Alex Shyaka

Alex Shyaka

Founder and CEO
Passionate about Tech Mentorship for all

Are you pursuing a UI/UX Design Career?

I believe every designer has a story to tell. I am currently a UI/UX Designer at CodeImpact and would love to share my story with someone of similar interest.

My story

For several times, I had always been bothered by unpleasant designs. Every time I visited a website and it didn’t catch my eye, it would bother me, I often asked myself a question why would this Developer code something like this? I must admit I blamed the Developers every time I saw a bad design. Little did I know, there was something called UI/UX Design. I thought developers do everything from design to development but I learned that Design is a different package of its own.

While at a Coding Bootcamp, I remember we often worked on projects in groups. One time we were working on projects in pairs, developers call it Pair Programming. We had a chance to select a project to work on from the list given to us. My Pair and I selected an online shopping project. I love shopping online and I felt it was time for me to practice my coding skills on something that I love.

I clearly remember my Learning Facilitator emphasizing that we must do mockups before we write any code. Mockups? that was the first time I was hearing that word and when we asked her about it, she clearly explained to us that a Mockup is a representation of what the final product will look like. It’s basically a prototype. She shared with us some resources on how to design mockups. First things first, I had to learn how to use the design tool that she recommended which was Figma. This was tough on my side. Things were not shifting, I had limited time to complete the project. The project was 10 days and I spent the first 3days learning how to use Figma. After a long time of struggling, I presented my mockups to her and she said “Oh my God, this is very bad” I almost cried. I guess you can tell how I felt at that particular moment. Nevertheless, we learn from our mistakes, she gave me her insights and I learned from her. Because I had no other time to be wasted, I decided to jump into the coding part of the project, I and my pair worked on different features and at the end of it, we had something to present.

That project got done, but what my facilitator told me the first time I did a mockup stuck in my head. I realized I had a passion for design but didn’t know how to get started. One more thing that really pushed me to explore design is my portfolio I wanted to design my portfolio but didn’t know what to do with the layout. I browsed several portfolio sites and just studied what they had in common, I managed to get insights from them and came up with the first version of my own portfolio.

What’s UI/UX Design anyway?

UI design is the process of creating the look and feel of an application’s user interface. The user interface (UI) encompasses both the appearance and interactivity of an app. The colors users see, the text they read, buttons they click on, and animations they interact with are all part of the app’s UI and, therefore, a UI designer’s responsibilities.

UX Design is the process of researching, developing, testing, and refining all aspects of a product to ensure the user’s needs and expectations are met. UI, on the other hand, is more cosmetic, focusing only on the product’s presentation.

Is UI/UX Design for you?

This is an interesting question. Just because I made a bad mockup the first time I attempted doing design, I concluded that design was not for me and that was the first mistake I made. I realized even if I kept thinking otherwise, bad designs always bothered me, I just didn’t know what to do with it, I didn’t know how to make it better and I had no Design mentor at that moment. That’s exactly why I almost gave up. To answer that question? this is what I would say.

If you are always bothered by bad designs, UI/UX Design is for you.

My mentor, Mr. Shyaka, onetime reached out to us and asked if anyone was interested in Design, I gladly said I was, but I had no idea what I was supposed to do. He was so happy and started by sharing learning resources with me. He even bought me a design course in one of the most popular design platforms design code. That is how my UI/UX Design journey started, I have learned how to use Figma and I am still exploring it, I have learned Design concepts that have helped me make better designs.

How do you get started?

Well, it’s very easy, it starts with passion and interest if you are interested, you are in the right place.

Get a Mentor

First, get a mentor, look for someone in that field, and ask them as many questions as you can. Learn from their experience.

The fact remains that you are struggling to do something, some else has already done.

Do a Design Course

Enroll in as many Design Courses as you can, Learn how to use prototyping tools, and most importantly learn Design Principles that can help you make great designs. Several platforms offer design courses but I would personally recommend design code, it has awesome design courses.

Look for a place to practice your designs skills

I am proud to be a Community Lead of a Tech community and I am happy to welcome you, if you want a place to practice your design skills, reach out to us and we shall be glad to have you.

Great thanks to Alex Shyaka Nkusi who is mentoring me in this and the whole CodeImpact Team for their continued support.

If you have read this till the end, I appreciate it and feel free to follow me on Linkedin and Facebook.