Note: Since this interview was published, Zoe has accepted and started a job working as a Product Designer at Facebook. We’ll be doing a follow-up interview shortly to learn more about the experience!
Where are you now working, and what is your job title? I’m working at TaskRabbit as a UX Designer.
Tell us a little bit about your new job! It’s been a lot of fun so far. It’s definitely a different pace than the agency I was at prior to joining TaskRabbit. We are a small team of designers that work in an agile environment. Right now we are working on optimizing the web and mobile platform as well as working on new features. Everyone can wear a different hat depending on what we are working on.
How would you describe the Designation experience? An exciting roller coaster ride yet the best decision I could’ve made.
At first it seemed intimidating to spend 60-70 hours a week on something- I hadn’t spent that much time on anything! But once you get there, you find yourself surrounded with other like-minded individuals. What seemed intimidating at first quickly turned into this exciting and passionate environment. My fellow students became genuine friends. Spending 8-12 hours a day with other individuals who were just as excited and eager to learn became fun. Everyone brings something different to the table and comes from different backgrounds, that allowed everyone to learn from each other. Everyone supported and encouraged everyone no matter where they came from and everyone was up for solving problems together. I ended up building this awesome new network of friends that I could also jam out and talk design with while feeling supported as I grew as a designer.
What was the most interesting or useful thing you learned during the cohort? A handful of things were useful for different reasons. First off, it was learning what UX, UI, IxD and Visual design actually were and how they differed. That helped me get a feel for what I wanted to do. Secondly it was learning the fundamentals and processes and actually applying them. Iterating & collaborating!- design is not something that you learn a perfect technique in. It’s learning how to solve different problems with different methods. Thirdly, it was how to use the resources all around you: the internet, classmates, and instructors!
“Designation taught me how to work with other types of designers and developers while expanding my knowledge in those fields.”
What are the people at Designation like (including staff, instructor and fellow students)? Awesome! It’s a very welcoming group. Like I mentioned earlier, you’re in it together with your fellow students. It creates this awesome environment where everyone is super excited and geeked to talk about all things design. Staff and Instructors are great too. They’re all very knowledgeable in their area and are approachable. They make sure you feel supported.
What were you doing before you came to Designation? After college I was working as a Marketing and Digital Media coordinator. I constantly found myself being drawn to design tasks and questioning why and how designs worked. I was interested in making a move into design but didn’t know where to start. I started self-teaching and taking online classes to learn more. I started looking at new jobs but found that I lacked the experience and certain skills. I debated getting my masters…in graphic design…but couldn’t justify spending that much money plus I wanted to do more than graphic design…I just didn’t know what. I didn’t even know what UX, UI, Interaction Design was when I was initially researching options! I knew getting my masters wasn’t the right option but I needed something to help learn more and gain more experience…then I discovered Designation.
How did you hear about Designation, and why did you decide to come? While in the midst of my quarter life crisis I was researching options to learn and expand my skills. Online classes were a turn-off for me. Then, one day while procrastinating and surfing Facebook, an ad caught my attention. It was for Designation. I had just learned what a bootcamp was but thought they were only for Developers. I immediately knew I wanted to attend. Designation offered the ability to learn fundamentals, apply them in real situations..and “accelerate my career”. I also liked the opportunity of working with designers in the industry and gaining insight!
How did Designation help prepare you for your new role? Designation broadened my fundamentals and taught me the skills to help solve design problems. It also taught me how to work with other types of designers and developers while expanding my knowledge in those fields. And more importantly, it taught me to be a confident designer. All of these things I use in my current job.
What was your favorite part of the Designation experience? All the design friends I made! It’s great to have friends that you can have fun with but also geek out and talk designy things with. Spread across the nation too. I now know if I visit Seattle, LA, Chicago, New York, etc…there’s someone I can meet up with. It’s kinda like a mini family in a way. On top of that, feeling confident to pursue a career in Design, knowing I have a support system.
What advice would you give to someone who was trying to break into the industry? Dive in and never stop learning. Immerse yourself in it. Read blogs, go to meetups, network with designers and always ask questions! You’ll be surprised at how many people are in similar positions as you and how much you can learn from just talking with people. There’s always something new you can learn or a better way to do things.