Last year was such a challenging time for everyone. It seems all of our plans were put on pause and all of us have a story to share on how we kept and still keep pushing during those times.
Before being a designer at HOV, I was just a fresh grad completely unsure what path to take. Back in my Senior year in college (2020), I had no idea what I wanted to do once I graduated. As an IT student, we were conditioned and told we could be web developers, software developers, or some type of programmers after graduation.
We have been conditioned on what we should be, instead of finding what we could be.
Straying away from a common IT career path (programming) seemed to be kind of a waste for me back then since I had spent five years studying skills and concepts.
But by that time, I had also developed a keen interest in getting into the UI and UX path. Being different didn’t sit well with me whenever we talked about our post-graduation options. Most of my peers wanted to join the mainstream, traditional roles but a few wanted to be in the design side of the field.
That’s when I stumbled upon an article that said…
Do what you excel the most at, be great and improve yourself on it rather than doing something you’re average at and don’t see yourself in for the long run.
This has become my college best friend and my mantra – to be focused on what we want to be and find happiness at the same time.
Covid-19 came just before we graduated and of course this added to the pressure because how do you begin when you’re stuck in quarantine? There were so many businesses shutting down the idea of getting a job seemed really difficult and daunting. I took this horrible situation as an opportunity to give myself a break and took almost 3 months of reflecting on what I would really wanted to be doing.
- I started to create my UX case study and build my own design portfolio. Doing something without any professional guidance is frustrating and worrisome as you don’t know if you are doing the right thing. But forget that! I just kept trusting my gut.
I attended a conference. One of the topics was entitled “Trust Your Gut.” The talk basically said that sometimes trusting your own gut is a good thing. It can make you get out of your zone, do impossible things, break barriers and get one step closer to your goal.
- Attended FREE UX events and workshops Conferences, seminars and workshops are quite pricey especially when you’ve just graduated and aren’t working yet. But there were SO many free conferences and sessions out there, I even got my first conference ticket on a major UX conference just by joining a giveaway contest on Twitter. Free online tutorials and courses have been my companion, then and now.
- Built my Portfolio I compiled all my works to build my first portfolio. It basically contained a variety of contents from UX case studies, UI landing pages, and graphic design illustrations I created to practice myself. A portfolio, even for non-designers, is really helpful. It is also a proof that you as an individual are driven and enthusiastic about what you are doing.
- Kept applying to design agencies / IT companies Keep on trying! I submitted my CV and portfolio to countless number of companies. I got rounds of interviews but didn’t get the final position. It’s OKAY. Rejections are tough, especially for fresh graduates but keep your faith and courage to show your interest and drive.
- Showed interest and enthusiasm in interviews Always have lively and enthusiastic energy whenever talking about your personal projects. Walk the interviewers through your own thoughts and design processes and discuss how as someone without professional background, you built your projects and your portfolio. Be confident but not arrogant.
Having such drive and thinking helped me get a position here at HOV. Looking at those simple steps I did as a beginner, I am always proud of myself as I never actually studied design in college.