Alumni Spotlight

How Tamyra Became a UI/UX Designer with Flatiron School

Jess Feldman

Written By Jess Feldman

Liz Eggleston

Edited By Liz Eggleston

Last updated on November 6, 2023

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During the height of the pandemic, Tamyra Yancey was laid off from her job at a hospital. She took it as a blessing in disguise, as it allowed her the time and energy to attend the Part-Time Online UX/UI Design* bootcamp from Flatiron School. Find out how she balanced parenting with the program, how the career support she received that was crucial to starting her new career, and how an internship turned into a full-time UX Design role at Novetta (part of Accenture)!

*UX/UI Design course is no longer available. For prospective students interested in this course of study, visit the Product Design course page to learn more!

How did product design come on your radar in 2020?

I went to school for psychology and then worked as a professional chef in the hospitality industry for a long time. When I had kids I realized that that wasn't a sustainable type of industry to be in if I ever wanted to see them. I pivoted to banking for a while then the market collapsed and they laid off everyone. Then I was self-employed for a little bit, doing graphic design and ecommerce work. I decided that I didn't want to be self-employed anymore and started looking for something completely different than I ever did before. 

I started working at a hospital as a medical assistant and quickly found out that the job was not for me. Still, I kept showing up during the pandemic and then found out that everyone on my floor was laid off. This ended up being a blessing because I’d just enrolled at Flatiron School and wasn’t sure how I was going to balance working full-time with two kids and going to school. 

Did you consider a coding career before deciding to go the design route?

I tried coding on my own and it was not for me! Developers and designers think differently — I'm more of a visual thinker and more attracted to the UX side of things. I Googled Flatiron School and watched some YouTube videos about students’ experiences with Flatiron and I was sold!

In your experience, did you feel like you had to know basic design tools or concepts in order to apply to Flatiron School?

No, I didn’t need to know anything about design to get into the Part-Time Online UX/UI Design bootcamp. The majority of people in my cohort had completely different backgrounds. Some of them hadn’t done anything even remotely close to creative work but were looking to try something new. 

What was a typical week like in the online UX/UI Product Design bootcamp? 

It was intense. I was taking the part-time course, but the workload was not part-time for me! It was a lot of work — a lot of material to read through and projects to do. I remember staying up until 1am sometimes, but that's also because I'm a perfectionist, so sleep just wouldn’t come to me until I was done. 

During the week, we had time to ourselves to work on things. We also worked in groups, and there were live lectures where we could ask questions and go over the material with the instructor. 

What exactly did you learn in the Part-Time Online UX/UI Design?

I learned how to use Sketch and Figma. I also learned how to use different types of software, how to work my way around AdobeSuite, and how to approach problems using design thinking. Once I got on the job, I was able to apply theory to practice, although I don’t use Sketch currently. 

What is your advice to future bootcampers who are parents on how to balance parenting and the bootcamp?

  • Include your kids. If your kids are old enough to have an understanding, talk to them and let them know what you're trying to accomplish and why you're trying to accomplish it. For example, you can tell them by committing time to this bootcamp, you’ll have better professional opportunities as well as more time to spend with them. 
  • Be intentional about your time management. While you’re in the bootcamp, make sure you're still scheduling time for your family and not just your screen. The workload can be intensive, especially since bootcamps condense a lot of information into a short amount of time. Set hard and fast rules for when you’ll get off of the computer. If you say you’ll take three hours to work on a project, take the three hours and then get off. It’s important to have boundaries around your time. 

Who were your bootcamp instructors? 

Each student is assigned an instructor. My instructor was amazing! We still keep in touch. She is so supportive, personable, and easy to talk to. She gave constructive criticism, which is so important especially when just learning something. She told me why a certain element didn’t look good or wasn’t enough so that I could grow as a designer.

What kinds of projects did you work on in the bootcamp?

We worked with two live clients**. One was for a company that was creating a bra called the Infinity Bra, intended to replace the need for any other bra due to its adjustability. We created a mobile app and a desktop site for them and went through the entirety of the project with user research, competitive analysis, and everything involved in a design sprint.

This project intrigued me because I saw the impact of design on the user experience. We made mood boards and got user input on how the mood boards made them feel. It was interesting to dig into the psychology of design, like how different features like shape and color made people feel.

