Student Profile: The future is digital | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Student Profile: The future is digital

16 Apr 2020

As technology reshapes the world right before our eyes, we explore how the next generation of workers will tackle a changing future. Meet USC student Emily Wadham who is currently studying to become a User Experience researcher. She hopes to one day be able to create products that provide meaningful and relevant experiences to their users. According to Seek, the projected job growth in this industry is expected to rise by 13.6%.

USC Parent Lounge recently spoke with Emily about her decision making process to study Design, the university experience and what her plans are for the future.

What are you studying at USC? I am currently studying a Bachelor of Design majoring in User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) design.

What is UX and UI design? For anyone who hasn’t heard of UX design before, it’s research guided, human-centred design. We can now guide our product development to satisfy the needs of the user and optimise the “user experience” and “user interaction” to build better and smarter products without wasting resources and dissatisfying our client base, with whom we should be building trust from the first interaction.

Why did you decide to study this? I chose this degree because of my passion for design. All my life I have been doing photography, painting or computer-based design, and realised I can make this my career. Throughout my university journey I have worked in customer service, and I realised I have an innate ability to understand users and customers. This degree is a great little combo of the two skills I have developed over my USC journey.

What has been your favourite thing about your degree so far? At the moment, I am learning to build websites from scratch, something that will launch me into the field.

What are you looking forward to in your degree? I am really looking forward to my internship, where I’ll see firsthand what it takes to become a designer and use the skills I have learnt at USC. I’ve also been invited to The Design Conference in Brisbane later in the year to learn more about the professional design industry, as part of USC’s strong relationship with the organisation team.

Where do you hope your degree will take you? One day I aim to be a UX researcher, providing insights to developer and designer teams, and coordinating research about users to build smarter products. This job can take me all over the world, and I’ll be designing my own products and artwork in my spare time.

What resources did you use to help you decide to study your degree at USC? I’ve been a USC student since 2013, and originally I was studying a very different degree in Public Relations, with the intention to become a diplomat in Japan. I chose USC because of my connection to my core values such as social diversity and the environment. As a bonus it was right around the corner from my family home, so the study costs associated became a lot less scary. When I was concerned that I hadn’t made the right decision and realised I can make a career out of my design passions I reached out to family and friends. I also spoke with Student Central, asking about career pathways and even looked at Seek careers to see what hit a chord. From there I would back track and guide my study pathways based on my intended outcome. When UX was offered at USC I jumped at the chance to enrol in this new program.

What does an ‘average’ day at university look like? Right now, Zoom is my best friend. With strict social distancing measures in place because of coronavirus, my average day at university looks a little bit different than usual. Instead of coming into uni, I’ve been emailing and using zoom to speak to my tutors. I get to spend quality time at home doing some exercise and catching up on my design work while I chip away at assessments from my desk.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about studying at USC? I would say BE YOURSELF. If you’re having a hard time, reach out. If you know the answer in a tutorial, speak up! Don’t be afraid to start dialogue because you’ll start to realise that the best part of university is what you can take away at the end. Maybe it’s a better understanding of who you are, not just what you learnt in the lectures. You’ll create networks of people who will help you in ways you would never have expected by expressing yourself :)

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