Interview with Mitch Myers, UX/UI Designer at Farm Journal Media

Designation Team May 31, 2017 Interviews, Designers

Mitch Myers is a graduate of the Umber Cohort. Prior to joining Designation he worked as a front-end developer in Minneapolis.

Where do you work, and what’s your job title?

I work at Farm Journal Media as a UX/UI Designer.

Tell us briefly about your company. 

Farm Journal has been around since 1877; it started as a magazine with practical information on crops, livestock and general agriculture for farm families. It’s since grown into a media company that produces a variety of publications on everything agriculture, digital content, and even television shows. Some of their sites include Top Producer, AgPro, Drovers, PORK Network, Dairy Herd Management, MILK, Bovine Veterinarian, The Packer and Produce Retailer.

I’m the company’s first UX/UI Designer…and with the current state of most of their sites, it shows. I report to the VP of Product Development, but I also work with product managers and developers across the company.

Tell us briefly about your job.

It’s definitely a unique opportunity. Right now, I’m working on a couple of major website redesigns, and my role for each site entirely depends on its current state. Some product managers are only looking for a few quick fixes to the functionality of their site. Others are looking for a complete overhaul. It’s also my job to help establish the process and expectations for where and when UX and UI are needed in their current process, which can be difficult when working with people who are used to doing things in a certain way.

One of the exciting things about my job is that I get pulled onto new projects all the time, so there’s never a dull moment.

What did you do professionally before you started at Designation? 

Before I started at Designation, I worked at CATS Software as a front-end developer in Minneapolis.

How did you hear about Designation? And why did you decide to attend?

When my wife got a job in Chicago, I started to look at some of the front-end jobs there. I didn’t have much of a design background, as I was self-taught in both coding and design, and I didn’t seem to be qualified for any of the jobs that I actually wanted. I began looking for ways to grow my design skills and stumbled upon Designation on Course Report. It looked like the perfect way for me to break into the UX/UI field in Chicago. After I interviewed with Will, I knew it was the right fit for me.

How would you describe your Designation experience?

I truly had a fantastic time at Designation. I felt like I was being challenged but not overwhelmed. Every day I learned something new, which prepared me for the job I’m in now. You make a lot of great friends when you spend nearly every waking hour with others in the cohort that share the same passion as you. Being able to see the amazing work of others in my cohort also pushed me to improve my own work. I truly would not be where I am today without the help and support of everyone from Designation.

What was your favorite part of the Designation experience?

The people. I don’t think I could have had a better time in a bootcamp than getting to spend time with all of my cohort-mates and the people who run Designation. It just feels like you’re all part of one big team with everyone supporting and helping each other achieve their goals of becoming a designer. Even months later, my cohort still stays in touch with each other.

What did you find was the most useful skill, tool, or experience from your time in the program?

Hands down, it was working on projects for real clients. This was truly a game-changer and came up in every job interview I had after Designation. Being able to show how I helped solve real clients’ problems with the skills I gained from my time in the program was invaluable.

I get to work on a variety of projects and people truly look to me as the UX/UI expert.

What’s your favorite thing about being a professional designer now?

Being able to go into work and truly enjoy the job I’m doing. I get to work on a variety of projects and people truly look to me as the UX/UI expert.

What advice can you give to someone trying to start in the design industry?

Make mistakes. Take on any and every project you can. The more mistakes you make, the more you learn and the better you get. You’re going to look back on some of your early work and think, “What in the world was I thinking?” Design, like anything else, takes time and practice to get better at, so have some grit and keep improving.

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