Student Spotlight

Switching career paths: From front-end developer to UX/UI Design

Alyssa Durante
Alyssa Durante
Product Designer

User research is one of the most valuable streams of information that designers can use to strategize and build a good product. This is something that Alyssa Durante has recognized early on while working as a front-end developer in a startup. 

Alyssa took it upon herself to pursue a career in UX/UI design after realizing how design can impact the way a user experiences a product. Upon taking the Practical User Research & Strategy Masterclass Course, Alyssa gained a better understanding of her users’ perspective and the confidence to craft meaningful designs for them.

This Success Story shows how thorough research and data processing can shape the way you create designs for the better. Learn about Alyssa’s journey to become a UX/UI Designer and what led to her success at landing a job at

Behind the designer

Every designer is different in preferences and thought processes. This is why we make it a point to ask some fun questions to get to know them a little better.

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💁🏻This or That

  • Light Mode or Dark Mode? Light Mode.
  • Naming layers or Unnamed layers? Named layers.
  • Mac or PC? Mac.
  • Landing your dream job or Winning the lottery? Landing my dream job.
  • Music or Podcast? Music.
  • Outer space or Deep sea? Deep sea.
  • Morning Person or Night Owl? Night owl.

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🤔 What’s one thing you can’t live without as a designer?

Alyssa: User interviews!

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💻 What does your designer toolkit look like?


  • Standing desk
  • Treadmill under the desk
  • Macbook

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🎧 What is your go-to music playlist to get jamming?

📱What motivated you to become a UX/UI designer?

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Alyssa: I originally began my career as a front-end developer at a startup and I was working closely with the UX designer to code up the screens he was designing. Due to the small size of our team, I was tasked with filling in some of the blanks in the design that the UX designer didn’t have time to get to. My designs were always well-received and I realized I really enjoyed watching our users interact with the parts of the design I came up with. From there, I decided to take a leap of faith and left that job to pursue freelancing in UI/UX/Web design. To this day, it is still one of the best decisions I have ever made. From interacting and communicating with people and working in several different types of industries to the psychology of user behavior, I absolutely love everything about Product Design. There is not a day that goes by where there isn’t a new challenge to tackle.

⛔ What problems were you encountering in your career?

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Alyssa: Since I mainly work on large contract jobs (as a freelancer), it is my responsibility to lead the entire design process, from research to dev hand-off. I found I was really struggling with the “Research” part of the process as it’s very rare for stakeholders to want to invest time and energy into user research. In nearly all of my past projects, they would rather hit the ground running with wireframes. Of course, that poses a significant challenge as it’s essentially “designing blind”. I needed an efficient, streamlined process to present to stakeholders so they would get on board with investing in user research and strategy.

💼 How did you decide to pursue a course in UX/UI design?

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Alyssa: I've been following Mizko for years on Instagram and YouTube, and all of his content has helped pave the way for me to get to where I am today. I joined the Designership at the beginning of its launch and have loved the community and resources it offers. I knew that Mizko was a super successful designer so I trusted that his expertise in the Practical User Research & Strategy Masterclass Course would help me excel as a designer.

✨ What motivated you to enroll in Designership's User Research & Strategy Masterclass Course?

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Alyssa: It was definitely perfect timing that this course came out just as I was about to land another big client whose project would involve substantial research. Seeing as this was my weakest point as a designer, I knew enrolling in this course could help me build confidence in conducting the research portion.

💭 What were your expectations with the course? Were they met?

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Alyssa: My foremost expectation was to get a simplified overview of what exactly should occur in the research process. This was most certainly met! My expectations were exceeded by ten-fold. I learned the ins-and-outs of all the steps during the Research & Strategy phase, as well as examples and recommendations for each step. I now have a streamlined process to follow and lean on when I'm conducting research in my own projects.

💡 How did the Practical User Research & Strategy Masterclass Course help you solve the problems you were facing prior to enrolling in the course?

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Alyssa: Before the Masterclass, I was a bit scattered and unorganized with user research and kind of just throwing things together that I thought made sense. Now, I have a proven, successful process that helps take me from point A to point B seamlessly, and accounts for mishaps along the way.

🚩What aspect of the Figma course do you think created the most impact on you toward your career or personal growth?

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Alyssa: I'm 100% more confident when talking to stakeholders about User Research & Strategy and the importance of why it needs to be included in the process. I also have gained such a beautiful new understanding of my users that greatly influences my designs. All of the "guesswork" that I was doing is now real, meaningful work that has stats and research behind it.

🌟 What is your ultimate goal as a Product (UX/UI) designer?

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Alyssa: To bring on super high-value clients such as Air Bnb, Google, Microsoft, Amazon

What would be one piece of advice that you would pass on to a designer that’s reading this interview?

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Alyssa: Never stop learning! For me, I got comfortable in my processes and ways, but it came to a point where my designs grew stagnant and repetitive. Now, I do my very best to devote an hour or two a day to learning something new in the field, a new tool, or just browsing designs on Dribbble/Behance.

Alyssa’s flight to her <span class="purple-text-clipped">North Star</span>

There’s no limit to how much you can achieve. Alyssa’s curiosity and determination to keep learning has enabled her to take flight and reach for her North Star. 

With a <span class="portfolio-link">Portfolio </span>boasting an impressive variety of clients such as Johnson & Johnson, WebMD, and AnswerRocket, Alyssa stands as an inspiration to anyone seeking to make that career switch. Every testimonial on her work speaks volumes on how much value she brings to the table because of her creativity and insightfulness. 

When it comes to pursuing UX/UI design, what matters is your commitment in continuously finding creative ways to solve user problems. Whether you’ve been in the industry long enough or are just getting started, it’s always a great idea to invest your time in learning about your audience.

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