Where are you working currently, and what do you do there?
I currently work at Avanade, a joint venture between Accenture and Microsoft as a Product Designer. My role is to ensure that user experience design is strategized, valued, and executed across world-class clients and industries.
Can you tell us a bit about your education and career background?
I studied marketing and consumer behavior for my undergrad and upon graduating, I joined a new grad program at PepsiCo. I started my career in sales and moved into marketing shortly after. At the time I was doing a lot of work that required strategic thinking, collaboration and brand research, which I very much enjoyed.
What intrigued me about the user experience world was that it bridged together some of the aspects that I loved most about sales and marketing. On top of that, as a Product Designer you have to be visionary, thinking towards the future of emergent technology and new ways to create impact and value. The opportunities to grow and test myself in an up and coming field led me to join BrainStation’s 12 week bootcamp.
BrainStation is well connected to some of the most innovative companies and is dedicated to helping its students land great jobs.
Why did you choose to study at BrainStation?
I chose to study at BrainStation because of its outstanding reviews and success stories of its alumni community. The UX bootcamp is well designed to equip students with the latest industry knowledge, a portfolio built around real-world projects and career support to take that step into professional roles. The Instructors and opportunities to network did not disappoint! BrainStation is well connected to some of the most innovative companies and is dedicated to helping its students land great jobs.
What was the highlight of your learning experience?
It’s hard to choose just one! I very much enjoyed the week-long design sprint in collaboration with IBM. It was an opportunity to solve a real-world problem in a very short amount of time while being challenged to think deeply about important issues. Another highlight of mine was going from never touching design software prior to BrainStation to delivering a polished and competitive portfolio by the end of the 12 weeks. The bootcamp was challenging but nonetheless, I learned a ton of valuable skills and had a lot of fun.
What impact did your final project have in your professional development?
For my final project, I designed an app to help people build healthier relationships with alcohol. To this day, the things I learned while working on this project still stick: always focus on the user and their journey, feedback will be your best friend and be curious and thoughtful with the questions you ask, you never know what insights you might uncover. At Demo Day just after the program finished, I got to demo my project to hiring partners in the community and thanks to the connections I made that day, I landed my first role as a Product Designer. Even if Demo Day doesn’t lead to any specific job offers, it’s a great experience to practice talking about your design process and share with industry professionals the types of problems you’ve solved.
What would you say were the most valuable skills you learned?
The course taught me all the must-have technical skills to become a Product Designer including user research and strategy, wireframing, prototyping, and user interface design. Over the course, I also mastered essential design tools such as Figma, Sketch and InVision. What I loved most about the teaching method at BrainStation was that the online classes were engaging and we were given plenty of opportunities to practice important soft skills such as collaboration, delivering presentations, giving and receiving feedback, and facilitating strategy sessions.
What was your job search experience like after the bootcamp?
My job search had its ups and downs but I was lucky enough to get interviews right away and land my first design job less than 3 months after graduation. My best advice for those looking to land their next role is to be authentic in your interviews, tell a good story, and show the types of problems you’ve solved. Talking about your design process is important, but make sure you don’t forget to show the details of how your decisions impacted the final design. If you can reflect on the things that didn’t go as planned or would like to improve on in the future, that shows forward thinking, which is a great skill to have as a designer.
What advice would you give to professionals considering a BrainStation course or program?
If you’re considering a career change, it can be a scary thing but if it’s something that excites and interests you, you can definitely do it! The program is pretty intensive, but I promise you’ll be amazed by just how much you’ll learn and do. Trust the process and enjoy the ups and downs of it all.
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