From Yoga to UX: How this UI Specialist Made a Big Career Change
Ty Behl has a fairly unique background. His first job out of college was as a UI designer for a fitness company called DDPYoga, founded by none other than WWE professional wrestler Diamond Dallas Page.
“They were transitioning from selling DVDs to developing their own personal app to house all of their workouts, inspirational content, cooking shows, and other media,” said Ty. “We designed the app within six months and launched that Christmas, and it was pretty successful.”
From there, Ty was promoted to managing the app while continuing to work as a UI designer. He helped with visual effects and everything else related to the app’s visual design.
But around that same time, his interests were beginning to diverge. “I really fell in love more with the UX side of things, and seven years is a long time, especially in the world of software development,” explained Ty. “Plus, I wanted to make sure that I was using best UI practices, because I was sure I had picked up some bad habits along the way.”
Making a change to grow professionally
Around that time, Ty heard about Georgia Tech UX/UI Boot Camp. Right then and there, he decided to enroll, take the next step in his career, and pursue a future in UX design.
Luckily, Ty was able to get the jump on his UX boot camp curriculum thanks to his past experience as a UI designer. “Technically, my title in my previous job was as a UI designer, but I did a lot of UX work,” explained Ty. “I think my experience there really set me up for success in the boot camp, because I had a lot of skills that applied in the UX field.”
Determined to succeed, Ty dedicated his Tuesday nights, Thursday nights, Saturday mornings, and Saturday afternoons to boot camp classes — then put in an hour or two of work after every session, and 2-3 hours on Monday and Wednesday to ensure he hit project deadlines.
The boot camp didn’t put the rest of Ty’s life on pause, though. “Every day, I would wake up, take care of the dogs, work my full-time job from 10 AM to 6 PM, get a quick walk in, and then sit back at my desk for class,” said Ty. “But for Sundays, I was like, ‘Okay, I need to breathe.’”
Keeping pace to ensure success
While Ty certainly had a packed schedule during that six-month period, the boot camp curriculum kept him engaged every day. He recalls one particularly interesting group project where he was tasked with redesigning a website for a nonprofit called the Inventors Council of Central Florida.
“We ended up coming up with this light bulb metaphor,” recalled Ty. “I have a little bit of 3D modeling experience, so I modeled a light bulb which is on their invention process page. As you scroll down the page, the bulb spins around, flickers, and then turns on. Upon project completion, we received fantastic feedback, and the nonprofit approved and began implementing our work.”
By working on projects like this, Ty was able to develop and refine his critical thinking and public speaking skills. “I really gained a new degree of confidence in what I do professionally,” he shared.
Gearing up to land a job
In the job market, having relevant knowledge and skills is only half the battle. Being able to market oneself can be just as important — and the career services offered by the boot camp helped Ty shine bright.
“I signed up for the boot camp about a month before it started, and ended up attending all of the prep classes to get ready for it,” said Ty. “Then, I worked closely with my career advisor to improve my resume, cover letters, and LinkedIn account. Having that level of access to improve my marketability is really how I got my current job.”
Ty was still completing the boot camp when multiple recruiters began sharing potential job opportunities. One recruiter in particular reached out about a position Ty ultimately turned down. But this established a relationship, and that same recruiter later notified Ty about a role as a UX designer at SmartPM Technologies. After a call with the company’s CTO and a Zoom meeting, Ty got the job.
Starting up at StartPM
It didn’t take long for Ty to apply his new skills on the job. “We had a meeting with several of StartPM’s largest stakeholders early into my time with the company,” shared Ty. “I had only been there for about a month, but they threw me into the fire and said, ‘Hey, you’re going to present your part.’ The public speaking skills I had developed from presenting boot camp projects really helped me out.”
As a startup, SmartPM offers software that performs forensic analysis for clients’ commercial construction projects — informing them whether or not their work is progressing on time and within budget, then helping teams develop better schedules to avoid compression and delays. In his new role, Ty develops the software’s UX.
“I’ve really fallen in love with this role and the company. Down the line, I would definitely love to advance here to become a product designer or higher level UX manager,” said Ty.
To anyone thinking about joining a UX/UI boot camp, Ty’s advice is simple — just do it. “As a UI designer before, the boot camp was a perfect fit,” he said. “I learned so much and discovered the UX practices I was missing. I would highly recommend the boot camp to just about anyone.”
Are you a UI designer eager to transition to UX, or simply looking to learn a new tech skill? Explore Georgia Tech Boot Camps in coding, data analytics, cybersecurity, UX/UI, digital marketing, and product management.