In this interview, Jonas shares his inspiring journey of discovering a new career path in UX Design after becoming dissatisfied with his previous occupation.
He discusses the significant role a fellow student in the Mastering Interface Design (MID) program played in assisting him with organizing his studies and navigating the difficulties of managing work and learning simultaneously.
Even amidst the added stress of the pandemic, Jonas learned how to cope with anxiety and got his first role in UX Design.
Prepare to be inspired by his remarkable story!
Jonas, to get started, please introduce yourself!
I graduated in advertising in 2011, but my professional life has always been linked to graphic design.
I started working in the third semester of college and kept climbing the ladder in agencies and companies until I became an art director.
After a while, I left the agency world, dedicated myself to being a freelancer, and then returned to the market, working in marketing but still as a graphic designer.
I worked as a graphic designer from 2011 to 2019.
What caught your attention in UX Design that made you decide to switch careers?
There came a point where I no longer felt fulfilled with my career in graphic design. I was no longer seeing myself in this profession.
From that point on, I looked for new possibilities within design, and for other fields that could be more interesting to me. I didn't want to totally detach myself from design.
In 2015, I decided to focus on freelance work, catering to clients in the cultural sector. I began by creating CD covers, museum communications, and other related projects. This was an area in which I felt more fulfilled, although I still continued to work with graphic design.
After that period, I returned to the market in the marketing department of a company, again working as a graphic designer.
However, the feeling of dissatisfaction began to return, and I realized that I needed to make a change, update my skills, and move forward.
This led me to research UX design and the vast universe that exists within and beyond Brazil.
I delved deeper and began looking for courses in this field, which is when I discovered Aela and the MID program.
Was there anything specific about UX Design that fascinated you?
I have always been very curious and interested in apps and digital products.
When I came across them, my eyes would light up, and I would wonder how they were developed, what the process was like, the flow, and how the product was created.
In this way, I started to look at these products with different eyes and tried to understand how they were developed, and what was behind these apps that we use every day.
In doing this research, I came across the terms UX Design, UI Design, and Product Design. I didn't really know these terms, even though I had worked a bit with Web Design, and today I know they are very different things.
I became more and more fascinated and researched the field until I decided to dive in because I thought it was a cool opportunity.
You started studying UX Design on your own. Can you give any tips for those who want to do the same?
There are many materials and content on the internet.
In fact, I started reading your articles and texts during the Choco La Design period.
But there are videos, articles, and specialized blogs that create great materials on UX Design and where people can start to understand the field better.
What was your study process like, already being a MID student?
I enrolled in the MID in December 2018.
At that time, I thought I could balance work with the program. But I was wrong! The MID has a very intense study routine.
I tried to balance these plates until October 2019, but it was very difficult for me. I worked all day, and when I got home, I didn't have the strength to study and couldn't perform well.
In the midst of this situation, I decided to research how I could quit my job to fully dedicate myself to my studies.
That's when I found an interview with another MID student, André Borges, and I contacted him.
André gave me several tips on this topic because he had made this move of leaving work to fully dedicate himself to the MID. We exchanged many ideas about the subject and became good friends.
With his tips, I got things organized and talked to my girlfriend about this move. She gave me total support and I fully dedicated myself to my studies from October 2019 to October 2020, when I got my first job in the area.
In the meantime, the pandemic broke out and I was already at level 3 of the program. This gave me a certain insecurity, but I kept studying.
How was the process of finding and landing your first UX Design job?
I studied until level 4 in the MID.
In my portfolio, I had two complete cases, one for Nespresso and one for Wikipedia. From there, I built my resume and began applying for jobs.
I started looking in mid-2020, but things were still very uncertain and unstable due to the pandemic. Many positions had been suspended.
But I kept looking, and after a while, I noticed that the market was improving. Companies were in great need of people to work with UX Design.
I sent out my resume and established some contacts. There were many rejections, but I was happy to have had the opportunity to talk to many HR people.
I decided to focus on Junior positions, and in October 2020, I finally landed my first job, one year after I decided to dedicate myself to studying UX Design.
How was the process to be hired for this position?
First, the company did a screening and they really liked my work, my portfolio, and how I structured the cases and showed my thoughts and reasoning. All of this I learned in the MID.
Then they asked me if I would like to take the test, and I said yes.
The test was pretty easy! But it was easy for this Jonas of 2020 because the Jonas of 2018 would not have been able to take and pass this test!
I owe a lot to the MID for my success in this process, because it gave me the basis and knowledge to be able to take and pass the test. I really knew what I was doing.
How has the job been? Are you working remotely? How was the onboarding process?
I work for a company that opened positions throughout the United States, so my position is 100% remote even after the pandemic.
I'm in my third week now. The first two were entirely dedicated to onboarding.
In this integration process, I was able to learn a lot about the product, met people, and schedule meetings.
The whole process was very well-structured, and I felt very calm with the reception and support I received, especially because I joined as a Junior UX Designer.
Reading Tip: Why Are Balanced Teams So Important To UX?
What has changed from when you were a graphic designer to now, in UX Design?
The first change was of mindset; of understanding that things are not only visual and aesthetic, but that you have to understand the user.
I was missing a lot of this "purpose" in graphic design. I constantly found myself asking things like, "What am I doing this for?", "What impact is this going to have on people's lives?"
In UX Design, we learn the importance of the user and how we are going to develop the product so that the needs are met.
Another big difference is in the understanding and involvement of the whole process.
As a graphic designer, I would put on my headphones, do my work, and that was it.
In UX, I have to research, think, sketch, and put together the journey and the wireframe.
The MID gave me this foundation because I didn't know how the process of creating and developing products worked. This was one of the biggest lessons I learned.
What would you say to Jonas from the past about your learnings?
In addition to everything I learned about UX Design, products, and processes, I also learned a lot about myself.
I learned a lot about anxiety, about the importance of taking a moment to breathe.
We want things to happen very quickly and in a hurry. We compare ourselves a lot to other people and often forget that everyone has their own time, their own journey.
I had many doubts and insecurities, but I learned to deal with them, with my own anxiety. I learned to hold on and understand that at some point, it would be my turn.
We get very anxious at the beginning of the course, and it escalates quickly if we don't learn to control it.
Do you have any final advice?
I would like to tell people to have patience and discipline.
Take time to study, watch videos, and read.
If you join the MID, you can be sure that the content is top-notch and that it will make a difference for you to be able to switch careers. It was certainly one of the great choices of my life to have started the MID program.
So, have patience, keep studying, and eventually, everything will work out for you!