Megan Holman is a graduate of the Peridot Cohort. Prior to joining DESIGNATION she was a supervisor for the Division of Recreational Sports at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Where do you work, and what’s your job title?
I currently work at EatStreet in Madison, WI. My job title is Web Designer but my focus is on user experience.
Tell us briefly about your company.
Founded in 2010, EatStreet streamlines commerce between restaurants and diners, with an online food court comprising more than 15,000 restaurants in more than 250 cities nationwide.
The team I work on consists of three other designers and around 15 engineers. Since EatStreet has so many platforms, our team is mostly broken down into web, Android, and iPhone.
Tell us briefly about your job.
Currently, I’m mixed into everything from design to user testing to project management work. My first project was to add a feature to our iPhone app. Such an awesome experience to work through the entire process and then see it out there!
What did you do professionally before you started at DESIGNATION?
Something totally different! I worked in the Division of Recreational Sports at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I supervised professional staff and about 150 student employees who worked at the fitness centers on campus.
How did you hear about DESIGNATION? And why did you decide to attend?
I did a TON of research on coding bootcamps, originally planning to go to become a front-end developer; I learned more about UX/UI and was hooked! From there, I narrowed it down to a few but DESIGNATION stood out since they offered online prep work in the Virtual Phase. I felt that would help me feel more confident during the in-person phase—and I was right!
It was amazing. I learned so much in such a short period of time. Having already been to graduate school, I really didn’t want to go back and spend 2-4 more years on education. DESIGNATION allowed me to switch careers in only a matter of months.
How would you describe your DESIGNATION experience?
Totally necessary and absolutely life-changing. I went to Chicago with a vague idea of what I wanted next as a designer. In the process of participating in the program, I got who I actually AM as a designer. I learned how to really connect with the users for whom I was designing and to design empathetically. That’s not something that DESIGNATION handed to me. It’s something that was always there, and putting in the work during the program for a few months gave me the time and space to actually uncover it for myself.
What’s your favorite thing about being a professional designer now?
The challenges. Working at a startup, everyone is still learning how to fit UX into their processes. It’s fun for me to really get to see how UX can have an impact on so many areas in the company. I love the flexibility of being able to do something different almost everyday—all while building a connection with our users.
What advice can you give to someone trying to start in the design industry?
Take the leap! Talk to as many designers as possible. Join a bootcamp. And work your butt off while you are there. The more effort you put in, the more you will get out of the experience. Once out, be sure to continue to practice your newly learned skills, keep up-to-date on the latest industry trends, and network with other designers. Keep an eye on every piece of UI you come across and question those design decisions. From there, challenge yourself to think of ways they can improve their UX.
What did you find was the most useful skill, tool, or experience from your time in the program?
Working with actual clients was extremely helpful. It was really nice to be able to take what we learned and apply it right away. Also, learning from others—instructors, fellow designers, clients—everyone had their own way of doing and looking at things. I learned so much in a short time because I was able to watch and work with people with such different skill sets.
“The people really make the experience, navigating all of the craziness together. It was a journey unlike any other!”
What was your favorite part of the DESIGNATION experience?
The people, for sure. You really get to know your cohortmates (that happens when you spend 70+ hours a week together!). The people really make the experience, navigating all of the craziness together. It was a journey unlike any other!