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UX Designer at Niantic, Inc.
Before I began learning at Treehouse, I had just finished undergrad at the University of California, Berkeley, where I studied Art History and Media, with a focus on the power and complexity of visual spaces. During college, I worked as a graphic designer, illustrator, and design lead with a variety of different organizations that helped me jumpstart and hone my skills as a digital creator and mentor.
After college, I still was unsure about what I wanted to do and ended up transitioning my graphic design career in college to product design. Within a month of post-grad, I took advantage of an opportunity Treehouse was offering at the time called the Treehouse Apprenticeship Program, which led me to a UX apprenticeship at Niantic and ultimately to my first full-time role as a designer!
For those who are transitioning into a design career or are currently in the UX Design Techdegree (UX TD), I recommend exploring these 3 tips that helped me grow in my career and learning journey:
Keep in mind that design is a practice and the best thing you can do is start. Embrace that beginner’s mindset and take note of your mistakes to reflect on them as lessons learned. With that, continue trying out different methods, concepts, design tools, etc. Also, continue reaching out for feedback — you’ll be exposed to so many different minds, in return, expanding your knowledge on the people you’re building the product for!
A degree or certificate can only get you so far. Go out there and find work to really experiment, explore, and hone your skills to advance your career! While on my way to finish my TD, I randomly messaged recruiters and early-stage startups to get the hands-on experience I knew I needed to put my learnings and skills learned from college and TD into practice. Not only did I get the opportunity to work at a startup to work on a shipped product and try new tools, but I also got to work on my soft skills such as team building, presentation, and communication, and figuring out what type of company I’d like to work with further in my career.
Join the discourse with other designers, whether it be reading provoking Medium articles, joining Slack communities (and taking part in the TD Slack community), attending design talks or workshops, and/or conversing with other designers on networking sites, my favorite being ADPList. Design is such a broad spectrum where you can noodle in so many different topics, with some you never expected to fall into.
I finished up my apprenticeship at Niantic, Inc. this past December and am now working full-time with the Pokémon GO team as a UX Designer.