Deb Hinojosa was familiar with UTSA Boot Camps before she even attended one. She worked for UTSA’s Carlos Alvarez College of Business Executive Education programs, where she gathered feedback from students to inform proposals and help improve the programs.
Many of the skills and tools she was using in her role aligned with what UTSA UX/UI Boot Camp taught. With experience managing projects and people under her belt, a background in research and some knowledge of UX, Deb was inspired to enroll in the program herself.
“I had all of these different ingredients that make up UX, and when I came across this boot camp, it felt like I finally found what I was meant to be doing all along,” she said.
You get out what you put in
Deb taught herself some basics of UX through YouTube videos and free courses on Coursera. Having studied kinesiology and exercise science as an undergraduate, she also had experience conducting research and using statistics. Now, all she needed to learn was how to apply this knowledge to UX.
The boot camp was a stark contrast from Deb’s prior educational experiences, and not just because it was remote as a result of the pandemic. She was used to sitting through long lectures and completing work independently, but the boot camp placed more emphasis on hands-on experience and teamwork.
“We’d learn a concept and immediately figure out how to apply it. On top of that, we did group activities that indirectly taught me a lot about conflict management and leadership,” she said. “The structure was different, and it was effective in helping me grasp what we were being taught.”
Even in the winter of 2021, when San Antonio was hit with a huge snowstorm, Deb and her cohort pushed through to continue learning the best they could. They were in the midst of working on a group project when everyone except one team member lost power. In the following days, they worked strategically and collaboratively to not only finish the project, but build something they were proud of.
Deb faced other challenges, such as managing her time effectively as she attended her boot camp while working full time.
“There were moments, especially when we started getting into coding, where I was thinking to myself, ‘This is all new to me, I don’t know what I’m doing and it’s taking a long time for me to learn,’” she said. “One of the biggest things that helped me push through was my instructor, Sandra Graves.”
Her instructor was inspiring, motivational and played a huge role in Deb’s ability to grow and face challenges head-on. Additionally, her friends and family were supportive throughout the whole process, reminding Deb of what she’s capable of and what she could accomplish once the boot camp ended.
The payoff is worth the time and effort
Deb worked with her Career Services team throughout the boot camp, following their suggestions and attending workshops to prepare for the job search ahead. When the boot camp ended, she collected her materials, polished them up and was ready to start applying for jobs. But before she even filled out her first application, she was contacted by a recruiter.
“I was just trying to feel out what I was qualified for, because a lot of employers were looking for people with more experience,” she said. “But this recruiter contacted me out of nowhere, I had an interview and I got the job a week later.”
Deb is now a UX designer for Enspire, a platform that helps companies build apps that allow employers to better communicate with their employees about things like health benefits, pay and worker safety.
She loves being able to work wherever she wants, alongside a team of involved and encouraging people. She focuses on building apps every day and sees opportunities for growth within this company, which is also in the process of growing.
“I have the chance to make an impact on this company because it’s small and growing,” she said. “It’s what I was looking for and always hoping to find.”
Deb plans to grow with this company for the foreseeable future, but her ultimate goal is to someday have a UX business of her own. She wants to train others, manage teams and be her own boss.
“I’ve been in leadership positions before, but I’ve always been hesitant to step up to the plate and feel comfortable being in charge,” she said. “In the boot camp, there’s always a job that needs to get done and somebody has to do it. That allowed for a lot of personal growth in terms of believing in myself and trusting my abilities.”
Interested in learning a new technical skill? Explore boot camps in UX/UI, coding, data analytics and more offered by UTSA Boot Camps.