In this interview, Leonardo tells us a bit about his journey into UX Design and why he decided to change careers, even though he had his own Graphic Design studio.
Leo, please tell us about your background!
I used to work as a Graphic Designer in my own design studio. In the studio, my partner and I did pretty much everything except for the development part, for which there was a team to focus on that.
As time passed—we founded the company ten years ago—I felt the need to evolve in my career and learn new things. I was eager to get experience with products, a type of work I was not doing in my studio.
As soon as I decided, I came across the UX field and decided to pivot to UX Design.
Could you tell us a little about Birdie?
Birdie is a new company whose product aims to optimize customers' shopping and consumption journey. The product is still under development and aims, at this first moment, to enter the US market.
It is interesting because, as much as people like to research products and make price comparisons, most people do not want to invest their time doing this kind of thing when buying online.
And to have all this research and data, Birdie has a big technology team; it's pretty cool.
Speaking of teams, we have a team that is in the US, a team in São Paulo, Brazil, I'm in Curitiba, Brazil, and there is a team in São Carlos, Brazil as well.
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And since the headquarters are in the US, is working remotely challenging for you?
Not at the moment. I've been working like this for about two years now. Of course, in the beginning, it was very challenging because of the discipline. But I believe it's all a matter of getting used to it.
What challenges have you faced in this first opportunity as a UX Designer? Was English a challenge?
English, for me, is not a challenge; I don't feel great difficulties with the language.
Birdie's recruitment process was carried out by the team here in Brazil, so it was pretty chilled.
The company's biggest challenge as a UX Designer is the product development stage. More specifically, the part of understanding the public.
Aligning the research and the results with the audience in the US is what has been challenging.
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Could you tell us about these audience surveys?
There is a direct acquisition team in the US. And remotely, we have a page that invites people to participate in the interview.
They register, get a voucher as encouragement, and we contact them to run the survey.
What do you think was important to get this position?
My portfolio was the first thing I thought about when I decided to change careers. It had been a long time since I updated my portfolio. And all the information I got from Aela was very important in helping me put this material together.
I managed to build my portfolio, but I still have opportunities to improve it.
Besides this, another important factor was passing the whiteboard challenge Birdie had assigned. It was an exercise with a time limit, and I managed to structure everything under time, and I was approved.
Which materials did you use to put your portfolio together?
The final material resulted from the exercises I did in the Master Interface Design course with the projects that I already had in my background.
Although I already had these past projects, they were not structured. It was the course exercises that made my portfolio more cohesive and tangible.
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How is the Master Interface Design course going?
I've been enjoying it a lot—especially the live classes, which are a very important complement.
The course structure is also very nice, with the classes, the challenges, and the feedback.
And the cool thing is that we learn how to develop the solution for the client and how to advocate for this solution.
What did you take away from the Master Interface Design that has helped you?
One thing that I see as really valuable is the relationship with other professionals who frequently live abroad.
They participate a lot in the community (Aela) and bring international market trends to us. I think this helps a lot to be able to evaluate my work.
Having opinions and feedback from other people is very important.
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And how is this new phase going as a Product Designer?
For now, I feel the anxiety of still being in the beginning. I've only been at Birdie for a month.
I want to do a lot of things, but I'm still in the adaptation phase, stumbling around a bit. But I believe it's just a matter of time to get my flow at work.
The challenge is very interesting. I'm learning a lot, and I'm glad about all this.
How is the UX Design market, in your opinion?
From what I've seen, my feeling is that there are many mismatched job openings.
The job descriptions don't match the hierarchy, the salary, that kind of thing. Companies are looking for people who will do just about everything and be cheap.
However, I still think that despite this, the number of openings has been increasing in the last year.
I've seen more courses and more graduate certificate programs as well. And this is good; it helps to boost the market.
What are your tips for those who want to transition to UX?
I usually say to people that the biggest turning point in UX Design is not the technical side of it but the concept.
UX Design has brought a new vision: User-centered Design.
When you realize the importance of this concept, things start to take another direction.
Your mindset for developing solutions changes completely. And many principles and methodologies are derived from this main perspective, the user-centric approach.
What are your next steps and plans?
I want to establish myself at Birdie. I want to focus on my work here and think about the next steps and how to grow here.