Designing a New Future: Monica Raghavan

Monica

Vijayalalitha (Monica) Raghavan had no American education before enrolling at BCCE. Monica was not stressed about this on her first day. On the contrary, she was intrigued.

“I wanted to know how education is different in America”, Monica said.

It was this kind of curiosity and confidence in herself that lead to her enrollment at BCCE. Hailing from India, Monica received a Bachelor’s of Engineering in Computer Science in 2014 and began a career in Quality Assurance. After working at a leading multi-national IT company, Cognizant Technology Solutions, she moved to Redmond and was working at as a QA for clients like Microsoft before moving to Amazon. While she knew a great deal, it didn’t take long for Monica to realize she had to learn more to keep up with the ever-changing tech industry.

“When I wanted to change jobs, I saw many open jobs required knowledge of automation and coding. While my degree is in Computer Science, I didn’t have much inclination towards coding. I tried to learn it myself, but felt it was going to be a completely new path for my career. I realized this was a chance to start something new and discover other opportunities in the industry. Why not take the chance and find out what I like to do?”

That’s when Monica began her research. After exploring other opportunities in tech, she chose UX Design as the specialty to transition toward. She began taking independent courses online, but the format didn’t suit what Monica was looking for.

“The curriculum wasn’t bad, but I was missing the motivation that I would have in a classroom environment. I thought ‘If I’m serious about this, I should enroll in a college’. I looked at a lot of options in the area and all of them are great. I chose BCCE because, on top of it being close by, I read a number of reviews saying instructors keep students up to date on what’s happening in the industry, which was true. Plus, with all the classes in the program, different instructors provide different perspectives, which provides a broader scope of the field. It really helped to know what to expect when you are being evaluated in job interviews.”

Monica enrolled in the UX Design Certificate Program and never looked back. She went on to complete the program and, before even completing it, began her new career in UX Design at Amazon. With no corporate experience in UX, Monica leaned on her work at BCCE, which made the difference.

“I had to prove I knew what I was talking about. The program really focuses on building your skills more than a portfolio, and that helped me a lot in getting my job. Since I had no corporate experience, hiring managers questioned my knowledge and some recruiters recommended I go back to QA. Then I would show them my portfolio and say ‘These are my skills. I can do this.’ You have to be strong and persistent in going after what you want.”

Monica’s experience at BCCE was the perfect springboard into her new role. She now works in Amazon Worldwide Ops designing tools for leaders to make decisions about associates in Amazon Fulfillment Centers.

“All the classes in program are applicable to what I’m doing. Nobody on my team focuses on just one aspect of UX. Everyone gets a chance to work on everything and everyone is a team player. But when there’s something you’re tasked with, you have to take responsibility. You have to take ownership, and the program prepares you for that too.”

Monica had been on the job for 2 months when she completed her Capstone and received her certificate in March 2019. It was the final chapter in the story that was her time at BCCE. On top of her job, her portfolio and the certificate, Monica now has the insight for anyone who wants a career in UX Design.

“I felt like I accomplished something. The night I finished my Capstone was such a relief. I was happy that I have a job that I love, my certificate is on the way and that I have worked on projects that gave me great learning experiences.’ If you’re interested in UX Design, I recommend to work hard and start your portfolio early. Don’t wait until the Capstone to build it. And go beyond the minimum of completing your assignments. Dive deep into the material and other articles. You may make mistakes, but you’ll make them early and have an easier time getting on track. Each time the more we learn and work on UX, we go a mile towards getting the best experience to the customers. What we need to do is keep learning continuously and seek feedback.”

Monica was curious how American education operates before enrolling at BCCE. This intrigue, paired with her work ethic, has lifted her to a new career and in turn, a new life.

“People tend to think they know what continuing education is. They think ‘you go to a class you meet the instructor three or four times, they grade you, do some assignments, and you’re done.’ It’s not like that. The instructors are very knowledgeable and tend to give you resources more than what they use in the class. When I enrolled here, I never thought of it as continuing education. I thought ‘I’m going to college’”.

 

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Last Updated April 16, 2019