UX Design Student Spotlight: Julie, Lloyd, and Irem
Get to know more about our User Experience Design students from the Spring 2017 Cohort: Julie, Lloyd, and Irem. Soon the students will be finishing their RED journey and hitting the ground running in tech. Here they talk about their experiences over the past 10 weeks and where they want to be after their RED journey is over.
What did you do before coming to RED & what brought you here?
Julie: Bachelor of Science and working for start-ups like AVAgrows.com
Lloyd: I was the creative director for Blenz Coffee for four years. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to tackle on various types of projects like digital/print marketing promotions and brand development. There was always a lot of hard and fun projects to work on.
Irem: I’m currently finishing up my Bachelor of Science degree at The University of British Columbia. I’m at RED because I want to obtain not only technical skills but also soft skills by working with real clients with real needs. I had a vague understanding of UX before coming to RED in January for the part-time UX program first. With the full-time UX program, my mission is to deepen my understanding of UX tools and learn how to actually design a project from scratch.
If you decided on a career change, what motivated you to move to the tech industry?
Julie: I like the people and the atmosphere. The work is challenging and rewarding.
Lloyd: It’s something I have always wanted to do but never found an area that I think that would fit me until I found out user experience design. It’s a combination of everything I like to do.
What future opportunities do you see in the tech industry?
Julie: The opportunity to design for people.
Lloyd: I see tremendous opportunities for web and app design for non-English speaker demographics, especially in this multicultural city.
Irem: There has recently been this crazy influx of fear-mongering news that most jobs will be automated in the next 50 years. According to those people ultimately everyone will be left jobless but I take everything with a grain of salt. I genuinely don’t see a reason why a specialization like UX would be UX without the human touch. When there is more awareness about UX, I can see it emerging as a true industry of its own without having to be associated with web design.
How is RED helping you reach your career aspirations?
Julie: It’s allowing me to fail in a safe and comfortable environment.
Lloyd: RED have proved me a welcoming space to experiment, fail and learn from my mistake before I face the real world.
Irem: My undergrad is all about theory and prepares you for grad school, which I don’t want to go 10,000 miles near. For the past 2 years or so, I have been looking to obtain technical skills that can help me venture into the tech industry after my undergrad.
I was introduced to UX Design through one of RED samplers back in November and found it extremely interesting, so I registered for the part-time UX program. I liked that program but felt like I wanted to learn more about UX, so I was contemplating about taking the full-time UX program for a while. I was a bit skeptical about what we can learn in such a short time frame, so I registered around the deadline date.
I’m very much content with my decision so far though. Client projects are what I expected and more – truly an excellent opportunity to learn and grow. You not only get to work with like-minded individuals with the same objective in mind, but actually do something for a real-world client. Without RED, I don’t think I would have been able to build my portfolio and learn about UX as much as I would have by myself. It’s also worth mentioning that the community projects at RED have been meticulously vetted, so you feel part of a larger community by designing for truly important causes like sustainability, social impact and so on.
What are your career goals after RED?
Julie: To become a UX designer that specializes in research and user testing.
Lloyd: To work for a company that values community, people and product and service they provide. A place where I can have the freedom to express my creativity and showcase my skills. Once I have enough income, I want to open up my own cidery or bar on the side.
Irem: I’d love to apply what I learned from RED to projects at a prospective internship. However, what I really want to do is help non-profits, organizations, and communities in need. I like RED’s mission as a pioneer in bringing students and community partners together, so working with more clients also sounds great. I want to be able to achieve my mission of educating younger undergrad students about the significance of UX design through an initiative I’m involved with. I’m also interested in mentoring aspiring designers about their career perspectives since I believe that there’s not a standalone mentorship program solely for UX in Vancouver, although there should be.
What’s your favorite part about RED or the highlight of your education at RED so far?
Julie: The people and the atmosphere. It’s friendly and welcoming while pushing you to push past your comfort limits. It allows you to exceed your own expectations.
Lloyd: To learn from RED’s amazing instructors and my cohort.
Irem: I feel like the education at universities is clinical. School teaches you how to do well on assignments. I’m not saying you can’t learn any skills from working in groups or improve your time management skills, or your soft skills by interacting with fellow group members/teaching staff; there are other avenues like clubs or events for growth. Since we spend too much time in class I believe that it should at least make you feel fulfilled about yourself. Personally though, I feel empty at the end of most days. Once you have taken a few classes, you crack the code and doing homework or projects becomes an automated process. You do something the way you do it because you have a general idea of what the marking scheme is or it’s already given to you. You bubble an option on the scantron because you memorized the answer the night before. So much of our thinking is dictated and there are penalties for going out of the scope of the assignment.
However, at RED, every project is different and there are various challenges at hand. Creativity and collaboration are encouraged. I’m not given marking schemes or a recipe to follow. We are taught certain UX tools and how we use them for our projects is up to us. It’s also extremely valuable to have support and feedback from instructors regularly since that’s also something largely missing from the school environment. I remember once I emailed my professor to get feedback about my homework before the deadline and all she told me was that they weren’t marking assignments before the submission date so she told me absolutely nothing. The accessibility of our instructors is absolutely crucial since they are on deck to help us post-interviews with our clients and go over the progress of our projects frequently.
What has RED taught you about yourself or what surprising thing have you learned about yourself?
Julie: It has taught me about pushing myself, about being comfortable with failure and appreciating the successes you gain from learning from failure.
Lloyd: Having more faith in myself and the people I work with.
Irem: I’d like to think of RED’s full-time UX program akin to that popular TV show Survivor. It’s intense, but at the end of the day you are at least allowed to go home. However, you need to be a polymath to make it to the finale of the competition. That’s more or less like the same for anyone who wants to excel in RED’s projects. Before doing RED’s UX Designer Professional program, thanks to the part-time program, I had a general idea of what to expect, but I was surprised to discover that you have to be a really well-rounded individual if you want to become a UX designer.
In an alternate universe you would be…
Julie: A benevolent dictator
Lloyd: I want to be my hero, Pablo Picasso.
Digital Marketing Instructor and Content Strategist
Haidee is a digital strategist who brings over seven years of marketing experience to RED Academy. She graduated with a BA from Simon Fraser University in Criminology and English, where she developed sharp analytical skills and linguistic finesse. Though Haidee has worked in all areas of digital marketing, her expertise is in content marketing, digital storytelling and branding. She is driven by creating innovative content that captivates and resonates with people. When she's not working, Haidee is sleeping. Haidee enjoys a good nap.