Primary School Teacher to UX Designer at AO - Meet Zaibaa!



Zaibaa, a UXUI10 alumni, has landed a role as a UX designer at AO! 🥳

We caught up with her to learn more about her transition from teaching at a primary school to designing full time!

What were you doing before UX/UI design, and what made you switch?

Before UX/UI I was working as a primary school teacher. About a year ago I started to teach myself UX/UI and in March I stumbled upon LC.

I was fascinated by how it’s such a multidisciplinary field, such as design, human psychology, problem-solving and business. And I found that the career that I was in did not let me explore these fully.

I then found that I already possessed many of the soft skills needed to be a UX designer from my background in teaching and customer service such as empathy, communication, organisation and critical thinking. So I just needed to learn the hard skills which I did through Love Circular and self teaching.

Zaibaa's case study redesigning the Missguided website 😍

How was the job-hunting process for you? 

For the job hunting process, what helped was setting up alerts on LinkedIn for any relevant jobs that came through.

What would you say helped you land this role?

Sounds weird but I actually don’t know what helped me land this role 😂

I guess, for one of my interviews I had to talk through my portfolio and I was honest about what went wrong and what I learnt from that and the interviewers appreciated it. 

You have a gorgeous portfolio! Can you talk us through how you made it?

This is the first time I’ve made a portfolio so to help me understand where to start I did some research. I searched for UX Portfolios online, looked at LinkedIn profiles of mid-level/ senior UX and studied their portfolios. I then compiled a list tips/ objectives I wanted to implement in mine:

  • Provide a summary to your project
  • Focus on explaining design process accompanied by sketches, wireframes, mind maps etc. instead of just focusing on the final design
  • Don’t be afraid to discuss your failures
  • Discuss what you learnt from the process

I knew I would get carried away with focusing on the minor details of the design of my portfolio like colour and ‘vibe’ of my portfolio etc., and although these are important, from my research I found that interviewers are more interested in your design process.

I took a week to actually build my portfolio because I used a website builder (there’s no need to code your portfolio!) but I spent about 2 weeks beforehand writing out my case studies and planning it on Figma.

Zaibaa designed STRIVE, an app that aims to help homeless people integrate into their local community 💪

Do you have any advice for bootcamp graduates ready to start job hunting?

LinkedIn is your best friend! Set up job alerts on LinkedIn so you get notified every time there’s a new job opening that meets your requirements. 

When a job posting came through that I was interested in, I searched for the UX Lead/ Manager of the company and sent them a message explaining who I was, and that I was interested in their new job post, with a link to my portfolio. (This is how I got my job).

I recommend also keeping a spreadsheet of where you have applied and where you are in the application process as it’s very easy to lose track when you’re applying for multiple roles at the same time.

Have a look at Zaibaa's portfolio with really in-depth case studies 😍👇

Wishing you all the best at AO, Zaibaa! They're lucky to have you 🎉

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