With a desire to transform healthcare, Hillary Hines completed nearly five years of school and two years of practice to become a medical doctor. She made plans to specialize in psychiatry, as she was especially passionate about helping others and making a positive impact in the world. However, despite her achievements in medicine, she began wondering whether there were other opportunities for her to align her dreams with her career.
During the global pandemic, she noticed how the inefficiencies and shortcomings of healthcare greatly affected patient care, as well as the overall hospital experience. Frustrated by the constant changes in safety protocol and the general uncertainties that came with it, Hillary longed to contribute more than just her medical expertise — but she didn’t know where to begin.
A fated discovery
Hillary intensely searched the internet for half a year before stumbling upon UX design. She’d never heard of the field, but was immediately captivated by its focus on user experience, which aligned with her desire to provide high-level solutions for others. With a fresh spark of inspiration and ambition, she ultimately decided to enroll in Georgia Tech UX/UI Boot Camp as a part-time learner.
Despite the courses being remote, Hillary became completely immersed in her experience. From working with teaching assistants to completing a variety of assignments, she was able to gain valuable knowledge and skills in design research, design thinking, prototyping, and mapping user journeys.
“As someone who came into the tech field with no experience, I greatly appreciated the curriculum,” Hillary said. “It provided me with a framework to learn wireframing, testing, and all the important principles of UX design and interface.”
Hillary completed three group projects throughout the boot camp, each of which provided valuable lessons for her future career. Through these experiences, she was able to dive into every element of the design process — from the early interview stages, to diagramming and synthesizing, to prototyping sketches of the final product.
Her first project was focused on helping others, requiring her to create a travel app that would assist users in safely navigating during the pandemic. She learned how to research, conduct interviews, and identify solutions to people’s problems.
“The idea was to see how people felt about COVID-19 and travel, as well as where they lacked relevant resources,” she explained. “My group members and I had to think about which solutions could feasibly alleviate those issues. It was a great opportunity to stretch ourselves and research what’s already been done — and what’s possible.”
As Hillary progressed through every subsequent project, she began to recognize the importance of always putting the user first. No matter how innovative her ideas were, they would not come to full fruition if people weren’t able to connect with them. She learned that UX/UI design isn’t only about making improvements — it’s also about implementing changes that truly resonate with users.
How dreams become reality
Hillary now works in the healthcare tech industry. Using her boot camp experience, she designs software that helps healthcare workers support their patients more efficiently and accurately, especially as they struggle with difficult illnesses.
In this new chapter of her career, she’s found that research is as important as ever. “It impacts and changes the direction of projects all the time,” explained Hillary. “I’m currently learning how to juggle the process with real-world deadlines and time restrictions. My goal is to quickly and efficiently incorporate solutions without sacrificing the quality of the end product.”
Looking back, Hillary believes the boot camp changed her life for the better. In a traditional healthcare environment, she’s familiar with empathy being a buzzword. It’s a required emotion that doctors must display while treating patients. However, in the tech world, Hillary was taught to go deeper — and learned that it’s an ongoing process. From research, to diagrams, to user personas, the design cycle breathes life into the word until it becomes a tangible action.
“The whole concept of technology is about turning ideas into reality. In June of 2020, I had no idea what I’d be signing up for when I enrolled, or how I could possibly impact the world outside of medicine,” she explained. “Now that I’m able to see all my efforts materializing in my career, I’m incredibly thankful. [The] boot camp didn’t just make my dreams practical — it made them attainable and achievable.”
Considering a career change? Explore enriching courses in coding, data, cybersecurity, and more at Georgia Tech Boot Camps.