Interview with Adam Senese, Design Associate at Techstars

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Adam Senese is an alum from the Kobi Cohort. A Chicago native, he came to DESIGNATION to transition from a career in sales to product design.

 

Where are you now working, and what is your job title?
I am working at Techstars, a startup accelerator, as their Design Associate.

Tell us a little bit about your new job!
I am working on quite a few projects with the ten startups in the accelerator. I have been really using my full-stack design skills to the fullest. Most of the work I do focuses on product design and defining user experiences, as well as some branding and front-end development for the smaller teams.

How would you describe the DESIGNATION experience?
DESIGNATION was a great starting point for my career. Having the program behind me really helps with making confident design decisions. It’s really cool to see the benefits continue after the program. With a great network of friends to call on for questions, going into freelance or getting your first design job doesn’t feel as intimidating.

What was the most interesting or useful thing you learned during the cohort?
What it really means to be a designer. Having full control of a product is rarely the case, so being able to work with different teams and to be the moderator of ideas is important. No one knows everything, and tapping into others’ ideas has been one key to getting great results. The other half of that is to iterate often and to not be afraid to explore.

“The program is tough and is often taking you to limits, so having a good team to keep you going was important. Everyone was very knowledgeable and was able to provide good advice when needed.”

What are the people at DESIGNATION like (including staff, instructor and fellow students)?
The staff is great. The program is tough and is often taking you to limits, so having a good team to keep you going was important. Everyone was very knowledgeable and was able to provide good advice when needed.

What were you doing before you came to DESIGNATION?
I was in AdTech sales for a company in Chicago called Signal.

How did you hear about DESIGNATION, and why did you decide to come?
I wanted to get into product design/user experience design and was pleased to find DESIGNATION in my home city of Chicago.

How did DESIGNATION help prepare you for your new role?
It helped in a lot of ways. One big one is building my portfolio. PORTFOLIOS ARE IMPORTANT!

What was your favorite part of the DESIGNATION experience?
Meeting all the great people in my cohort and the surrounding cohorts was awesome. Seeing where everyone came from and is going is really cool.

What advice would you give to someone who was trying to break into the industry?
It’s never too early to start your portfolio. Outline your case studies, and be ready to talk about them in detail. Deep dives are common, and having the right perspective when talking about the work will be the deciding factor in getting the job you want.

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