Victor is a student of the MID program and tells us about his journey to switch to UX, having a background in industrial design.
He tells us how a bad experience discouraged his studies and what he did to recover and regain his energy.
In addition, Victor believes that his fluent English and curiosity were essential to do well in the job interview!
Victor, please tell us a bit about your story
Felipe, thank you very much for the opportunity!
My name is Victor Lyrio; I live in Rio de Janeiro, but I was born in Salvador. I also lived for 4 years in the USA, when my father went there to pursue his Ph.D.
During this time, I had the opportunity to study in an American school, so my English is fluent.
I've always loved technology and computers and do well with drawing. I tried to take computer science in college, but it didn't work out, so I decided to study industrial design, where I eventually ended up in the product area.
But even so, I felt that something wasn't right.
After exploring other fields, I stumbled upon UX and UI Design, which immediately captivated my interest due to their unique combination of technology and design.
So, I decided to study on my own, until one day I found Aela's MID program.
When I saw your free workshop, I was inspired to enroll in the program, which helped me a lot to improve myself, create a network, and keep evolving in my studies.
It worked out so well that I pivoted to UX successfully!
What was it about UX that captivated your interest and motivated you to change careers?
At the time, I was working in the physical product area, and I saw a connection between this field and the one I was exploring.
I became interested when I realized that the creation process was the same, but focused on technology, like developing software and mobile apps.
So, this was the connection: joining my previous experience with my interest in working with technology.
You studied UX on your own. What prompted you to enroll in the MID program?
I did look for some on-site courses, but I didn't find anything that I liked. I needed someone with me to understand more specific topics and to be able to build better connections between areas.
When I found Aela, I saw that the content was very much in line with what I was looking for, and the course seemed to be very good and interesting.
I saw you (Felipe) in the workshop talking about it in a way that sparked my interest and I thought it would be a good idea to start the program.
This was one of the reasons I decided to join it.
How was your study process?
It was a long time before I got my position, and there were definitely ups and downs in the process.
When I began my first project at level zero, I thought I was doing well. But once I began receiving feedback from the mentors, I realized that maybe I wasn't doing so well!
So I just took it slow.
When the program upgrade happened, I basically did level 1 all over again. And it was during this period that I got a little slower in my studies.
Also, at this time, I did some experimental work in a company for 2 or 3 weeks. But it didn't work out, and this discouraged me even more.
As a result, my productivity dropped a lot; my psychology was shaken.
I tried to seek other sources of knowledge though, like online conferences, to improve my networking and to meet other people.
It was only after I started seeing other people, other work, and attending lectures that I began to get motivated again. This process lasted about a year.
When the excitement came back, I managed to finish level 1, started level 2, and then some opportunities began to arise. I created my portfolio, the processes and interviews started, and then I got even more excited.
The process was basically like this until I got my first position in UX.
You had a chance to work early on, but it didn't work out. Today, with more maturity, how do you face this first experience?
I was excited, as a normal guy who thinks it will be easy and that he will be able to change the company from one moment to the next.
But this work experience was in an environment that I couldn't fit in. I think my head was not in the right place.
I didn't get along with some people and things didn't really work out.
But if you asked me if it would have been better if I hadn't had this experience, I would say quite the opposite.
This first experience had a great impact on me; it made me open my eyes about how I needed to act and behave in relation to work.
What I realized was that I cannot be the same person at work as I am at home. But it was only after this whole situation that I realized this.
That was one of the hardest lessons I've ever had.
You mentioned that when you felt discouraged, you sought out lectures and talked to other people. What did you find in these situations that made you regain your energy?
It was a slower change, not a quick one.
I saw in the talks what people were doing, and what projects they were presenting; I saw that this UX world was really cool and that it was possible to keep trying.
I realized that the problem was not me or the profession.
As I gradually returned to this path, opportunities began to arise, along with challenges to navigate and feedback to incorporate. Before I knew it, my excitement had returned in full force.
And how was it to study UX again? Did you change anything in the process?
I think I came back more confident and mature. I was able to approach the studies with more commitment, putting more effort into the projects and trying to make them more complete and complex.
How was the process to land your current position?
It was thanks to networking!
I saw a Brazilian guy posting in a UX group on Facebook, saying he had an opening for an international company. Particularly, I was a little afraid, but I decided to check it out.
We had a chat, and he really seemed like a nice guy. He lived in Canada and said that they were looking for a junior UX Designer, and that's what interested me about the position.
I thought, "I already speak English, and they want a junior-level professional, I think I fit the requirements."
After we talked, he called me for an interview; I presented my portfolio, and we talked some more.
Afterward, I went for an interview with the CEO of the company, and I had the highest expectations because it was the final approval.
I believe that one of the things that got me through the process was that I speak English.
Although the company is international and has UX Designers and people from all over the world, English was never a main requirement for them. As long as they could communicate, it was fine.
But in the interview, when I began talking, the CEO was immediately impressed.
In addition, what also helped me was that I talked about learning, that I am very curious, and that I like to know about things. That matched his mindset. He wants people to be learning all the time.
So, I think my English skills along with my ongoing learning process, were important to get my first job in UX.
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What is it like to work with UX Design?
The experience has been better than I expected.
People are very supportive, and the environment is very friendly. We first have a chat to break the ice, it feels like we are talking to everyday friends.
Besides, the environment encourages continuous learning, which is something part of my values.
I was paired with 3 other Brazilians and, by chance, I didn't get to meet the Brazilian guy who interviewed me. He was leaving the company and it was such a pity that I didn't get to know him better.
Another thing, I’m free to pinch in and give ideas and I think this is a very good thing. Even in the beginning, without knowing the product well, I felt at ease to speak my perceptions and insights.
I tend to do more UI than UX, but I don't regret it. From the beginning, I knew I would work with something I liked, and today I feel very confident.
In the beginning, I was a little apprehensive, afraid of doing something wrong or getting fired. But today I feel at ease and very well integrated with the company.
How is it to work remotely for a company in another country? Does it have any impact on the time zone?
I am lucky that my time zone is Toronto/New York, so they are only one hour behind Brazil. This helps me a lot!
My communication is mainly with the design team and the CEO. The design team is composed almost entirely of Brazilians, there is only one person there who is Canadian. So there is this convenience.
I don’t have much contact with people from other countries, like China, and India. I only run into them in bigger meetings.
So, I don't have much trouble with remote work, it has been quite easy, actually.
What I had to adapt was my workspace here at home. I set up a Home Office because I felt the need to have a place focused on work.
Initially, I worked from my bedroom, but it turned out that the resting place became my workplace as well. I wanted to change that.
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If you could go back in time, what would you tell Victor from the past about this whole journey?
I think that if I could go back, I would leave Victor from the past alone to get to where I am now.
I know that I went through many hardships and difficult times, but I wouldn't change anything because I would like Victor from the past to live the same things so that I could get exactly where I am.
So I wouldn't say anything to him! (chuckles)