How to successfully pivot your career | Interview with General Assembly graduate, Billy Boman

As part of this year’s National Careers Week, we’ve partnered up with pioneering tech education provider General Assembly to hear from one of their graduates on how he successfully pivoted his career. Billy Boman recently graduated from General Assembly’s immersive User Experience Design course and he tells us how he made the switch from fashion designer to UX designer. Want to know how to pivot your career? Then look no further.

I gravitated to UX Design because…

My brother is an Interactive Designer at TripAdvisor, and my girlfriend recently switched careers to become a Software Engineer.

If I had to explain what I do to a 5 year-old, I’d say…

I make all that fun stuff on your mum and daddy’s phones work better!

General Assembly has been absolutely instrumental to me furthering my career.

I’d honestly never have been able to switch careers in this short amount of time without the structure of the curriculum, insights from industry experts, the alumni panels and the guest speakers.

What really gets me going is creative innovation, paired and informed by substantial user research.

I enjoy when you can push the envelope in terms of design, making hard things a lot easier and creating empathic and user-centric experiences.

The future of tech will be AI.

I think AI will set digital creators free. Free in terms of “productivity” and removing all the menial barriers in the design process (everything from manually figuring out responsive web layouts to masking in Photoshop). This will truly unleash the creative potential inherent in so many creators out there. I think what Adobe is doing with Adobe Sensei will be truly groundbreaking.

My advice to someone thinking of joining the tech sector is…

Adopt a growth mindset! In tech, there’s no such thing as “finished” – whether that’s in terms of the product you’re working on or in terms of yourself and your own learning. There’s always new technology around the corner that will completely disrupt and transform the industry. UX specifically is perhaps one of the most adaptive and ever-changing fields out there, adhering to its own principles of constant iterations and incremental improvement.

If I wasn’t in tech, I’d be…

A rockstar! I’ve played the guitar since I was thirteen years old, plus I have long hair and used to work as a menswear designer at Allsaints – so my wardrobe is up to the task!

My favourite app is Spotify.

Spotify has allowed me to have a collection of the world’s music in my pocket, readily available at the tip of my finger. Being an avid music lover, I grew up with a walkman dedicating time each morning to pick out the one CD that would accompany me that day. Spotify’s sleek and user-centric UI, discovery & collection features make for a truly great product that gives me both joy and education through music & podcasts.

My last meal would be…

I’d have to go for the ultra-classic Swedish Meatballs, with lingonberry jam, pickled cucumbers, the perfect brown sauce and mashed potatoes.

A funny career moment happened when I tried to explain UX to people with no knowledge of the digital space.

After a long period of time and several failed attempts, I ended up with “UX is like ergonomics for the digital space” which seemed to resonate!

My mantra in life is…

Be a curious idiot.