Where are you now working, and what is your job title?
Currently, I am a UX Designer at Caxy Code Creative in downtown Chicago.
Tell us a little bit about your new job!
Caxy is a small but powerful company, creating custom web development products. I work on a diverse agile team of developers, designers, and project managers. As a UX designer, I have my hands in various parts of the design process; such as conducting discovery research, determining a product’s information architecture, and iterating on wireframes!
How would you describe the DESIGNATION experience?
The DESIGNATION experience is a unique experience, to say the least. It’s a time where you can buckle-down and focus on cultivating a career in this competitive industry. The bootcamp exposes you to so many important parts of the industry which can inspire you in so many ways. DESIGNATION is an opportunity to push yourself beyond what you think you’re capable of in order to purse an awesome design career.
What was the most interesting or useful thing you learned during the cohort?
The most interesting: Learning about exploratory and ethnographic research. I love that stuff. I am a people-watcher, so learning about scientific ways to investigate how people do things fascinates me.
The most useful: Understanding the importance of the minimal viable product (MVP). Too often do people get sidetracked and want to build every idea that is on the table. Learning about how to determine a product’s MVP has been so useful in my job today.
“Being a part of the design community and focusing solely on design was my favorite part of the experience. You have a chance to make your career the priority, and you meet some pretty awesome people along the way.”
What are the people at DESIGNATION like (including staff, instructor and fellow students)?
Determined. The DESIGNATION staff and instructors are determined to help you learn the most during your time at the program and my fellow students were determined to capitalize on the 18-weeks we had.
What were you doing before you came to DESIGNATION?
Before DESIGNATION, I had just finished my undergrad degree in Graphic Design.
How did you hear about DESIGNATION, and why did you decide to come?
During college, I learned and practiced visual design, digital illustration, web design and more, but I never had the opportunity to apply my design skills to creating meaningful, user-centered products. Instead, we were encourage to explore our personal artistic style and our assignments were individualized. However, one of my college professors knew I was interested in research and human psychology and told me about DESIGNATION. He encouraged me to check it out and I’m glad I did.
How did DESIGNATION help prepare you for your new role?
DESIGNATION prepped me in a variety of ways. While at the bootcamp, I had the opportunity to cultivate a portfolio with the various assignments, projects, and client work we worked on throughout the in-person, 12-week phase. This made the interview process with potential employers smoother. Also, during the bootcamp we presented our work to classmates, instructors, designers in the community, and even clients. Having that practice prepared me for the product demos we do with our clients at Caxy.
Beyond that, DESIGNATION provided exposure to various methods, resources, and communities in the world of design.These outlets prepared me for what to expect in my new role and the DESIGNATION staff does a great job of keeping content and resources up-to-date. I navigate to my Trello board often while at work and I’m always finding awesome resources that peers post on the DESIGNATION Slack channel.
What was your favorite part of the DESIGNATION experience?
I’d say being a part of the design community and focusing solely on design was my favorite part of the experience. During college, I was studying graphic design, participating on the track and field team, and taking general education courses like Biology (interesting, but not the most applicable course for me). During the 18-weeks at DESIGNATION you have a chance to make your career the priority, and you meet some pretty awesome people along the way.
What advice would you give to someone who was trying to break into the industry?
Always seek out knowledge and be proactive about your career goals. In the ever-changing world of tech, learning never stops.