** Program no longer features live client work. For the current program modules, visit the Product Design course page to learn more.

How did Flatiron School prepare you for the tech job hunt? 

Each graduate from Flatiron School is assigned a career coach and mine was phenomenal! She taught me about the importance of networking, making authentic connections, and how to make it work for me — this was invaluable because I'm an introvert. When I felt nervous about asking for something from someone on LinkedIn, she told me to start by appreciating something about that person. If I didn't feel a genuine connection with this person's work, then I just didn't say anything to them. The people I did connect with were eager to help me connect to others. 

She also went over my resume, portfolio website, and helped me think about my creative resume. No one cares how your resume represents your artistic personality on a regular resume, but they’re looking for that on a creative resume. The guidance I got from my Flation School career coach helped me land my job. 

You participated in a few hackathons after the Product Design bootcamp. What were the benefits of doing hackathons while looking for your first UX job?

One of the benefits was getting comfortable with working in team environments. As an introvert, I knew that if I was going to be serious about this I needed to involve myself in a lot of different socially uncomfortable situations, so I intentionally signed up for hackathons and then as I started to do them, it got easier and I became more accustomed to letting my voice be heard in a group. It encouraged me to speak up, offer feedback, take the lead, and feel comfortable in my skill set. 

I definitely recommend anyone going through a bootcamp get involved in hackathons. You make incredible connections! The people that you are working with are able to see how you work under pressure, having to design an entire app in 24 hours. They’re so intense, but a lot of fun and you learn so much!

Where did you find these hackathons?

After Googling “hackathons,” a website came up that showed a list of hackathons you could sign up for. The very first one I found was on Eventbrite, then I got on Discord and people would talk about them.

Congratulations on your first UX job at Novetta, which is now part of Accenture! How did you land the job? 

Flatiron School’s career services team emailed me to say this company wanted to meet me for an interview, but I hadn’t submitted anything — not a resume, portfolio, or application. Even though I was applying for junior roles, I still kept getting the response that I needed more experience. I went to the interview and I was offered an intern position. I worked as an intern at Novetta for three months before they offered me a full-time position.

Was Novetta interested in your bootcamp experience or project portfolio?

My boss that I interviewed with was more interested in why I wanted to be a designer in the first place. We went over my portfolio and he asked me why I made certain decisions, how I approach problems, and about my thought process. You have to be able to defend your decisions more than just liking the aesthetic of a design. 

What kinds of projects are you working on now? 

Through my job, I work in the government contractor section. I create applications and software for the Department of Defense.

Are you using what you learned from Flatiron School now on the job?

I use certain aspects of the curriculum. Flatiron School was my entry point into this world. I'm grateful for the UX part of the curriculum because it is the foundation of how I approach problems as a designer. I continue to learn on the job, and I’ve learned most about UI from the actual job.

At this point in your tech career, was Flatiron School worth it for you? 

While I have thoughts on the structure of bootcamps, attending Flatiron School was pivotal in my being able to land the job I have now. It was definitely worth it for me.

What are your tips for bootcamp grads on the design job hunt now?

  • Stay persistent. You are going to get a thousand “no’s” before you get one “yes”. It took me eight months to find a job. Long enough for my family to start telling me maybe I should consider something else. But I was determined that this is what I’m going to do and I did it. It’s a grueling application process. It's extremely competitive. Without a dedicated mindset, it’s easy to give up. I wanted to do this so bad that if no one hired me, I was determined to create my own opportunities. Be persistent and have multiple backup plans. 
  • Continue to make authentic connections. With the ADPList, there are experienced designers you can meet with weekly to look over your portfolio and resume and offer recommendations. I think I have enough skills under my belt to support someone in that way. Continue to have mentors throughout your career. 

Find out more and read Flatiron School reviews on Course Report. This article was produced by the Course Report team in partnership with Flatiron School.

About The Author

Jess Feldman

Jess Feldman

Jess Feldman is an accomplished writer and the Content Manager at Course Report, the leading platform for career changers who are exploring coding bootcamps. With a background in writing, teaching, and social media management, Jess plays a pivotal role in helping Course Report readers make informed decisions about their educational journey.

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