Schedule a call

Is UX Design A Good Career? – From Accountancy To UX at 37

In this article

A career in UX Design is becoming the first choice for many aspiring designers in the field today, with it being a trending and in-demand profession due to its lucrative income, strong career progression, and ability to create a real impact in your work. However, before you bid farewell to your current industry and decide to invest your time and money in the new career of UX, you’d probably have to consider this question: “Is UX Design a good career?”

First of all, ‘good’ is subjective and this definition changes from person to person. Be it salary, work-life balance, creative freedom, industry culture or meaningfulness, there are so many factors of a job that we consider before deeming it as a ‘good’ one. One of many who stand in support of UX Design being a good career is 37-year-old Ivy So Hayler.

Ivy was one of the 6 students in the very first batch of our 4-Month UX Career Accelerator last year in June, and successfully managed to break into the UX industry within months, during our programme.

About Ivy

Ivy has had more than a decade’s worth of experience in the Financial sector. She most recently served as the Assistant Vice President (AVP) of Barclays Bank for over 6 years and was a Tax Assistant Consultant prior to that at Price Water Coopers (PWC). Having graduated from the University of Bristol with a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) and having an Associate Chartered Accountant (ACA) certificate put her in a position furthest away from the conventional route of becoming a designer.

However, at age 37, she decided that change was long overdue. After taking a 3-year career break to focus on her family as a new mother of 2 kids, she officially decided to commit to her decision to break into the UX industry by signing up for our UX Design Course in June 2020. She worked hard in those 4 months, on several UX projects with clients in the non-profit, education, and media sectors.

“The big plus of the programme is that it sources real projects from real clients and CuriousCore screens all the clients to make sure the projects are portfolio-worthy.”

In her time with us, she managed to gain exposure working with stakeholders across Europe, Asia, and the Americas. She also gained experience analysing data and translating it for innovation and process improvement, in an Agile Scrum setting. We are proud to announce that she secured her role as a UX Designer at the Bank of Singapore, midway through her course with us last year!

Today, she prides herself as someone who is able to offer a unique blend of UX and Design skills coupled with commercial understanding and analytical ability. Through the personalised career strategy she received in our course, she taps on her previous experience in the financial sector but in a role she enjoys.

Ivy’s accomplishments in our course

Over the 4 months with us, Ivy has managed to accomplished a great deal with her teammates. She worked on 3 real client projects which are now an integral part of her UX portfolio as she can use them as key case studies to future hirers.

1. Website Optimisation of is a UK-based e-learning website established in 2010 that provides free resources on leadership, management, and personal effectiveness. The business required help around optimising the User Experience of the website prior to a site-wide launch of new content and paywall structure. The project was performed remotely with the client who is based in the UK, within a one-month period.

Ivy’s team came up with recommendations made based on analytics and heat map analysis, coupled with qualitative research, which has led to a 32% increase in Account sign-up numbers during the project phase.

Existing Website

Prototype done up by Ivy and team

2. Participatory Democracy Platform for Curitiba Mais Açao

This project was a collaboration with a non-profit organisation called Curitiba Mais Açao (“CMA”), which is based in the city of Curitiba, Brazil. This project came about as the founder of CMA felt that the political climate of Brazil had caused the general public to become disillusioned and disengaged with their politicians.

He felt there was an urgent need to improve this situation, particularly given there was an impending election. Based on his own experience, he believed increasing communication with politicians could lead to more political engagement. This project was performed remotely with the stakeholders based in Brazil.

Ivy and her team carried out generative research resulting in the creation of a proof of concept website that would provide a neutral and user-friendly platform for Brazilian citizens to connect with their political representatives. In order to produce this deliverable, Ivy and her team had conduct thorough UX research to gain deep insights into the client’s target audience. They then synthesised their results and crafted a target customer persona to better identifying and empathise with their users.

Target User Persona created from insights gained during UX Research by Ivy and team

3. Eyeyah! Mobile Website for Teenagers

Eyeyah! is a media brand which mission is to use creativity to nurture a generation of young people who are socially and environmentally conscious. Historically Eyeyah!’s target audience has been primary school children, whom they reach out to using a number of media channels (animation, magazine, exhibitions, etc) and through schools (e.g. workshops).

Eyeyah!‘s founders now hope to focus more on the teenager market and needed some ideas on how to approach this direction. Ivy’s team helped the Eyeyah! brand to better position itself for the teenager market, through recommendations on marketing strategies and the design of a mobile website prototype aimed at teenagers.

First Design after iteration 1

Revamped Design after iteration 2

Check out Ivy’s full portfolio here.

