Where are you now working, and what is your job title? I’m working as an Interaction Designer at Fjord, a design agency based in Europe.
Tell us a little bit about your new job! My role helps carry a project from user research to prototyping. My project team is made up of a small team of interdisciplinary designers - interaction, content and visual designers. Together, we work in an agile environment and tackle our client’s project, following a solid design thinking process.
How would you describe the Designation experience? The Designation experience was intense. I learned so many technical and conceptual thinking skills in a short amount of time. Our teams worked quick off our feet, got creative and worked within our clients’ constraints. I loved working in teams, liberally jotting ideas on post its and getting out there to understand users.
What was the most interesting or useful thing you learned during the cohort? The most interesting lessons I learned were in our user research stages. First, learning by doing, I discovered many nuances and tactics to gaining insight on user behavior - far past just asking users questions point blank. I also learned the wide variety of research resources available for designers such as myself. Also, though the week we learned how to code was probably the most painful for me, I’m incredibly proud of having sufficient knowledge in at least HTML/CSS and a little of other programming languages. Though I would never brand myself as a developer, my familiarity with the space has already been very useful in freelance and work projects.
“I found that the projects I worked on were invaluable in crafting my story and convincing companies that I was capable.”
What are the people at Designation like (including staff, instructor and fellow students)? The people at Designation are down to earth and eager to get going. Everyone I’ve met is excited to invest the time and hard work to make great products and services. Especially being new to Chicago, I was grateful to make some great friends who were amazingly talented and down to play a little Settlers of Catan whenever we needed a break.
What were you doing before you came to Designation? I was working in a job I enjoyed in city planning and community development. Working with large governments, I saw a lot of gaps and missed opportunities to engage tech and design. That’s when I decided to sharpen my skillset as a designer, so I can learn at a design agency and eventually bring back those skills into the community development space.
How did you hear about Designation, and why did you decide to come? I found Designation online, and I decided to come because it was a quick way to shift my career in the direction I wanted it. Designation had an attractive opportunity to work with programmers and visual designers, which prepared me well for my current job.
How did Designation help prepare you for your new role? Designation gave me the language to speak intelligently about design, exposed me to a lot of educational and professional resources and helped me build products that I’m proud to showcase in my portfolio. While interviewing for jobs, I found that the projects I worked on were invaluable in crafting my story and convincing companies that I was capable of performing on par with designers from traditional schools. I received three great offers, selected the one that best fit my objectives and now use my Designation foundation at work everyday.
What was your favorite part of the Designation experience? My favorite part was solving problems for live clients with talented people I enjoyed spending time with.
What advice would you give to someone who was trying to break into the industry? Work hard, know your objectives and learn from everyone around you.