Like so many among us, COVID-19 turned Muriel Saroufim’s life upside down.
She was laid off from her job as a senior visual and UI designer at tech company Dell earlier this year, with over 10 years of experience in advertising, branding and digital design. Disheartened by the layoff — especially with a family to support and a two-year-old daughter to care for — Muriel needed to land a new job fast.
From the day she received the news, Muriel decided to dive into the UX/UI field that she knew could boost her career.
She began applying for jobs in the field, but her prospects weren’t as bright right off the bat – something was missing. Until she went to a tech boot camp to retool her career, that is. It was time to go back to the drawing board.
Shutting down and starting over
With the push of her supportive partner, Muriel found The UX/UI Boot Camp at UT Austin soon after the pivotal moment that left her without a job.
She knew that there’s more to design than meets the eye, and she wanted to gain more exposure on the user experience (UX) side of the equation. Muriel already knew how to make things beautiful, and now she wanted to learn how to make them functional.
“I wanted to learn about everything that comes before UI. The goal was to learn the whole process, to learn about the user, how we should keep them in mind, how I can create a story for this user to actually navigate to the product and drive sales for the company,” Muriel said. “It’s a win-win situation – for us as a company, and for the user and their journey.”
Muriel came to the UX/UI boot camp with an undergraduate degree in graphic design and over a decade of UI design experience. She’d already worked for big-name advertising agencies like Leo Burnett, and enterprise companies like Dell and Virtustream.
As soon as she started the program, she knew that the skills she’d learn would be the key to unlocking the job opportunities she was aiming for.
Embracing family, flexibility, and fortitude
For some people, the adage “there aren’t enough hours in the day” simply doesn’t apply.
After COVID-19 hit, Muriel’s program transitioned to virtual classes. As a full-time mom going through the boot camp, remote learning worked out better than expected. She would spend her days taking care of her two-year-old daughter and their home, and in the evenings, she attended classes, did homework, and even worked a contract job during the day for a two-month stretch on top of it all to make ends meet. “Sometimes I had to stay up till 5 in the morning getting everything done. If it weren’t for COVID, my daughter would be in daycare,” she said.
As if there wasn’t enough on her plate, she also had a language barrier to overcome – which she did exceptionally well. With her positive attitude and determination, she saw it all as an opportunity to deepen her skills and get a leg up on her coursework: “What I was learning at school in the evenings, I was putting into practice during the day.”
With such a positive outlook and steadfast determination to make it work, it’s no surprise that Muriel excelled in the course and was at the top of her class.
Designing her own path
After an eight-month job search and several rigorous application processes, Muriel landed her current role as a senior UX and design manager at Dun & Bradstreet — a company that helps businesses leverage data — less than a month after graduating from the program.
At D&B, Muriel is putting her newly cemented UX skills to use every single day. “I’m able to add all the skills I gained at the boot camp to my career today,” she said. “Without the boot camp, I wouldn’t have been able to get this job.” These days, she’s operating on a hybrid work schedule, allowing her to both be home with her family and get the facetime she needs to be successful in her new career.
Next up for Muriel is growth at her new company, and stepping into the leadership shoes she was clearly destined for.
When all is said and done, her positivity made it possible. “I worked really hard to find a job and end this year on a positive note,” she said.
What will you accomplish when you re-skill your career? Explore UT Austin Boot Camps in Coding, Cybersecurity, Data Analytics, UX/UI Design, Product Management, and Digital Marketing.