Where are you now working, and what is your job title?
I’m working at a company called BlueMetal as an Associate UX Designer. BlueMetal is an interactive design and technology architecture consulting firm.
Tell us a little bit about your new job!
BlueMetal happened to be a perfect match for me given my consulting background and UX skills. I’m part of the Strategy and Design team here and so far I’ve been focused on creating wireframes for some of our client’s internal sites. It’s been really rewarding seeing client’s positive reactions to their redesigned sites.
How would you describe the DESIGNATION experience?
In a word? Amazing! I would have stayed longer if it was allowed. The aspect that impressed me most about the program as a whole was the constant improvement and willingness to change and try new things with each new cohort – the team behind DESIGNATION was always looking at how they could make the experience better for students.
What was the most interesting or useful thing you learned during the cohort?
In general, my own willingness to be flexible and to fail. Specifically, all the little things I learned to change about a page that add up to create a much more meaningful user experience.
“Although I didn’t go through a formal HCI program, I truly feel that I got an equivalent or better education through DESIGNATION. Academic institutions can only be so agile in response to change and they often operate in a silo from the industry they are educating for.”
What are the people at DESIGNATION like (including staff, instructor and fellow students)?
Instructors / staff are great – always willing to help and extremely knowledgable. They bring both an industry and academic experience and perspective. Plus, they’re constantly iterating and improving the program. My fellow students were equally passionate about learning and soaking up everything they could – they inspired me to push myself even further.
What were you doing before you came to DESIGNATION?
Feeling frustrated and stuck in a job I knew wasn’t what I wanted to do long term. I spent about 4 years at Accenture as a management / technology consultant focused in health care, working with health insurers. While I learned a lot, my immediate future as a ‘jack-of-all-trades’ consultant who wears a bajillion hats wasn’t appealing.
How did you hear about DESIGNATION, and why did you decide to come?
I was actually enrolled and about to start in DePaul’s HCI (Human Computer Interaction) program when one of the DESIGNATION co-founders reached out to me on LinkedIn. We met for coffee, he told me about DESIGNATION, and the rest is history! Just kidding – I talked to my mentors and definitely weighed pros and cons before deciding between DePaul vs. DESIGNATION, but for me DESIGNATION was the clear winner.
How did DESIGNATION help prepare you for your new role?
I still have those days where I feel like an imposter, but my client’s and supervisor’s reaction to my work helps to quell that feeling a little more every day as I gain more experience. Although I didn’t go through a formal HCI program, I truly feel that I got an equivalent or better education through DESIGNATION. Academic institutions can only be so agile in response to change and they often operate in a silo from the industry they are educating for.
What was your favorite part of the DESIGNATION experience?
Only one favorite?! I would have to say the opportunity to work on real client projects was incredibly important and brings everything you’ve learned to crystallization. Everyone you meet is amazing too. You leave with quite a network. (I couldn’t pick just one fave)
What advice would you give to someone who was trying to break into the industry?
Go to DESIGNATION! And actively engage yourself in all things UX.