In this interview, we talked with our student Jânio Rodrigues who used to work with Information Technology and Graphic Design. He was not satisfied with his career and wanted to pursue something else.
Rodrigues shares his journey and the challenges in pursuing a UX career and also gives a few tips to those in the same situation.
He points out that the Master Interface Design projects, in addition to the feedback from mentors and other students, helped build his first projects that made up his UX portfolio and guaranteed his first opportunity as a UX Designer.
Check out the interview and find out how Jânio got his first opportunity as a UX Designer at MVJ, one of Brazil's largest technology and innovation consultancies.
Hi Jânio! Please introduce yourself to us.
I am 37 years old and have always worked with Computing, Design, and the Internet. My career started with a passion for Design at a time when Adobe didn't even exist.
So I took coding classes like PHP because I have always been curious to know how things worked.
I worked a lot with HTML, CSS in the beginning, and software programming. But my interest in Design came from a Web Design course I took.
From that, I started to have another perspective on what Design meant. So, I went deeper to understand the process and how to create interactions.
After this first contact with Design, I improved my knowledge by doing jobs for Printing Companies like business cards, folders, banners, and vehicle plotting.
I have always enjoyed building the graphic identity for a specific product.
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What is your study background, and in which companies have you worked?
I first studied computer science but realized it wasn't for me. But I still absorbed some concepts of the field. Then I studied what I really liked and got my major in Graphic Design.
After graduating, I stayed away from Design and I ended up working with computers. I worked as technical support and emphasized the quality of the products.
So, even working in the IT area, I observed that a quality survey could be done. In other words, an evaluation of how we were serving our clients. I took this proposal to my manager, who accepted and made me responsible for this project. Little did I know, at the time, that this had a lot to do with UX Design.
How was your journey until you found Aela?
Until then, I didn't know Aela; I've just read some UX books. Since my work is customer related, I realized that they would like to see changes in the service.
So, researching user experience, I got closer to Aela. Then I realized this was the right type of content I needed to get in touch with.
I researched more about the Master Interface Design course and came across several student stories that were very similar to mine.
And I realized that many of them got their first opportunities in UX Design very fast, after a few months of study. So I saw that as a worthwhile investment.
When I accessed the website, I would get anxious because I saw that applications were about to open. Then, in June/July 2019, I saw the course link for new student enrollment, so I went in and watched the available videos to understand how Aela's course worked. After that, I was able to enroll, and I felt fulfilled.
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Do you think your background differs much from UX Design?
UX Design is relatively new, but reflecting on what I performed at the companies I worked for, I find a lot of similarities. It is also about knowing what the customer wants to buy and knowing what I want to sell.
In the last company I worked for, I took care of the support regarding the product we were selling at a very high price. So, I had to deal with some complaints that came up.
The company owner did not have the vision to ask the user whether he was happy with it. So I had to change my approach and start doing a customer satisfaction survey.
In general, this approach was very satisfactory, and things worked out well. I tried to understand what the customer wanted so I could work on that.
What is your understanding of UX/UI?
My focus is more on UX and not so much on UI. I even do some visual work when needed. But my focus is to know what the user really needs.
When I started studying graphic design, it was more difficult, and people didn't pay the equivalent value for the effort.
In the UX world, the content is much more complex than what I was doing before. So I even applied some principles of user experience, but I didn't know what it was really about at that time.
How was the recruitment process at MJV?
At the time of the process, I was at the beginning of level three of Aela's course. So I changed my social media profile and made it more professional. I did this to fit in with the available positions.
I structured my LinkedIn the way the market demanded and applied for simpler jobs, like UX/UI Junior, even though I already had some familiarity with Design and technology.
After that, I had four relevant interviews. In one of them, I got to an advanced level for hiring, but it didn't work out. During this period, I was still at my old company, and I applied for a position at MJV because one of Aela's students was already working there.
At the same time, I received an offer from another company called Builders where the person in charge sent a challenge for me to do. In the same week, the recruiter from MJV called me and said she was interested in my profile and resume.
So she set up a meeting with the manager, and we talked. Time passed, and one day, during a test I was taking for another company, the same recruiter called me and said that my process had been approved.
My understanding now is different from the one I had some time ago. It is worth mentioning that all the material that Aela makes available, from readings to recommendations of other students' work, is very important.
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What was your biggest challenge when you joined MJV as a UX Designer?
I joined to replace a person who was having an ongoing project.
Initially, I started working with possible updates that would occur in the project. I am still on it since it is a large project and will serve several areas within the bank's institution.
So, my first challenge was to understand the way the company works. In the Master Interface Design course, we learn to work with agile methods. Thus, I was already prepared to enter into a scope of work. But when I arrived, I had to read all the documentation other people had prepared.
At that point, there was a bit of apprehension. I needed to understand everything that had already been done to know my role within the project.
At first, I knew I would change some things within the prototype of the project, but then the guy who had introduced me to the group left, and someone else joined.
So first, I was responsible for guiding the person who had just joined to the next steps. I was apprehensive initially, which was a big challenge because I was also a newcomer to the company.
When I arrive at a company, I like to show my work and not stand still. The challenge was understanding the routine of the institution I was working in and then being in charge of the project because the people who were with me had to leave and start another one.
I had a presentation about what I was doing inside the project. In it, I reported what I was participating in, points that could be improved, and what I could do to improve what was already being executed. I presented this document to the whole team, and it was very rewarding.
What can you tell us about the MID Bootcamp?
Initially, the course helped me understand how to structure my projects and make my designs look more professional.
Until then, I thought I had to deliver a visually appealing product, but I didn't understand the context behind what it takes to achieve a relevant result for users.
Another important point for me to get my first opportunity in UX was networking. For it was one of Aela's students who advertised this position at MJV in the students' community.
I also learned a lot from those already working in the market who always share their experiences in Aela's community.
Also, the mentoring that we receive from the course is extremely important. When I started to improve my LinkedIn profile, I received great feedback from Fernando Padovan.
Another crucial thing for me to join MJV was the projects and exercises I did during the first levels of the Master Interface Design course. These projects built my portfolio because I had no experience or projects in the UX area.
I received valuable feedback on the projects I developed at each level. After that, I was able to keep evolving my UX Design portfolio.
I also mentioned the importance of the extra course videos that were essential to the study and the materials published on Aela's website.
In short, all levels and content of the Master Interface Design course need your full attention, and one should not skip steps just to e complete the course faster.
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What is your advice to those who want to pivot to UX?
My advice is based on how much a person wants to change. If you want to pivot careers, you need to realize how much this change will improve your professional life.
As such, my reason for pivoting was to learn, improve myself, and also to give a better quality of life to my family. One must want to change; otherwise, it won't work out.
Someone starting from scratch who wants to get into UX needs to know a few talented professionals in the area. You need to identify the information that the professional is giving you and check if they have credibility.
If my first tip is to have the willpower to change, the second is to know who will guide you, the mentors behind the institution.
In my process of joining Aela, I realized that it was an investment for my future. I was a little apprehensive about applying to Master Interface Design because I was employed. Still, I chose this change, and it was a great investment.
So today, I am extremely grateful to work with UX Design.