Interview with Justin Wu, DESIGNATION Alum and Interaction Designer at Fjord

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Justin Wu was a recent Northwestern grad when he joined the DESIGNATION – Celadon Cohort. He now works as an Interaction Design at service design agency Fjord, a subsidiary of Accenture.

 

Where are you now working, and what is your job title?
I’m working at Fjord, a design and innovation consultancy, as an Interaction Designer.

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Tell us a little bit about your new job!
I’ll be doing a little bit of everything in the user experience and interaction realm, touching on anything from research, design, and prototyping.

How would you describe the DESIGNATION experience?
Challenging and intense. It was an opportunity to not only expand my skill set, but to learn how to work collaboratively with interdisciplinary teams.

What was the most interesting or useful thing you learned during the cohort?
Jumping into full stack design can be kind of overwhelming, because every day is full of new ideas and new skills to learn and understand. But the nature of cohort encouraged self-driven learning and for me, that led to a lot of introspection in what I really wanted to do in my career.

What are the people at DESIGNATION like (including staff, instructor and fellow students)?
Even though we were all at different points in our lives and careers, everyone was open to not only learning new things but helping others learn as well. It was extremely easy to walk over to someone else and get feedback or ask for help with Illustrator or code issues.

“Round yourself out as a designer and it’ll only make you stronger in your own field.”

How did you hear about DESIGNATION, and why did you decide to come?
I actually found out about it through Twitter, as I had started following a lot of Chicago UX folks in the year leading up to that. I come from a research background, but I was looking for a way to break into UX and design rather than just research and DESIGNATION was a great way to transition into design.

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How did DESIGNATION help prepare you for your new role?
Beyond developing the skills necessary for interaction design and user experience research, I got lots of experience working on projects with real deadlines, real clients, and within an interdisciplinary team. That kind of experience definitely helped me stand out in my job search and has been immensely useful in my job.

What was your favorite part of the DESIGNATION experience?
The people. Everyone is ridiculously talented and passionate about design, and I don’t think there was a single day in which I wasn’t inspired by my peers to keep on bettering myself.

What advice would you give to someone who was trying to break into the industry?
Refuse to be stagnant. If you end up in a lull while you’re trying to find that first gig, keep pushing yourself to learn new things or master new skills. Pick up side projects, even ones that don’t pay and especially ones that will challenge you. If you’re in UX, dabble in some back-end programming. If you’re a programmer, try your hand at some research! Round yourself out as a designer and it’ll only make you stronger in your own field.

“[At DESIGNATION], everyone is ridiculously talented and passionate about design, and I don’t think there was a single day in which I wasn’t inspired.”

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