• Sridhar Rajendran

Day 6 — Getting handsy

Updated: Aug 23, 2018

Moving from theory to practise

Image credit: Pexels

After being stuck not being able to practise what was preached, I decided to attend a classroom course for some hands-on UX activities. I had two choices

  • go back to college and do a Masters in Design

  • or attend a boot camp for accelerated learning

Going back to college sounds exciting but the idea of giving up two years of my life not so much. And still, I would start as a beginner in the design industry. Getting into a good college is another big deal. In India, students from National Institute of Design(NID) and Indian Institute of Technology(IIT) are considered the holy grail. They are prestigious institutions and have a rigorous admission process. Just to crack the admissions would take me 6 months of preparation. I am not getting any younger each day.

Image credit: GIPHY

I chose the latter option of attending a boot camp after much deliberation. Breaking down a big task into small increments makes it easy to reach the next step. A weekend course fit my schedule, would not cost me a bomb and save two years of my life. There are downsides to this approach as well. Graduating from a prestigious institution opens doors. I realised this when many companies did not even look at my portfolio because I do have a design degree from a premier institute. Yay!

So to make up for the special treatment I knew I had to sweat it out and I was prepared for it. Things can get really hard and ugly at times when you choose this route; I will save that story for another day. The next stop was picking the right course.

While many boot camps like General Assembly are popping up in the US, UX is a very nascent field in India. Not many practitioners, to begin with, let alone places to learn. So after doing a pros/cons analysis of the institutes offering UX design course, I finally zeroed in on one. I am quite happy I made the right choice.

I had a wonderful instructor who was knowledgeable and had several years of real-world experience. We were a bunch of 10 students, so the setting was close-knit. The activities were quite fun to do as a group. Many were graphic designers planning to shift to UX. I was the only odd coder. I got to learn about the challenges they face in freelancing and interacting with clients.

For 6 weekends, I was up at 6 AM, drove an hour through the foggy December Bangalore roads and attended classes. I worked hard on practising on my own. Finally, the words started making sense and I knew how to approach a problem. Design is all about collaboration. In my opinion, it is difficult to learn about design in a vacuum in an online course.