From biomedical engineering to UX Design: Zaburi Frolian’s journey into the creative industry

Baraka Mafole


What sparked your interest in UX design

I’ve been in the creative industry for some time, like four years, but I used to do graphic design back then. In 2020/2021, I developed an interest in tech fields like software engineering, tech ecosystems, and the startup industry, but I wasn’t sure where exactly I would fit, so I was just trying different things. I even tried enrolling myself in data analysis courses at ALX and Udacity.

One day a social media friend, Abil, shared a project he did on Figma. I thought the screens looked super cool.

After completing my ALX data analysis course. I was looking for internships and came across a community run by a certain Jessica Davis on Twitter. She said she would like to help people starting in tech. I reached out to her about my interests.  “I’m looking for a gig,” I said. “Money isn’t my priority for now; I just want to get experience.”

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Luckily, a CEO from Atlanta, Georgia, contacted me and offered me an internship. It was a six-month contract during which I would join a product design team based in Las Vegas. From there, everything changed because I wanted to upskill and work with an experienced team of professionals.

Where did you learn UX design?

While at university, I was pursuing a degree in biomedical engineering. However, I dropped out after my third year as I realized that my true passion lay in the software tech industry. Despite never having studied UX design before, I decided to explore this field while looking for job opportunities. It was during this search that I shared some of my screen designs with others and realized that many people were interested in what I was doing. This piqued my interest further and I decided to enroll in the Google UX Design Professional Certificate course, a well-known course in the UX and product design field.

From biomedical engineering to UX design

I had some experience with computer-related tasks, including knowledge of programming languages such as C+ and Python and dedicated programs like MATLAB, from my biomedical engineering major. Therefore, transitioning from biomedical engineering to UX design was not too difficult.

Challenges so far

My number one challenge is time zone differences; I work with a client in the United States. When they wake up, it’s around 6 p.m. in my time zone and up to 8 p.m. during daylight savings. Sometimes, I work from morning to evening, and when I want to rest, I remember that I still have work. I’m overcoming that by having creative blocks. For the days that I have creative blocks and don’t feel like working, I communicate early and tell my team that I won’t do so and so today and will only be available for emergencies. Then I take some personal time off to go outside and touch grass.

Receiving payment is also a challenge for me. The first challenge with payment is getting the client’s trust, and the second is finding a platform to help me receive payment. I tried several apps and services in the past. In one instance, I woke up one morning to find my account blocked for no reason. These guys are notorious for doing this to Africans, and I think it’s a major problem of using digital products that aren’t built to serve Africans by Africans.

I also remember when I was used to receiving money through Western Union. Western Union is challenging because it’s always a hassle going to their office to withdraw my money. I would love to receive my money through my phone and then top it up with my Mobile Money.

There was a time when I worked with a client from South Africa. When it was time to pay me, he sent the money through my Tanzanian bank account. I remember the total fee was 20%. Even the client was amazed because he had sent some extra money to cover the fees, but the bank took a further 10% from me when the money arrived. From there, I was like, I will never use the banks.

What’s your experience with using Grey

I’ve been using Grey for almost a year now. When I found Grey, I remembered I had one of the clients who was more of a full-time employee sending money through my Grey virtual account.

After receiving my first payment, I remember Grey asking me for documents like a work agreement or a contract. I submitted them, and they quickly approved. Payments and withdrawals have been seamless since then.

One thing I love about Grey is that I can instantly send funds via Mobile Money. That is great because I don’t want to send my money to the bank. After all, here in Tanzania, Mobile Money is more accessible than banks. The “transfer to Mobile Money” feature is my favorite Grey feature.

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