Career pivot into IT – UX/UI Designer: Katarzyna Januchowska

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Katarzyna Januchowska did not convince us at the beginning of her journey. However, over time, after meeting with us face2face, Kasia began to get very “involved” in the subject of her process of changing the industry. She went through a huge path, gained fundamental knowledge on numerous courses, found a technical mentor and expanded her portfolio (commercial experience). Kasia can accept feedback and does it without blinking an eye! And then she implements changes in life.

Klaudia and Łukasz Jarych – CareerChange2It: Kasia, you are one of the people we supported during the UX/UI Designer transition as part of our flagship program (LINK). You have been very proactive and have planned the process perfectly. You have successfully transitioned into the IT industry in only 5 months! Heartfelt congratulations! Today, we’d like to talk about the lessons and thoughts from the transition process and your current role.

Kasia Januchowska: Your course showed me a lot, what is worth paying attention to in the process of professional change. More specifically, it helped me in what I should deal with in the first place, what qualifications I have, which I can turn into my dream profession and what I can improve before creating a CV and ultimately reaching decision-makers.

CC2IT: Why did you decide to change the industry and choose the UX/UI Designer?

Kasia: When I was browsing the professions that are in IT, at the beginning I was interested in a data analyst, but nevertheless I came to the conclusion that I am more interested in the process of designing applications and websites, all the curiosities related to the UX. Even when I wasn’t thinking about a career change, I was evaluating applications in terms of what I liked about them and what I would change about them. This feature turned out to be useful for creating a UX Audit.
From my predisposition to the UX/UI profession, my previous work with people, exploring why something works this way and not that way, resistance to feedback helped.

CC2IT: If you had to say what 3 things helped you the most in changing your industry, what would it be?

Kasia: The three things that helped me the most in changing my industry are:

  • Suitable financial backup,
  • A mentor who made me believe in myself and my abilities,
  • Appropriate career change strategy

CC2IT: In our course “Changing the Industry in 5 Steps” we mention that the second step in this process is to get a technical mentor who will tell you what the specifics of working in a given industry are. It is also worth having your “partner in change” who will motivate you to act and support you at every stage of the process from the labor market side and show you how to convince employers. Tell me, did you have a mentor and a partner in change and what value did they bring to your transition process?

Kasia: You (author: Klaudia and Łukasz Jarych) were initially my “Partner in Change”. After an unsuccessful CV, thanks to you, I really motivated myself to act and having bad days in private – you were my driving force. After our consultation, I felt great satisfaction with my decision to change the industry.
In addition to your cooperation, I worked technically with Adrian Dydo. It is and was my best investment. Thanks to the mentor, I saw how work is done, how I should prepare, what I should be ready for and I knew how to approach the portfolio.

CC2IT: Changing profession is a process that requires regularity and appropriate scheduling. Tell us how you prepared yourself to acquire substantive knowledge (e.g. the tools you used).

Kasia: The first tool I used was Trello. From the very beginning, I wrote my strategy of changing the industry. In addition, I returned to what I had already achieved, what else I have to do and what is the further goal of my professional change. Having a plan, I started with the UX/UI basics course, and then from October I started the Design Practice course, in which I created a website for my favorite café. In the meantime, I designed the “For the Candidate” page for (yes, it’s us!)  Being up to date with the news, I paid attention to what was happening on the market, what was new and I took care of contact with people from the IT industry.

CC2IT: Step 4 is to put knowledge into practice to enter a new industry. How did you highlight your already gained experience and skills to convince managers that you are the right person in the right place?

Kasia: There are a few things that have given me great feedback when it comes to hiring me for the position I am currently in. From each interview, I looked at what I could improve, what I could focus on, what I could improve in myself. The most important feature for me is to be confident at every stage of my career change. Thanks to this, we get more offers for cooperation, our self-awareness increases and we are better able to present ourselves.  From the conversations, I knew that I needed to improve my English. This will make me feel even more confident. In addition, I appreciated the importance of the portfolio made much earlier. It is also worth making an appointment for an earlier trial interview to see what we can correct or facilitate during the recruitment process,

Creating my personal brand on LinkedIn – thanks to this I met people from whom I could learn. In addition, I published regularly, reacted to the posts of people from the industry and was noticed by recruiters.

CC2IT: At a certain stage of transition — already as a formality, you need a CV. This is usually a chronological resume. In the case of transition, it is much more beneficial to present your experience in it. How did these resumes co-created with us work for you?

Kasia: My resume looked dramatic at first. I didn’t know how to make it right, how to show it in a cool way.

As the CV was corrected in cooperation with you and my HR, I received a good response and was more often invited to interviews.

Before changing my CV, as it was dramatic, I had 0% response.

After making a good resume, the statistics improved a bit

Over 70% of my CVs have been opened.

On the other hand, from Łukasz’s entry on LinkedIn, I gained over 60% of referrals to companies.

I was invited to 5 interviews and I learned from each of them.

CC2IT: Kasia, we watched your activities on LinkedIn and Tik Tok, where you built your image of a person changing the industry. It’s great that you worked in this field too! And how did you feel about networking and reaching out to decision-makers?

Kasia: It was very pleasant  I liked networking and just talking to decision-makers. I knew how I could behave and how I could present myself so that I would be chosen.

I used the actions every day on Linkedin — I responded to entries, I added more detailed comments — not “super” type. Thanks to this, I gained additional self-confidence in the process of change.

CC2IT: And a hint, because our customers often ask about it, how did you break the ice to make contacts with complete strangers on LinkedIn? Was it difficult for you?

Kasia: Since I can remember – I have always been communicative, although sometimes I am introverted, I had no problem breaking through. It worked out so naturally for me.

I can hint that let’s start getting to know the person who interests us. We want to learn new things – don’t be afraid to react too!
It’s better to try than regret later

CC2IT: Kasia Januchowska’s golden advice for people who are thinking about changing their industry is…

Kasia: Advice that I recommend and are universal for every life change and professional change also works:

  1. Remember to have your financial backup, thanks to which you will get rid of unnecessary stress and at the same time you will have a calm head.
  2. Create a plan for your career change. Schedule by when you’ll reschedule courses, meet a mentor, and create a clear portfolio
  3. Know your strengths and apply them in your career transformation

And you’re still trying to get into IT and don’t know how to do it?We will guide you by the handle until you find your dream job in the target industry