What is your current role?
I’m a Principal and co-owner at a UX and Product Design studio. I help clients a) understand their users b.) shape products and services to meet customer needs and c) work with my team to deliver world-class digital experiences. We tackle tough problems in complicated, global fields.
Tell us about your career journey to date?
I started with a B.Sc in multimedia in the late ‘90s. Then worked in hospitality and travelled for quite a while. I tried to kickstart a writing career with an MA in Journalism and did stints at newspapers and magazines. I started a print and online publishing company, which didn’t go so well. But that experience landed me a role in Google working in content strategy. From there I moved into a content role at a UX agency – and found out that I was better at UX than content. Since then, I’ve worked on more than 100 projects, learning to lead and mentor, while also learning how to run a business.
How does the reality of your career differ from your expectations?
I didn’t really have expectations; I didn’t know UX existed until I was hired by a UX company. So this job kind of chose me rather than the other way around. What is surprising to me is that I am still learning every day. Now that I teach UX at a university, I’m learning more than ever.
What three skills do you believe are crucial to succeeding in this career?
- Communication Skills: if you can’t explain findings / design you won’t succeed. (Soft skills are at least as important as hard skills, over the long term.)
- Cognitive empathy: ability to identify and understand other people’s emotions, and predict or explain others’ actions. (These skills comes from good research and good, structured analysis.)
- Prioritisation & focus: ability to figure out what’s important and dogmatically pursue it. (some frameworks like Jobs to be Done are great for this)
What advice would you give someone considering a role in this sector?
Be patient: getting a first job can require perseverance. BUT once in the door, there are pathways for progression.