Product Design in Canada – Interview With Daniel Hildebrandt
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Product Design in Canada – Interview With Daniel Hildebrandt

Product Design in Canada - Interview With Daniel Hildebrandt cover

Daniel talked to us about his experience transitioning from Graphic Design to Product Design. In addition, he also shares how was the process of moving to Canada, where he currently lives.

Check out more about Daniel's story and the tips he gives, both for those who want to switch careers and for those wishing to work as a Product Designer abroad!

Daniel, please tell us a little bit more about yourself and your journey into Product Design

I majored in Graphic Design and started working as a Motion Designer at a company that some friends still operate. This was in Florianópolis, Santa Catarina.

After a while, I decided to move to Rio de Janeiro because the job market was bigger. Around this time I started the Mastering Interface Design (MID) and decided I really wanted to move into UX/UI design.

I have always loved this industry, it's something that caught my attention since college, although I followed a different path.

Right in the first levels of MID, I started working with Product Design in a company here in Canada and recently changed jobs, but in the same function.

Final design interface by Daniel Hildebrandt

What was it like to leave Motion and switch to Product Design?

What I noticed was that the Motion Designer's job involved a lot of marketing and the personal taste of different people.

In Product Design we use databases, do opinion polls, and are always looking to create something that makes people's lives easier.

So when I arrived here in Canada to do my graduate studies, I was already much more prepared than many people in my class.

Talking to people also helped me a lot in the process, as I was able to understand more and more concepts, research methods, and how to create interfaces, among other things.

Besides this, I believe that my background in Graphic Design also contributed, because I already knew some concepts and terms, at least.

Wireframes of a project developed by Daniel Hildebrandt

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How was your process of going to Canada? And to get a job in UX?

In my case, as I wanted to specialize more and more in UX, I applied to a graduate school here in Canada. I passed and moved here.

And then, when you finish your course, you can extend your stay and apply for other types of visas, such as work visas.

During my course, I did an internship in two different companies. Toward the end of the course, I started applying for jobs using a variety of projects in my portfolio, including some that I developed during the MID.

I had a few interviews before I got this first job, but it didn't take long either. My background helped a lot in this process, as well as Motionpeople find it interesting to mix it with Product Design, so I tend to stand out in some interviews I've been doing.

In my current job, I saw a job opening in a UX/UI community here in Canada – they were even looking for someone who could do animation.

I talked to the responsible manager about the position and went for two more interviews – for those I brought my portfolio and explained all the processes involved in the development of the projects. After a short time, I was called for the position.

Visual elements definition for a project by Daniel Hildebrandt

How is your team working there?

I am on the public sites team, on the bank's site itself. Currently, in this project, we are a team of 13 people, about 8 product designers and the rest are miscellaneous designers. In the bank as a whole, I think there are about 80 designers.

We work very closely with the developers as well, I can't say exactly how many there are, and the Scrum Master as well, who organizes us to work within the Agile methodology.

There are a few other people involved as well, like content producers, who also work closely with us.

User Empathy Map created by Daniel Hildebrandt

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What is the biggest difference between the Brazilian and Canadian industries?

As I used to work in a big company in Brazil, I used to talk a lot with the UX designers there, and they would tell me that the market was a little bit messed up – that means people who didn't follow basic UX rules, or UX Designers working with UI as well.

Here in Canada, I see that, at least where I work, we really follow UX principles. We have other team members, like me, who are Product Designers, and we all have well-defined and delimited roles.

In Brazil, I haven't had much contact with the field, this is my perception based on what other people have told me. But I think this is the biggest difference.

Final product interface developed by Daniel Hildebrandt

What was the most useful thing that the MID provided you for this whole process that you experienced?

In fact, the MID continues to be so useful to this day. The community is amazing, and the amazing thing is that everyone is active in the exchange of knowledge and information.

In addition, the way the course was designed is something that worked very well for me.

The teachers are very good at conveying that they love their profession and want to teach other people to love it as well.

The classes are very good. There are many projects throughout the course, and you can feel your own evolution through these projects. I think the bar is set up high too, as we are trained to be as detailed as possible in our portfolio, which is essential in UX/UI Design.

I think the MID was essential to help me switch careers. The teachers explained very well the mindset we should have and the step-by-step of the projects.

For those wishing to pivot to UX Design, I recommend doing the MID program!

Problem definition for a project by Daniel Hildebrandt

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And what tips do you have for those who want to switch careers? And for those who want to go to Canada?

Canada is one of the most open countries in the world. But don't try to come here without knowing English – it's indispensable to speak and understand very well because you will need to present projects and communicate with team members.

Apart from that, the more you prepare yourself, the easier it will be. If you make a nice portfolio – including the MID itself right when you finish it to have something very good – you can already apply for jobs here.

If you speak English and follow the step-by-step, I don't see why you couldn't do it. But you need to be patient and dedicated because you will have to work hard in all aspects.

As for the transition to Product Design, I think that every background adds up.

If you come from Psychology, Administration, or Coding, it doesn't matter, you will be able to add something from your old area to Product Design.

The final interface of a project by Daniel Hildebrandt

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