Learner stories

See how this Architect switched to UX Design

Alison V., Senior UX Designer @ Acquia, Columbus, United States

Alison's learning journey: Introduction to UI and UX Design and Learn HTML.

What inspired you to learn to code?

After I got my master’s degree, I started working at an architecture firm. It was not what I anticipated. I felt like I wasn’t getting to be creative or technical.

I had just moved to Chicago for my job and ended up getting laid off right when the pandemic hit.

I thought this was a good opportunity to take a step back and see what it was that I was missing from my career. That’s when I really went all-in on Codecademy.

How has learning to code impacted you?

It has definitely increased my confidence in my abilities.

I don’t use every coding language I’ve learned on every project, but I have more confidence to say, “These are the things I did, here are my certificates, these are the projects I’ve done,” and that adds to my design background.

Changing to a different career can be pretty daunting, but to be able to back up my skills with those concrete things definitely helped me.

Pick one thing, and really learn it.

Describe your dream project.

Design systems — that’s not just because that’s what I’m currently working on. I just got lucky that’s what needed to be worked on when I joined my current team.

I really like working on, building out, and increasing the usability of a design system.

Any advice for those who are new to coding?

Pick one thing, and really learn it. Really get into it and feel confident in it before trying to then take on another thing.

It can be a lot like drinking from a fire hose where you’re trying to do everything at once. What worked for me was to learn HTML and then build a website using only that, just to see what I could do with it.

When not coding, what do you do for fun?

I just bought a house, and — having an architecture background — I’m really excited. That’s what my free time will be, making updates to my house.