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More than just creativity needed for a career in design computing

Bain helped develop an app that counts Australia’s frogs and she co-captains IBM’s dragon boating team. She is a Dragon Boating World Championships gold medallist and also finds time to create large-scale artworks, some of which appeared in Vivid Sydney 2017.

At school, she loved graphic design and information technology. She completed a University of Sydney bachelor degree in design computing. During a careers fair, she chatted with the IBM table, which led to an internship.

UX designers come from backgrounds including psychology, marketing and project management.

Bain recommends getting familiar with industry tools and says the qualification is just a starting point.

Experience in practical real-world problem solving is key and she advises signing up for design hack-a-thons called “design-a-thons”, meet-ups and UX conferences that bridge the community.

When it comes to the job hunt, Bain says it is important to carve out a path to stand out from the pack in a trendy field, “without fussing over creative credentials”.

“Obviously, you need to be comfortable sketching and wire-framing, but you don’t have to be Mozart. As long as it is clear enough to get a concept across to start testing, that is enough,” she says.

Soft skills count more than creativity. She lists enthusiasm, negotiation, empathy, and time-management as key attributes. A keen grasp of business procedure is critical, too.

Learning to ask questions about what the client wants to achieve and resilience are imporant.

The head of UX and product at Australia’s touted largest online art gallery, Bluethumb, Melissa Cooper, emphasises the value of enthusiasm and networking.

“Think about what areas excite you and get to know people solving great problems with AI, innovating in IoT or turning an industry upside down by inventing new marketplaces,” Cooper says.

She advises attending the leading user experience event She suggests finding local events on Facebook, Meetup and Eventbrite. Because UX is highly collaborative, being a team player is key.

“I also look for adaptability, as falling in love with your first idea isn’t always the best way. You need to be open to learning from customers, to come up with the best outcome for the business,” she says.

Top tips 

First, study subjects like graphic design and IT

Read The Design of Everyday Things

Learn how to wield vital UX tools

Graduate in a course like design computing

Attend Australia’s biggest UX event,

Find local events on Facebook, Meetup and Eventbrite

Sell yourself as a keen, flexible problem-solver

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