Alumni Story: How an Educator Leveraged User Experience Design to Teach Tech

Student Daniel Staton

Former public school teacher Daniel Staton saw a huge need in the classroom. After four years of observing his students and fellow teachers struggle to use various technologies, he had plenty of innovative ideas for how to help them overcome their challenges. However, his technical prowess needed a boost to create the kind of tech solutions he had in mind.

Staton struggled to find a college program that could provide the depth of knowledge he sought with a quick turnaround. Fortunately, he discovered the full-time User Experience Design Immersive (UXDI) at General Assembly Boston. In ten weeks, Staton learned how to sketch and prototype, create high-fidelity visual designs, perform usability testing, and much more — all within a time frame that let him start his new career as soon as possible.

“After I joined [GA], I learned how fast, fun, and challenging the agile design process is,” says Staton. The hands-on practice with both users and designers gave Staton the metrics to create user-friendly, intuitive designs. Plus, his expert instructor continually inspired and challenged the class to push their boundaries and do their best. “My instructor had such valuable insight from working in the industry, using real-life examples to answer every one of our questions — we couldn’t stump her.”

With new, in-demand skills and guidance from his GA career coach — both during and after the program — Staton reached a pivotal goal: He landed a full-time job in tech. As the sole UX designer for TeachersConnect, an app that provides tools, resources, and collaboration for teachers, he’s doing the transformative work he always hoped to bring to his community. “I’ve been lucky to hear from teachers who have used our app to improve their lessons and classrooms,” he says. “It’s an incredible feeling knowing that I was able to create something that teachers around the world can use as a resource.”

Staton says UXDI’s curriculum, which focuses largely on real world work scenarios, educated him in far more than technical design skills: “We work through one-week design sprints in research to visual design just like I did at GA. The several in-class assignments and real-client projects really allowed me to practice my skills and prepared me for what I do every day at TeachersConnect,” he says.

Of all the advantages the program has provided, it’s the GA community that Staton comes back to the most. “Everyone is always willing to lend a helping hand — or do a quick user test,” he says. “My classmates are now my colleagues and good friends, and are all happy at their new UX jobs as well. GA was one of the smartest choices I made.”

Ready to take your leap? Join Staton and thousands of alumni across the world in the journey to a more fulfilling career. Whether you’ve got your eye on a new role, want to complement your current skills with UX design expertise, or are simply looking to try something new, there’s an option for you.