This week I interviewed Mina Adame on changing careers, finding UX opportunities outside of class, and learning from being uncomfortable. She and I met in my Intro to UX class at Austin Community College. For the full transcript of the interview and links to the resources mentioned, click here. Check out more videos and interviews, check out our YouTube channel.
How did you get started in UX?
I was in sales for five years and, I just I wanted a little bit more. So, when someone (at my old job) had a question or wanted to start a new project off I started becoming the go-to person. I would take on all this extra work and kept getting pushed away from the work that I was actually supposed to do. It just was clear that I had a lot of other interests, especially in digital and technology. When I (decided) to go back to school, I so explored my options a little bit more. And luckily our community college had an awesome UX design program locally. It was great because it is accredited and had industry instructors.
Doing a side project outside of school helped me understand a little bit more about not just design principles but how to approach problems.
What was your experience at Austin Community College (ACC)
A lot of people in the program had their undergrad. They might have had a few Master’s degrees. One of the professors, who worked at IBM, told me that there are certain things that you have to do especially if you are going to break into the industry. He said, “You would need to do triple the amount of work that someone with an undergraduate degree to make up for the requirements some companies have with education.”
How did you approach finding UX opportunities outside of class projects?
I knew that I needed to get work that would not only teach me a little bit more about design and real-world experience. A few other students and I basically made our own mini project and we basically reached out to non-profits. We were able to have something in our portfolio that we could show we were able to learn how to work in a team.
Doing a side project outside of school helped me understand a little bit more about not just design principles but how to approach problems. I felt a little bit better than others.
Always be uncomfortable. Always try to learn something new.
What are you doing now?
Currently, I am interning at IBM, and working on IBM Cloud for the Console Team. I am a part of the core team so we work on the core UI. IBM Cloud is basically a platform for developers to use to deploy, and create, and develop apps. Our team (has) to account for all of our users and all of our services. It’s really awesome and really hard, but I’m learning a ton every day.
What is one piece of advice you would give an aspiring designer?
Always be uncomfortable. Always try to learn something new. There are so many resources out there. Free resources.