Igor Milovanovic came to DESIGNATION with the dream of becoming a UI designer. Coming off a background in 3D printing and architectural design, he joined us for the Bronze Cohort, and scored a role as a designer at Apartments.com shortly after graduating.
Where are you now working, and what is your job title?
UI/UX/Visual Designer at Apartments.com/ CoStar Group.
How would you describe the DESIGNATION experience?
I am still trying to find best words to explain the DESIGNATION experience since it was so unique and multi-faceted. I would say it’s part school, part collaborative space, part insane laboratory for creatives. It’s a one of a kind bootcamp that makes networking, seminars, workshops and guest speakers just as important as the educational/work segments. Which is so true, and the networking/being part of creative design community is something I missed out on when I was in college getting my classic education.
What was the most interesting or useful thing you learned during the cohort?
That everyone has something valuable to offer, even if its not apparent at first. Also the importance of playing hard as you work hard. Wink at Aaron for that one…
What are the people at DESIGNATION like (including staff, instructor and fellow students)?
Again, DESIGNATION has such a broad range of personalities, nationalities and professionals under the same roof. But the one thing we all had in common is that we were all hungry for more knowledge and none of us were afraid to take that “leap of faith” in the unknown. Whether it was quitting jobs or flying across the world, we all came together in the pivotal moment in the Chicago digital design scene to do something bigger than ever before. The staff was always great, and everyone gave a slightly different perspective on the field and life in general. Have an all day Saturday lecture with Zeke, hey he might order pizza for everyone just because Sarah K. mentioned pizzas and cats. Or don’t want to go out on a Friday night because you had a long week, maybe you can get schooled at Settlers of Catan by Will.
What were you doing before you came to DESIGNATION?
I was a 3D-Printing technician with an architecture background.
How did you hear about DESIGNATION, and why did you decide to come?
I found out about DESIGNATION through my nerd community on Reddit. Someone posted a link that I randomly clicked and was very impressed by the website. It was very serendipitous moment for me since I was craving a new direction in life but had no clue what to do about it for a few months at that point. After a few days of thinking about it I decided to make a bold, drastic move in my life and I am really glad I did.
“Smile a lot, and email everyone. Pay attention to all the details. Make it a goal to work on at least one personal detail a day, be it your website or portfolio or even LinkedIn profile.”
Tell us a little bit about your new job!
My role at Apartments.com is to assist and collaborate with my team of Digital Designers to create an amazing experience for users on mobile and desktop devices. I came in at a very exciting moment where the company was bought by CoStar group, which has a really big vision for the brand. That is the extent of how much I can talk about the product/brand development at this time. I will say this much though, stay tuned in a few months if you need to look for a new home in the near future.
How did DESIGNATION help prepare you for your new role?
DESIGNATION gave us the opportunity to practice real life situations of an office/agency setting in a safe environment. We were able to “play house” and through that process acquire tangible experience and skills. On top of that, workshops like Pitch Circus really helped me sell myself with confidence and ease. I was able to nail two job offers out of three interviews in one week, and it was my skills and the way I presented myself that led to that.
What was your favorite part of the DESIGNATION experience?
My favorite part of DESIGNATION was the long whiteboard sessions. The ones where we sit there for hours and sweat over the right UX solutions or UI designs until the AHA moment hits. So much excitement. Or the sessions about branding and logos, talking about ideas on how to visualize a brand identity.
What advice would you give to someone who was trying to break into the industry?
Don’t EVER give up. I went from zero to hero in a matter of days. Keep working, find out where your passion lies. And DON’T give up! Also smile a lot, and email everyone. Pay attention to all the details because you never know what might strike someones interest. Make it a goal/agenda to work on at least one personal detail a day, be it your website or portfolio or even LinkedIn profile. Basically, stay busy. Oh, and DON’T give up!