a UX review and Q/A test to get a feel for the job. After completing them and once they were reviewed everything, I was offered the job! The role wasn't even offered on their site, but they said that if someone had the skills they would want them in the team.
I guess I could say, I made my own luck?
I was super shocked, everything I had worried about had finally been solved. I was offered a role I really was passionate about. Calling myself a "UX/Quality Engineer", is something I can be very proud to say and be apart of company like FARM.
Anyone reading this, who is looking for a new career or graduating: Get yourself out there! Its very easy, people in the industry really want to know about you if you have talent. Make the most use of your free time blog twice a month, go to the free events in Manchester (there are tons) and start some side projects. You never know what may come your way. I never expected a role like this would happen to me, but it has. You can do it!
Key points to getting yourself out there:
- Tweet every day about relevant tech trends.
- Download 'Meetup' app and go to events.
- Get some business cards from VistaPrint.
- Blog every month about your progress or projects (tech trends, personal projects, your opinions on a blog post)
- Create a portfolio and constantly update it.
- Network with people from industry just tweet them or speak to them at events.
- Read industry blogs, and know the trends.
- Message people at their work and build that network
- Before going to any event message the speakers so they know you before you arrive.
Orginal Post: https://kamaalkwblog.wordpress.com/2016/05/09/how-i-landed-my-first-job-as-a-uxquality-engineer/