Interview with Erika O’Neil, DESIGNATION Alum and Senior Analyst at Accenture

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Interview with Erika O'Neil, DESIGNATION Alum and Senior Analyst at Accenture

Erika O’Neil is a newly minted Senior Analyst at Accenture. Architecture degree in hand, Erika was already looking for a career change, so she came to DESIGNATION to learn UX, and landed a Senior position right out of the gate.

 

So where’s your new job, and what is your title?
I work at Accenture and my title is Business and Systems Integration Senior Analyst

Erika O'Neil - UX Research and Interaction Design

How would you describe the DESIGNATION experience?
Intense, fun, and exciting. It was more than just learning new hard skills. As a participant in DESIGNATION you are fully emerged in the design culture.

What was the most interesting or useful thing you learned during the cohort?
I think by nature design bootcamps like DESIGNATION attract self-starters, people who are passionate and hardworking. What I found was most useful was learning how to apply these qualities and to teach myself. “Learning how to learn” was a phrase that was often used and I have found that having that skill has been the most valuable.

Accenture Company Screen Shot

What are the people at DESIGNATION like (including staff, instructor and fellow students)?
Like I mentioned before everyone has a self-starter mentality. A lot of people (including myself) were making drastic career changes so I would also say fellow students had a lot of gumption. I felt the staff and instructors honestly care about the future of the participants and are passionate about their success.

What were you doing before you came to DESIGNATION?
I was taking a web design class at Illinois Institute of Technology (weighing the decision of going back to school) and hustling as a freelancer while trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my degree in architecture.

Designation is a design-focused career accelerator. They give hard working individuals the knowledge and tools they need to succeed in the ever changing digital profession.

How did you hear about DESIGNATION, and why did you decide to come?
Facebook. I have a friend that had recently finished a programming bootcamp after deciding to change her career path and she had convinced me that it was a good decision. She was right.

Tell us a little bit about your new job!
I do UX consulting. In this position I have a hand in the research as well has the IxD. It is a very agile work environment so I have opportunities to work closely with the front end developers and the UI designers. I also get to travel! Right now the project requires me to split my time between Chicago and New York City.

“DESIGNATION taught me how to take what I already knew about design and apply it to the digital world.”

How did DESIGNATION help prepare you for your new role?
Most importantly DESIGNATION gave me the confidence I needed to just apply to the job. They taught me how to take what I already knew about design and apply it to the digital world. While in the program I was able to meet with many industry workers and show them my work. They were always impressed and helpful which is super encouraging when you are diving into something new.

What was your favorite part of the DESIGNATION experience?
Definitely meeting new people that I had a lot in common with and then watching them succeed in their careers. I have life-long friends and mentors from the experience which is crazy when you think about it. I mean, it went by so fast!

What advice would you give to someone who was trying to break into the industry?
Go for it. Don’t be afraid to fail.

Related: Freelancing Designers Guide – 3 Contract Tips,  Top 7 Productivity Tips for Freelancers, & See the Average Salary for a Graphic Designer.

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