Because companies are increasingly focusing on user experience design (UXD), this career path has opened doors for innovators like Marylin Balsano.

Marylin Balsano holds a degree in marketing, but she still wanted to take on more creative responsibilities in the workplace. That’s why she started taking continuing education courses in the evenings at George Brown College — to further her career.

After discovering the certificate in User Experience Design, she developed a passion for this emerging career path and changed careers. Now she works in Toronto as a specialist in the field.

“As a user experience and user interface designer,” says Balsano, “I am responsible for designing the experience and interface for web, software, and mobile products.”

Through the five-course continuing education certificate, Balsano learned advanced concepts of UX strategy and research, which allow her to map and design user journeys for websites and apps.

“More and more companies are seeing the value of user experience design and investing in this area. As a result, good user experience design is becoming a customer expectation,” she says.

User experience design attracts people from many backgrounds, but for Balsano it was a chance to combine her interests and experience in graphic design, marketing, and web design.

Hands-on, real-world experience

Balsano says her favourite course in the certificate was Usability Testing.

“We not only learned the theory behind usability testing,” she says. “But we also got to conduct a testing session with real users.”

Balsano says the certificate set her up for success in her career through hands-on team projects, and instructors who work in the industry.

“Because the instructors are working in the field, they would typically begin class going over the course material while providing examples of their own experiences,” she says. Sometimes they’d inform her of something they’d experienced that very same day.

Her experiences networking with instructors and fellow students forged valuable connections. Balsano says one of her most valuable freelance clients was made through a connection with a classmate, and that she discovered career opportunities she might not have otherwise through people she met at George Brown College.