Anabelle Zee is a graduate of the Obsidian Cohort. Prior to joining DESIGNATION she was a manager of a New York coffee shop.
Where do you work, and what’s your job title?
I’m working as a Product Designer at Pandora.
Tell us briefly about your company.
Pandora is personalized radio that plays music catered to your tastes.
Tell us briefly about your job.
I work with a team focused on bringing data to the music industry. As the product designer on the team, I work closely with our product leads, engineers, and data scientists on visualizing data for the industry. Working on a multidisciplinary team is incredibly fun, and the opportunities to pair and to learn new disciplines are always present.
What did you do professionally before you started at DESIGNATION?
I managed a coffee shop in New York and worked in the coffee industry for four or five years.
How did you hear about DESIGNATION? And why did you decide to attend?
I was in the process of searching for design bootcamps. DESIGNATION stood out because it offered a full-stack curriculum at the time, and I was interested in growing my UX/UI and coding skills. I read reviews of different bootcamps and got advice from friends who were already UX/UI designers. I also debated going to grad school for design. But when I weighed my goals of what I wanted at the end of schooling—a job in design—DESIGNATION offered the quickest and most cost-efficient path..
How would you describe your DESIGNATION experience?
Incredibly unique. As someone who was looking to make a career switch, DESIGNATION was my perfect destination. I immensely enjoyed the fast-paced, intensive learning environment coupled with the opportunity to apply my learnings to real client projects. This set DESIGNATION apart from all the other bootcamps. At the end of the day, DESIGNATION served as the perfect training ground for me to start my career as a designer.
What was your favorite part of the DESIGNATION experience?
One big part in me making the decision to take an in-person course was to work with people. I knew that I learned and worked better with people around me. The instructors at DESIGNATION served as mentors and guides as we embarked on exploring the beautiful world of design. They expected excellence from us in our work and encouraged us to hold the same high standards for ourselves. As for the other people in my cohort—if any group knew how to work hard/play hard together, it was us. But really, the people in my cohort kept me sane, motivated, and inspired.
What did you find was the most useful skill, tool, or experience from your time in the program?
I use almost everything I learned in my work. But the most important by far was the experience of the Immersion Phase project presentation. Crafting a story around our designs was and is an invaluable tool that creates buy-in with managers and stakeholders.
What’s your favorite thing about being a professional designer now?
I love having a profession where the big question is “does this improve life for the user?” Good design permeates all things in our lives. And well-designed products can bring such delight. I love being part of a team that aims to bring even an extra micro-ounce of delight to people’s lives.
“Crafting a story around our designs was and is an invaluable tool that creates buy-in with managers and stakeholders.”
What advice can you give to someone trying to start in the design industry?
I hate to sound like a Pinterest post, but: stay humble and hustle hard. Get feedback on your work and iterate on it, and do that a lot. Quantity at this stage beats out quality. The more you exercise the skills of design, the better you’ll get. The more you critique the designs you create, the sharper your eye will become. Learn from mistakes and move forward.