Case study

UX researcher — Tom Walker

Tom's technical knowledge and networking skills landed him an exciting and varied web-based job, before he had even finished his degree

How did you get your job?

I met employers through a careers day arranged by Edge Hill University department of computing. After chatting to various employers on the day, I reached out to them and asked if I could meet them for a coffee and discuss possible opportunities.

I think that show of initiative impressed them and helped me secure the job as I walked away from that meeting with a job offer. I hadn't graduated at that point but it certainly helped to take the pressure off my final year.

How relevant is your degree to your job?

My degree in web systems development is extremely relevant. My course gave me a solid understanding of the world of web technology, digital design concepts and theory.

However, I would say more important than that, it gave me the tools to learn on my own and taught me to push and challenge myself.

What are your main work activities?

My job is very varied. One day I may be writing and reviewing usability tests for a particular online brand. The next day, I will be looking at web-based analytical data and investigating user journeys. The following day I could be doing something completely different. That variety keeps my job enjoyable and interesting.

How do you use your degree in your job?

My degree was heavily focused on web standards and system design, which has made a huge positive impact on my job. These areas helped me to understand the limitation of front-end development, best practice design and how to structure complex systems.

What do you enjoy about your job?

In addition to the variety, I enjoy and benefit from the freedom I have. I don't have anyone standing over me telling me what to do. Instead, I do what is necessary to gather the information needed.

What are the most challenging parts?

If I don't know something, it's my responsibility to learn it. This way of working means I have learnt quite quickly. When I first started I made plenty of mistakes but that was OK. I won't make them again in the future and I can teach others based on my experience.

Where do you hope to be in five years?

I'd like to be working with a really talented team and speaking at community and conference events about my work.

Any words of advice for someone who wants to get into this job?

Read as much as you can about the field to expand your knowledge, as it gives you something to talk about in interviews. It doesn't have to be all books, look at articles and blogs too.

My employer was really impressed with how well read I was and it meant I could hold good conversations with people who had been in the industry for a long time.

Find out more