This is not a how-to guide
One of the things that no one prepares you for when transitioning in a career, or shall I say when you pivot, is that there isn’t any one, two or three ways of doing it. There’s no playbook, no step-by-step and that’s exactly what my post entails. A mere reflection of experiences and motions from the 6 months of my apprenticeship that I hope can bring you comfort in embracing the unknown.

Growing pains

While I come from a rojak or mixed career background centered in Graphic Design and have anticipated that UI/UX isn’t exactly the same thing, I did not prepare for the knots and curves in the process. If for a moment you think “Then be prepared next time,” well, let’s just say you never know what it is until it hits you. There’s only so much you can prepare for a certain amount of control. Old ways don’t work with new ways, and what happens then? You try something different. A new approach at tackling your thoughts or a new set of tools to design an outcome. To unlearn is like shedding years of skin and it comes with challenges that mimic pain but in a good way. This signifies growth and to be able to still experience growth, that should be celebrated.

Shifting & moving

Remember the bit about old ways not working with new ways? Well that depends on old ways that simply don’t work anymore vs old ways that are still applicable. The moment I realised that I had exactly zero experience in this new industry, I could have just sunk in the deep end but I chose to approach it from a different perspective. I began to wonder, what existing processes that I know of can still be applied here? What new skills have I not yet possessed and should be working on? Once I had the answers, I moved onwards. So let’s not sink until we acknowledge that our muscles remember how to swim.

One example of this being applied, I would say happened in my first few months. My experience isn’t exactly conventional. I had most of my hours dedicated to planning and learning things on my own. Some call it freedom, I call it responsibility for my own growth and that could have either dragged me down or kept me afloat. I did not have much involvement in projects early on and then came the Designer Maker Programme (DMP). Equipped with my previous ideation process, I mind-mapped and sketched. Armed with newfound UI and UX design knowledge, I turned sketches into wireframes, applied UI design principles, set a goal for the outcome and considered the user’s experience.

So what does it mean to be a work in progress?

If you’re highly critical of yourself and battle with inner thoughts of doubt, I feel you. Everyone faces challenges and tackles them differently while for me, it’s acknowledging that I’m still learning and it’s OKAY. Accepting that I’m a work in progress has helped me regulate throughout the apprenticeship. It’s a byproduct of the mentorship and guidance, an outcome of embracing failure and having the courage to experience it. Although I’m not immune to the critical moments of failure, now I have a way to regulate the state as it appears and that’s something I can always carry with me, no matter the stage of growth I am in.

Learnings & aspirations

There’s more than hard skills. You’re continually developing a new interest within the field, an exciting new tool or method, sharing and collaborating. It’s overall the foundation for one’s growth in design. Have your Dunning-Kreuger moments and fall into the valley of despair but work on getting out of it to reach the next peak. There are a lot of resources but if there’s something I can offer, it’s a book called “Just Enough Research” by Erika Hall, introduced to me by one of my mentors. It’s a great starter for me as someone who’s completely new to User Research and I often fall back into it from time to time. While it isn’t really a manual, I do flip the pages when I need clarity about research methods especially when it comes to either lesson exercises or projects like the case study.

The apprenticeship journey is not one size fits all and not every apprentice goes through the same outline. That’s where you come in and shape it. Have side quests to achieve like learning a new facet of design or thinking method, have boss fights like the DMP and case study where you blunder and tackle end to end. It is a malleable experience so go on and truly make it your own.

All in all, I’m excited about what the future holds for me. I’d like to focus on strengthening my core while exploring other avenues and will remember this apprenticeship as one of the pivotal moments in my career. Thank you Stampede for the experience and I hope to continue being a design explorer and learner wherever my path may be. If you’d like to know more about my journey or have any questions, do reach out to me on LinkedIn. I’m happy to have a chat.

Here’s to the unknown! 👏

Disclaimer: All the beautiful illustrations featured in this content are sourced from