Q&A with Ivy

We managed to interview her on her experience breaking into the industry, despite having no background in UX or Design prior to taking our 4-Month UX Career Accelerator. We asked her the following questions:

  1. Why did you decide to pursue UX?
  2. Why did you choose CuriousCore?
  3. What were you most nervous about before joining the course?
  4. What were the highlights of the course?
  5. How did CuriousCore support your career transition?
  6. Any advice for future batches as a CuriousCore Alumnus?

Q1) Why did you decide to pursue UX?

Ivy: I feel that user experience design marries logic and creativity and has the potential to bring about real, positive impact to people by making customers and users the centre of our design strategy. That way, we can create happy customers and therefore bring about profitability to the company.

Q2) Why did you choose CuriousCore?

Ivy: I chose CuriousCore because of two main reasons.

  1. It focuses on getting you job-ready.
    The big plus of this programme is that it sources real projects from real clients and CuriousCore screens all the clients to make sure that the projects are portfolio-worthy.
  2. It also provides you with a tailored career plan.
    There are weekly calls, CV reviews, networking opportunities, and practical job hunting tips. There’s also basic UX knowledge imparted through the monthly design sprints.

So having said all that, with all of the benefits you enjoy at the price tag, it is very good value for money compared to the ones you currently see on the market. – Ivy So Hayler

Q3) What were you most nervous about before joining the course?

Ivy: Before I joined the programme, I think there were two main concerns.

  1. I was worried if I would be able to manage my time well enough to cope with the programme as well as my private life – as I’m a mother of two young children.
  2. I was doubtful if the investment in terms of time and money spent would eventually pay off in securing me a full-time UX job with good pay.

Q4) What were the highlights of the course?

Ivy: It was a very positive experience, but I won’t lie, it was very intensive. Each month we were being exposed to a new project. However, I really enjoyed working with the other students on the programme. It was a very supportive learning environment. And at the end of the day, I have learned a lot of new skills that I wouldn’t have been able to acquire if I weren’t on the CuriousCore programme.

In terms of highlights, I think there were two:

  1. I managed to get some really useful advice through the portfolio review with a leading expert in the industry.
  2. I feel that I have managed to make a real positive impact on the clients that we helped.

Q5) How did CuriousCore support your career transition?

Ivy: Daylon from CuriousCore has supported my career transition through various ways:

  1. A very tailored career plan based on my strengths and weaknesses.
  2. The arrangement of the different projects such that we’re able to build our portfolios in a desirable manner.
  3. Reviews about portfolios from experts in the industry.
  4. Advice on how to put my CV together, together with reviews of our CVs.
  5. Very practical job hunting tips which were not just from a CV perspective, but on how we should go about finding our own leads to find jobs.
  6. The warm introduction of experts in the UX field which has given us the opportunity to network with them.

So I think all of those things put together supported my career transition.

By following the advice given to me during the programme I have managed to get in touch with a UX Leader in a company within the financial service industry and have secured myself a contract to work there before I graduated from the programme.

Q6) Any advice for future batches as a CuriousCore Alumnus?

Ivy: My advice to someone who’s in my position, who’s perhaps taking a career break, who’s a mother of two young kids… Don’t lose hope.

  1. Manage your time well.
  2. Have a support network of people who can help you look after your kids during the day and try and find time in the evenings when your kids are asleep.
  3. Overall, try and be positive.

One positive thing that has come out of the COVID situation is that you can work very flexibly with technology, Zoom and all that. So in that sense, it works quite well for someone who has got family responsibilities, because it means that you can work around your family commitments. So don’t be discouraged by that.

Also, I feel that the UX industry is in general, very supportive. Put yourself out there, reach out to people and ask for help. Just be genuine about your situation. You’d be surprised at how willing people are to help out and give genuine advice to you. Just build on that network and eventually you will get there.

Ivy’s story is truly an inspirational one and she’s not the only one! To find out about our CuriousCore Alumni, click here. From Graphic Design to Marketing, our graduates have come from all sorts of backgrounds and managed to succeed in breaking into the UX industry today.

For another similar inspiring story, check out Maverlyn’s story of how she broke into UX Design despite having no background in design and graduating from SMU with a Business Degree.

We hope that this article has provided you with a better insight into our course. If you want to know more about user experience and its industry, do check out our other resources available on our websites, such as our articles, weekly webinars, and podcasts.

CuriousCore offers both a 2-day UX Design Course and a 4-month UX Career Accelerator for those keen on transitioning into the industry and working on real client projects. Click the buttons below to find out more.