Where are you now working, and what is your job title?
I’m a UX Designer at Free Range, a design and innovation studio on Oakland, CA.
Tell us a little bit about your new job!
I’m having a blast. Free Range is an ambitious organization with a special interest in designing for organizations who want to change the world for the better. The studio/agency environment is great because you get to work on many different projects with many different people. We’re working on a broad spectrum of design projects from creating a new children’s book to a new platform to connect change-makers around the world. I’m focused on both contributing to and elevating the user-centered design practice. It’s fun.
How would you describe the DESIGNATION experience?
DESIGNATION created a learning environment unlike any other I’ve experienced in past academic or professional settings. The goals, progress, and outcomes were tangible. I understood the purpose and meaning behind the content and assignments. There were many opportunities to learn, then immediately apply that knowledge to an assignment or client project.
What was the most interesting or useful thing you learned during the cohort?
Creativity, in most design contexts, is rooted in knowledge, understanding, and insight. It’s not a select trait that a gifted few can pull from the ether and parlay into something pretty.
What are the people at DESIGNATION like (including staff, instructor and fellow students)?
I was lucky to be part of a great cohort. We meshed well with each other, the staff, the instructors, and other cohorts. Everyone, including the staff, wanted to get better. Everyone wanted to help everyone else. This created a great atmosphere.
What were you doing before you came to DESIGNATION?
I was part of the Customer Success team at an enterprise technology company, Box.
How did you hear about DESIGNATION, and why did you decide to come?
There are a number of events and thoughts that led to my decision to enroll in DESIGNATION. The short story is: I wanted to learn as many new skills as possible in as short of a time as possible. I wanted to meet and work alongside new people with backgrounds different from my own. I also wanted to experience a new city.
How did DESIGNATION help prepare you for your new role?
Mostly, DESIGNATION further imbued me with a “can-do” attitude. If you don’t know how to do something, you can figure it out. This is an important mindset to have in any design role.
“DESIGNATION imbued me with a “can-do” attitude. If you don’t know how to do something, you can figure it out. This is an important mindset to have in any design role.”
What was your favorite part of the DESIGNATION experience?
I enjoyed the camaraderie, the emphasis on learning, and the challenge.
What advice would you give to someone who was trying to break into the industry?
Most people are capable of learning the skills necessary to break into a new industry. I think convincing gatekeepers that you are ready and able to contribute to a new industry is the biggest challenge. Keep that in mind. Carry confidence and a positive attitude with you wherever you go. Tend towards people who are willing to share their knowledge, help you, and push you. Be ready to reciprocate or pay it forward. And be wary of advice from chumps like me.