Case study

Senior UX designer — Polly Fullerton

The communication skills that Polly developed during her English degree, combined with the experience she built up through independent learning and meeting designers, helped her move into UX design

What degree did you study?

I studied for a BA Hons English Language and Literature at the University of Oxford.

How did you get your job?

After graduating, I got a job as an SEO manager at THG. I realised after six months that I wanted to be a UX designer, but I didn't have any tech or design experience. Luckily, there are plenty of free UX resources online and loads of physical meet-ups, so I was able to learn a lot on my own. Once I felt confident enough, I made a pitch to the UX manager at THG to take me on as a junior - he said yes and I haven't looked back.

Having gained experience as a UX designer at THG, I moved on to work for comparethemarket.com, first as a mid-weight UX designer and now as a senior UX designer.

What's a typical day like?

I tend to start at 8.30am and finish at 5pm, but my company are super flexible when it comes to deciding hours or working from home.

Normally I spend most of my day doing practical design work (sketching or making digital mock-ups or prototypes), but I'll also be in and out of stakeholder meetings and design reviews.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I love sussing out user problems and coming up with design solutions. It's a satisfying feeling when you know you've managed to save people money, effort and time.

What are the challenges?

I really struggled for a while with imposter syndrome when I found myself in a tech environment with very little technical knowledge. It's easy to feel overwhelmed by the jargon, tools and concepts, but there's always something new to learn.

In what way is your degree relevant?

Using clear language is crucial in UX, so my English degree definitely set me up well. In general, having good communication skills is a real help, especially when I'm presenting my designs to stakeholders.

How has your role developed?

As a junior/mid-weight designer I used to support more senior team members on projects. Now that I'm a senior I'll often be the only designer working on a project, which means a lot more responsibility, but also more freedom.

In the future I want to be a lead designer and head up a team.

What advice can you give to others wanting to get into UX design?

  • Don't be put off if you don't have a technical background - some of the most brilliant UX designers I know transitioned into the industry from something totally different.
  • Make the most of free UX resources before committing to a paid course - it's amazing what you can learn on your own.
  • Try and get in touch with established UX designers, especially via local meet-ups.

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