Morgan Denner- The missing link between Bootcamps and your first job


Standing out from the thousands of juniors looking to get into UX design, product management, and UX research is the key to moving forward in your career. Morgan Denner shares his advice for improving your odds of getting the job you want for those looking to get into tech. Read the article below and listen to more of Morgan's great advice in the full episode!

🎯 Find your edge and make the connection!

No matter what your previous work experience has been, you have corollary skills that you can apply to a career in product. Making that connection and telling the story to a potential employer will show you have more to offer, even as a junior-level applicant.

🔥 Prove you can adapt to the real world of UX!

In school, you will learn a phased approach to UX, but this will not help you in most real-world scenarios in UX. Get real-world experience through an internship or apprenticeship like Tech Fleet to build real case studies. Use these case studies to prove you can adapt to the non-linear processes you will encounter when you land your first job!

The missing link between Bootcamps and your first job

In this episode of The Product Design Podcast, Seth Coelen interviews Morgan Denner, Chief Experience Officer at Tech Fleet and Lead UX Designer at hopscotch. He has a background in sales, IT, and product development which ultimately led him to UX.

While transitioning into UX, Morgan identified a gap between his education and practical, real-world experience. This gap inspired him to create Tech Fleet, a community-driven re-skilling platform for UX, Product Management, Development, and many other tech roles. He shares what he has learned along his career transition into UX and tips for finding your edge in the industry and finding success in the application process.

Seth Coelen and Morgan Denner on The Product Design Podcast

How Morgan fell in love with the world of product

Morgan started his career at 19 when he joined the sales force and then worked in sales for seven years. When Morgan was 24, he decided to go back to school, where he worked on earning a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Information Technology and a Master’s degree in Interaction Design and Information Architecture while working full time.

As someone who made a career switch into UX, Morgan recognized a gap that needed to be filled for those not in a position to go back to school for traditional education in UX as he did. He created Tech Fleet to help career changers and junior designers gain the experience they need for a successful job search. As the CEO of Tech Fleet and a Mentor, Morgan offers loads of advice on how to figure out your way from Bootcamp to your first job!

How to improve your odds of getting the job you want

As a new or aspiring product designer, it can be challenging when you are applying for tons of jobs and either being ghosted or rejected repeatedly. Jeremy shares two great tips for getting past that frustrating scenario and getting the UX job you want!

💯 Find your edge!

Leverage the corollary skills you have gained from your other work experience. If you are new to product design and are unsure about your previous experience, remember that most work experience can translate into a new role in one way or another.

➡️ Pro Tip!

Being able to tell the story of how your previous experience can play a role as a product designer is key! Consider your skills in sales, research, graphic design, problem-solving, customer support, leadership, etc. How can you apply these skills to a career in product design to give you an edge?

“We're hardwired in school to follow a phased approach to UX. UX is not necessarily a phased approach. You can handle the work in different ways.”

🧩 Fill in your experience gaps.

Bootcamps can be great for learning foundational principles for a career in UX but tend to focus on a linear process that does not reflect real-world scenarios. Employers are looking for real case studies. Fill in the gaps in your experience, produce real case studies and use them to prove your ability to adapt to different scenarios to set yourself apart from the product designers!

➡️ Pro Tip!

If you have been through a Bootcamp, but have no real-world case studies, take the Bootcamp case studies and work with someone to make them reflective of the real world!

How to get the experience you are missing

Morgan is passionate about helping individuals find their way into the tech world with real-world experience through apprenticeships. Once you have been through a Bootcamp and gained a baseline education, you can join this community.

Whether you are interested in UX, product management, QA, business, marketing, or development, Morgan has created the Tech Fleet community to help you fill in your experience gaps. During our chat, Morgan shared what inspired him to create Tech Fleet, what it is, and how to apply for the apprenticeship. Here are some ways that Tech Fleet could help you fill in your real-world experience gaps!

👀 Get a behind-the-scenes look at what product teams do.

If, for some reason, you are not ready to contribute as a team member, you can also be added to watch the work as it happens. You can shadow other apprentices and pick someone else's brain to get more information on potentially joining an apprenticeship down the road. This is a great way to see where you may want to direct your efforts in tech if you have not decided on a specific area of focus yet.

📢Work on projects for real clients!

Get the chance to buddy up with a lead and a bunch of other apprentices to create a product team. Each product team will work together on client projects that have real results. This experience will give you a deeper look into how agile teams need to work to accomplish client projects.

🚨 Come out the other side ready to get that job!

Most of the apprentices land full-time roles with the experience they gained during their apprenticeship. Some apprentices decide they would prefer to go freelance, and others decide they would like to work on more projects or even become a leader in future projects to continue gaining more experience for their portfolios.

“The first thing I had to learn in the world was adaptability. No matter what project is thrown at you, taking the agile process into that project always gets you what you need.”

Thank you so much, Morgan!

We had such a great time chatting with Morgan about how he made the switch from sales to UX and the actions he took to do it. Morgan offered many practical tips and advice on how new and aspiring product designers can move forward along their career paths more efficiently. Thank you so much, Morgan, for all the advice and knowledge you shared!

Listen to the complete episode on The Product Design Podcast, which includes a deeper dive into Morgan’s specific journey into UX and how he wants to help other career changers and aspiring product designers with Tech Fleet. Don't forget to follow Morgan on LinkedIn and Tech Fleet on Twitter!

Where to find Morgan

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