Student Success Story: Yulee Foster
Yulee completed our 12-Week Product Design (inc UX & UI) part-time course in 2018, followed by our 8-Week Product Management part-time course in 2019, and has since landed a job as an Associate Product Designer at accuRx.
We caught up with her to see what she has been up to since completing her course and how the course helped her achieve her goals.
Looking back before you joined the course at Experience Haus, can you tell us a little bit about what you were up to and what led you to consider a course in Product Design?
I was working in retail at the time and I had always wanted to design but didn’t really know where to start and how to get into it. I was looking for a complete career change really. I then started to look at a number of different courses to do, found the Experience Haus one and signed up!
What made you choose Experience Haus?
I can’t remember exactly how I came across Haus but I think it was just a case of Googling! I also got in touch with someone who did the course and she said she really enjoyed it and told me how to get the most out of it.
Ultimately, what led me to choose it was the fact it was part-time. At that moment I didn’t know for certain that this was what I really wanted to do – I was trying something completely new and didn’t know if it was going to be for me. I wasn’t looking for a full-time course as I was still working and didn’t have the time to dedicate to something like that. The Experience Haus course was a fantastic introduction to everything that I needed to learn to do and gave me the freedom to explore this new thing I wanted to do, without jumping head first into it.
Thinking about your time on the course… What did you want to achieve from your Experience Haus course?
I didn’t know how to go through the different design processes like experience mapping or affinity mapping, or pull projects together so that was something I was looking to get out of the course, and I did! Personally, it would have been hard to learn how to do it all by myself but it was nice to learn whilst working on a real life project at the same time.
What did you enjoy most about the course?
I know everyone probably says it but working on a real life project was definitely one of the most enjoyable things. I also really liked the research side because I had never really done it before. I’d designed my own fun things on the side so I felt confident about that aspect, but I’d never done research before, so going through the whole research project and organising everything into key findings was really fascinating. I learnt the importance research has in forming designs.
What was your one big takeaway from the course?
Following on from the above question, the research side and design processes for sure. I do actually use my PowerPoint presentations that I was given at least once every couple of weeks! Sometimes I think “how do I write a problem statement again,” and I know I could just Google it but there’s something about it being on a presentation and then remembering learning it in class. The presentations were the biggest literal takeaway for me!
Turning now to your time post-course… Can you tell us a bit about what you’ve been up to since the course finished? What sort of things were you working on that led you to securing your recent Associate Product Designer role?
Without sounding too cheesy, I’ve been living my dream life since completing the course! Soon after, I was able to start freelancing – although, I freelanced for one person and they hired me – and I was there for two years. And recently I’ve just moved into my second Product Design role.
In my last role I was the only designer so I was a user researcher, product designer, little bit of a product manager, a little bit of support, a little bit of everything you could say! It was a really good learning curve but there are more teams in place in my new role so I have more people to lean on. I can lean on the expertise of user research and the product manager is there to give direction, so I’m more focused on design. That being said, I did enjoy doing a little bit of everything! Even though I’m not a Product Manager, it was good to get context to how their role works, even small things like the way they do tickets and how they prioritise. I think it’s given me the right vocabulary to do that.
Can you tell us a bit more about what your current role entails?
I’ve just started my new role in the last month so I can’t really talk about it as I’m still finding my feet with it all! However, in my previous role I was doing a lot of user research calls, prototyping and testing with users. I would go on visits as well to see how our users were using the product which was really nice but then Covid got in the way! BUT in my new role I think they are really keen to start that up again which is great as it’s one of my favourite things to do.
Have you stayed in touch with your instructor or fellow Hausmates?
I haven’t stayed in touch with my instructor but I do check the Slack channel a lot – I like seeing what everyone’s been doing and enjoy volunteering for projects. I also really appreciated it in my previous role where I was the only designer, so being able to know there were other designers in a space if I ever needed it was really helpful.
From time to time I do sign up to the intro courses to give myself a refresh and I’ve gone to a hackathon in the past which was really fun! I’m really looking forward to getting back to doing in-person events in the new studio!
Do you have any advice, or nuggets of wisdom for any one trying to break into the industry – anything you wish you had known beforehand?
Stay as curious as possible. No matter how many years you’ve been in the industry, there is always something new to learn, and be willing to learn it! Going into this new role I’ve tried to understand that everyone is still learning. One of the reasons I moved was because I didn’t have any designers to learn from in my old role – it was just me! I really wanted to have that team of people I could learn from who also expect everyone to keep learning.