Focus over Fear
Honestly, I’ve been all in on Design Thinking for several months now. At the beginning of 2018, I hit the brakes on making albums, performing poetry, and music videos to focus on growing my design and development skills. From there, life dropped tiny little nuggets here and there that led me to User Interface and User Experience Design — and I decided to read more about design thinking and find out how I could make my way into this life path.
Not only could I make a lot more money, I could combine my design skills with my empath-ness and overthinking to help businesses meet and exceed their goals. In my seeking, I found that a major key to UI/UX Design is conducting user research to get valuable feedback from users BEFORE you design the product that will be the solution. Is this real life?!
Not only does this save consumers the headache of downloading yet another intrusive product that doesn’t get used, it saves companies time, energy, and money that could be spent solving real problems based on real user insights and not assumptions about what particular communities may need. Like my grandma says, you know what happens when you assume.
As a INTJ, Enneagram 5, Leo (I know, I’m the most) and designer who prefers context, cares about the end user, and doesn’t like wasting time and energy designing something nobody asked for — this pathway spoke to my even larger goal of creating products that have social impact and show users how much we want to make their navigation of this world a little more easy. But to get to the point of landing an interview, getting an offer, and moving into a brand new environment, I had to get focused.
For anybody that knows me, they know how much I love reading. Once I began to read articles from other black UX designers, like Black People Have Always Been UX Designers, I knew UI/UX design was where I belong for the next season of my life. I was going to practice Design Thinking to make this a reality for myself. I began by reading Designing Your Life by Dave Evans and Bill Burnett from Stanford University and decided to implement their life catalyst design process in my own. I focused on a UX course from Georgia Tech (Free on Coursera), followed UX designers on YouTube, designed my UI/UX portfolio, made connections via LinkedIn and designed informal interviews for myself. This entire process lasted for about 3–4 months. Not including the 6 months of learning a deep dive on front-end development from an amazing nonprofit in Durham called Code the Dream.
Long story shorter ya’ll, I landed an interview and did receive an offer for ~60% more than what I currently make. I will be working on a humongous design project that will grant me experience that I can carry to any place, anywhere.
To get to this point in reading and running into a humble brag, is not to be arrogant. I am just wanting to share that ultimately, it is possible. You aren’t stuck. Yes, it feels like it. I didn’t believe I could do any of this until I set my focus on my ONE thing. For now that one thing is Design. This is my season for this work.
God is good.
— I hope you enjoyed this.