As a financial consultant, Henry Ghazanchian was successful — but he wasn’t content. When considering the next 10 years of his career, he realized that he didn’t see himself thriving. “Every morning, I really had to force myself to go to work,” he said. “That’s why I decided it was time to do something that would make me happy.”
In his free time, Henry was a professional painter with over 30 years of experience. He also had a passion for tech and how products were made — from cars, to cell phones, to computers — and wondered what it would look like to combine his love for art and tech in a new career.
After some thoughtful research, he discovered the field of UX/UI design and pursued it immediately.
Mastering the basics of UX/UI
To kickstart his journey, Henry enrolled in the six-month Berkeley UX/UI Boot Camp. The classes were enriching but challenging, and he had to spend additional hours studying the material and completing assignments outside of class. But hard work didn’t deter Henry. From day one, he looked forward to attending and engaging with every session, as he was studying something he felt deeply passionate about.
UI aligns with Henry’s artistic interests since it involves designing screens based on customer feedback. He liked experimenting with colors and design templates, which helped him create interfaces that users would enjoy. Throughout the boot camp, he also learned how to put himself in his users’ shoes and identify pain points — then, he’d mitigate product flaws to ensure an excellent user experience.
Toward the end of the boot camp, Henry learned some foundational front end engineering concepts that helped him become a more effective designer. Although he found the material difficult, he knew that gaining this knowledge would enable him to build more effective solutions for future users.
“With no users, there’s no product — and with no product, there’s no business,” he said. “Design should always be about the users.”
Building a portfolio with memorable experiences
Henry completed several projects throughout the boot camp, eagerly gaining direct, hands-on design experience in the process. One of these projects was a collaboration with a nonprofit that needed a website upgrade. During that experience, Henry learned how to communicate with stakeholders, present ideas to the CEO and complete necessary data work to bring everyone’s vision to life.
“After identifying what the stakeholders wanted, we connected with users to figure out their pain points,” he said. “Then, based on their interviews and surveys, we redesigned the whole website to make it more user-friendly for everyone.”
For another group project, Henry helped design an app that monitors users’ daily caffeine intake. To make the app even more functional, the team added features that allowed users to customize their drinks according to calorie and caffeine needs, then connect with coffee shops that served their drinks of choice.
“I had the best experience with these projects, thanks to my instructors and colleagues,” Henry said. “I was learning while interacting with different types of people, and had access to fantastic support from my instructors. They were always available to help us with our assignments, no matter what.”
Thriving in a new industry
After graduating from the boot camp, Henry submitted over 200 job applications and participated in at least 20 separate interviews. It wasn’t easy to land a new position as a beginner in the tech industry — but with such a positive boot camp experience and an extensive portfolio, Henry was able to persevere through the rejections.
Today, he happily works as a UX/UI designer for a San Francisco-based startup. He credits Berkeley UX/UI Boot Camp with helping him succeed not only in his job interview, but also in his daily responsibilities.
“Everything I’m doing now is influenced by what I learned in the boot camp,” he noted. “I still refer back to my boot camp material when I’m stuck on a project — it helps me refresh my memory and finish my work efficiently.”
Henry believes that his decision to prioritize his happiness led him to where he is today. He advises current boot camp students to continue putting in the hard work so they, too, can thrive in a fulfilling career. He considers his boot camp experience to be a major accomplishment, as it demonstrates steadfast determination.
“If I didn’t attend the boot camp, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” he said. “At my current job, I can work countless hours without getting tired — and can confidently say that designing is what makes me happy.”
Considering a career change? Check out Berkeley Boot Camps in UX/UI design, data analytics, digital marketing and more.