Carolyn McGuire is a graduate of the Topaz Cohort. Prior to joining Designation, she worked as a researcher at Georgia State University.
Tell us briefly about your job. I’m a UX architect at Dragon Army.
Tell us briefly about your company. What do they specialize in? What does your team look like? Named after the sci-fi classic Ender’s Game, Dragon Army is an app development and innovation agency in Atlanta. We specialize in mobile and emerging tech and help companies big and small, create products that push the boundaries of technology and disrupt the market. Dragon Army is small but growing fast! Right now we have 26 people and a two-person UX team.
At a high level, I create the architecture of the products we build. But my day-to-day varies and I’m involved in everything from client pitches to innovation brainstorming sessions. Our biggest client is Turner, so I spend a significant amount of time on the Turner campus. Currently, we’re helping Turner Sports build a service that will stream the UEFA Champions League Soccer for the next three seasons. It was recently written up in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times!
What did you do professionally before you started at Designation? I worked a number of odd jobs in Atlanta, but by far the most interesting was installing audio/video systems with GAL Electronics. Before that, I was a research assistant for the anthropology department at Georgia State University.
How did you hear about Designation? And why did you decide to attend? I learned about Designation through Course Report, and I decided to attend because of its stellar reputation. Compared to other UX bootcamps, Designation had overwhelmingly positive reviews. I thought it was too good to be true, but less than a year later I landed my dream job!
How would you describe your Designation experience? Designation blew my mind. I learned more at Designation than studying four years at a university. There’s something about spending 12+ hours a day fully immersed in what you’re learning. It was like living in another country to learn the language.
What made your Designation experience unique? Spending the summer in 1871 was unique to me. My teammate and I were inspired to hustle clients for UX work around the space. We came close to landing a contract!
What did you find was the most useful skill, tool, or experience from your time in the program? Presenting to clients and fellow designers. Clear communication is one of the most important aspects of my job, and I’m appreciative it was such a heavy focus of the Designation experience. It helped me learn how to be vocal and present my work with confidence.
Clear communication is one of the most important aspects of my job, and I’m appreciative it was such a heavy focus of the Designation experience.
What’s your favorite thing about being a professional designer now? Dragon Army is filled with incredibly talented and humble people who support each other. And our CEO, Jeff Hilimire, puts culture at the forefront of our company values. I genuinely look forward to coming into work every day!
What advice can you give to someone trying to start in the design industry? Along with your design education, develop your presentation skills and writing skills. These are the skills I see in leaders and coworkers I aspire to be like. Always be talking to other designers and leaders in the industry, and try to get as involved as you can. Right now I co-organize Ladies that UX Atlanta, and it’s amazing how many people ask me for advice and help in their career at our events—I was in their position a few months ago!