From Buying to Designing: How Jerry Seguin Went From a Career in Corporate Retail to UX/UI Design

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Jerry Seguin started his career in apparel and textile design, and always had a passion for art. After interning for a small apparel company in Seattle, he relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area and worked for large retailers like Macy’s, Sears, Kmart and Old Navy. Working his way up the corporate ladder, he started on the sales floor and eventually became a buyer, traveling to Shanghai and Hong Kong to work directly with factories.

The only catch? As he advanced in the world of corporate retail, it became more about numbers and less about the products and consumers. “Corporate retail is really profit-driven,” Jerry said. “At the end of the day, it didn’t align with what I’m interested in, which is the design aspect of UX.”

Jerry wanted to shift careers, but wasn’t sure where to start. With a background in web design and HTML coding, he was passionate about creating great products for consumers and small businesses. Like many others, he had been laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic — but fortunately, unexpected downtime was just what he needed to enroll in Berkeley UX/UI Boot Camp.

Back to the virtual drawing board during a pandemic

From the beginning, the boot camp’s curriculum made for a highly interactive and engaging virtual classroom experience. But it did come with some challenges.

“Stepping into any learning institution, especially a virtual one, is intimidating,” Jerry said. “I grew up with a very traditional education setting, where you went to class and turned in projects in person.”

He compares the virtual learning curve to learning a new language. “There are so many systems and technologies out there, like there are languages. I’ll still be learning and teaching myself for years to come.”

Jerry knew that to complete the boot camp, he had to be self-motivated. The boot camp encouraged him to be flexible, make confident decisions and continually be open to learning new things. While some concepts were more challenging, like CSS, JavaScript and Bootstrap, he enjoyed building prototypes and apps from the ground up. He also learned how to navigate communicating in a post-pandemic world.

“In this environment, it’s a struggle sometimes to get out of bed, put on a good face, turn your computer on and be ready to learn when there are catastrophes happening around the world,” he said.

Looking back at his entire boot camp experience, Jerry is especially proud to have accomplished something new. To him, this journey proved that you can pivot at any point in your life.

“My friends have said it was inspiring to see me take a risk,” he said. “And, even if I go back to corporate retail, I have this whole other skill set that I can take with me anywhere.”

Working across the country

Through a series of projects, Jerry was able to connect with small businesses from the Bay Area all the way to Chicago, demonstrating his new skills through different platforms.

His team created Gluten Freely, a prototype app that connects people with Celiac disease to gluten-free restaurants in their area. While not currently available in app stores, the app has the power to improve the lives of many people living with Celiac disease.

He also helped Pegasus Theatre in Chicago make their website more engaging in order to attract and retain talent and patronage. His team created new designs and pages, making public involvement easier and giving the website an overall brand and visual facelift.

His team even helped the Department of Labor redesign and update their existing website by reinforcing nostalgia and history that was missing from the original site.

For Jerry, working with others was always one of the best parts. “Generally, you’re not doing UX jobs alone,” he said. “You’re on a team. Collaborating on projects and going live on actual websites was really fulfilling.”

Creating connections, one LinkedIn invite at a time

Thanks to the highly collaborative curriculum, Jerry was able to connect with classmates both inside and outside of the virtual classroom. Having a robust community of peers and teachers helped him in his daily classes when he didn’t understand something, and also proved critical from a networking standpoint.

“Everyone was super supportive,” said Jerry. “I’ve even kept in touch with my classmates after the boot camp ended — in a professional way, and in a casual way; connecting on social media and congratulating them on life endeavors.”

Throughout the boot camp, Jerry’s professors also brought in industry professionals to give talks on what it’s like working in the UX/UI field, which only furthered Jerry’s passion to drive impact through innovation.

On the job hunt, with a new set of skills in tow

As a recent boot camp graduate, Jerry is optimistic about his UX/UI job search and is seeking opportunities that align with his core values. He hopes to create real change in the lives of his clients and communities at large.

“It’s about putting yourself out there, which can be difficult in this environment,” Jerry said. “I’m hoping to help small businesses with their websites while continually gaining exposure and experience.”

Want to kickstart an exciting new career in UX/UI? Explore Berkeley Boot Camps and start working toward a fulfilling professional future.

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