CWX: What first sparked your interest in UX design?
AH: That goes all the way back to college. I studied industrial design, which is more focused on physical products like furniture, appliances, that kind of stuff. A lot of that involved human-centered design as well. There’s a sense of user-experience design in industrial design.
But after I graduated, I realized I didn’t want to go in the direction of physical design. And then a lot of my classmates were pivoting toward UX, so that’s when I started to get a little bit interested in that as well. I realized that a lot of the skills I learned from my major—like the design-thinking process and technical skills—could transfer over to UX design.
So that’s how I got into UX. I enjoy it a lot more than what I studied in school.
CWx: Monthly accountability calls. Older classmates in UX. It sounds like you had good connections in that professional community, even during college.
AH: In school I always heard the saying that “Your network is your net worth.” Okay, sure. But I realized how useful having a good network actually is.
I knew my classmates who were a few years above me in my program at school, and I also connected with other people who were pivoting into UX design—getting to talk to them and hear how they were successful in navigating the job search.
Just getting advice from different people was very helpful in helping me to shape how I wanted to navigate creating a portfolio and what direction I wanted to go—where I wanted to focus in on, in terms of UI or UX design, or research.
Every role I had leading up to this has been through connections and networking. And actually, cold-applying was not very successful. So I realize now that, yeah, your network is actually very important in being successful. So I’m trying to continue building that.