Angela Kung is a graduate of the Nectarine Cohort. Prior to joining Designation she lived in Hong Kong and worked as a recruitment consultant.
Where do you work, and what’s your job title?
I work at Amazon in Seattle as a UX Designer. I work for Amazon Web Services, which is their cloud-computing business. More specifically, I work on their partners team, which works with large companies that use AWS products as part of their own business. I’m the only designer on a team of product managers, developers and customer support. It’s great because I work so closely with the product, and the ability to work together with the customer support team means I always have access to real-time data and feedback from our users. This is a huge change from when I worked as part of a big design organization at Capital One in Chicago.
Tell us briefly about your job.
I joined this team to redesign a platform that hasn’t been changed since it was originally launched a couple of years ago. The original platform wasn’t scalable for how much our business has grown, and it’s become something that is difficult for our users to navigate and use without our help. We want to create a platform where we can encourage users to self-service and accomplish tasks without having to reach out to customer support, which can take time on both sides and is a huge business expense.
What did you do professionally before you started at Designation?
I lived in Hong Kong and worked as a recruitment consultant, specifically working with hedge funds to build out their teams in Asia.
How did you hear about Designation? And why did you decide to attend?
I heard about Designation through my brother, who was a mentor for the program. He really encouraged me to apply (thanks, Victor!), and I decided to attend. I wanted to find a connection between the consulting work that I loved to do and visual design, which I always pursued on the side.
What made your Designation experience unique?
Definitely my cohort—hi Nectarines! I was lucky to be surrounded by hardworking people who pushed each other to be better. It felt like everyone really cared about their projects, and no one was ever satisfied with an easy solution. We weren’t afraid to challenge each other, which was awesome.
What did you find was the most useful skill, tool, or experience from your time in the program?
The ability to work independently, and to be disciplined!
How did Designation help prepare you for your job?
The way projects are structured really encourages designers to be thoughtful about project planning and managing timelines. In addition, Designation encouraged me to be resourceful, which has also been a huge asset.
What’s your favorite thing about being a professional designer now?
It’s super-encouraging when organizations and companies value design and believe we should have a seat at the table with product managers, salespeople, marketing, and developers. User and customer experiences are becoming really key to succeeding as a business, and it’s great to be in a role that’s central to improving that.
“Whenever you start doubting yourself, remember why you got into design in the first place, remember all the skills that you have outside of design.”
What advice can you give to someone trying to start in the design industry?
Impostor syndrome is real and everyone feels it, so don’t beat yourself up about it! I think it’s hard not to be critical of yourself as a designer, and it’s really easy to feel like you don’t belong because you might not have a formal design or HCI education. Whenever you start doubting yourself, remember why you got into design in the first place, remember all the skills that you have outside of design, and think about how that might be an asset to your new role as a designer. That’s what makes you unique!