Alumna Spotlight: UX Strategist Sofia BorgesBy: The SwitchUp Team
When faced with the decision to choose a coding or design focus, Ironhack alumna Sofia Borges opted for a unique solution. Sofia not only attended Ironhack's Web Development Bootcamp, she later went on to study UX and UI Design at Ironhack as well.
Sofia's interest in technology first started while she was a Business student at the University of Miami. During classes, she noticed that technology and innovation were a constant theme. As she explains, "My professors constantly stressed the importance of technology and how it plays a pivotal role in ultimately every industry...I had no idea what coding really was, but the more I read about it, the more I felt it was something I was destined to do."
We sat down with Sofia to learn more about her experience at Ironhack's Barcelona campus, and how both coding and design skills are instrumental in her role as a Content Producer & UX Strategist at Royal Caribbean Cruises.
You enrolled in Ironhack after earning a graduate degree in International Business & Management from University of Miami. What made you decide to pursue a career in coding?While getting my business degree at the University of Miami, my professors constantly stressed the importance of technology and how it plays a pivotal role in ultimately every industry. When I began to do my own research into careers in tech, I discovered Ironhack's Web Development course. I had no idea what coding really was, but the more I read about it, the more I felt it was something I was destined to do.
What was your research process like when comparing bootcamps? What made you decide to attend Ironhack in Barcelona?Being a Miami local, my options were narrowed down to either Ironhack or Wyncode. Although both are absolutely great coding schools, Ironhack's team was very attentive to me and made the whole application process so easy for me! Plus it's insanely awesome that they are all over the globe. However, I'd like to note that it's also important to check out if their curriculum is up to speed with current job descriptions. The tech industry changes so rapidly and you don't want to learn a coding language that is outdated.
Why did you decide to study both Web Development and UX/UI Design at Ironhack?Coding and design can no longer be seen as two separate entities. It's so important for coders to understand good user experience and for designers to understand good web development. If you can study both, more power to you.
Tell me about the learning environment at Ironhack. What was the curriculum and classroom instruction like?You have to go in knowing that you are cramming in a whole lot of learning into a short 8 week period. It's absolutely feasible. However, you need to have patience and dedication. The class sizes are small so you can definitely get the attention you need. You're also learning from industry experts so you can confide that you are getting real industry experience rather than textbook information.
For you, what were the pros and cons of attending a bootcamp?There are so many pros but my main one was being able to actualize my dreams of launching a career in tech relatively quickly. I would say a con is that it's very specialized into specific areas (coding or design). If you had more time allotted to studying this field, you could ingest more information about databases, SEO, Quality Assurance, and all-around more details to the trade.
What was your job search experience like? How did Ironhack help you prepare?Ironhack has an awesome hiring fair where you can meet different companies. They also expand your network immensely. However, just because you join a coding school doesn't mean the job search experience is going to be a walk in the park. You need to create a great portfolio, an impressive resume, and have consistent follow up with interviewers.
Where are you working now? What is your day-to-day role like?Now I am working at Royal Caribbean Cruise Line on the digital website team. I am designing and building web pages for the content team. I work with the Senior Designers creating wireframes in Sketch, then I create the pages in our CMS using authoring skills combined with Front-End Development.
How did Ironhack prepare you for life as a UX Strategist?The course is filled with multiple projects that truly emulate real life UX projects. Ironhack's curriculum teaches you concepts but, more importantly, it made us put those concepts to use right away with projects. When I started working, I felt very comfortable because Ironhack prepared me with the experience I needed.
What are your goals and plans for the next few years?My goals are to keep learning, keep coding, and keep designing. I hope to grow as much as possible in my industry and make a positive contribution to the community.
What advice do you have for people who are interested in attending a bootcamp with the goal of becoming a UX Designer?My advice is to go for it! Give it all you've got and you will get there. It's an incredible field to be in. Be patient and above all, work really hard because it will pay off.