In this interview, Flávia talks about her challenges while balancing work and studies and how the pandemic positively impacted her dedication.
She also explains how a conversation with her mentor, Felipe, helped her overcome fears and insecurities and start looking for opportunities in the market.
Join us in reading this insightful interview filled with useful tips!
Flávia, to begin with, please introduce yourself to us
I'm Flavia and I'm 37 years old. I discovered your (Felipe's) work at Choco La Design and have been following you since then, which is how I learned about Aela.
My background is in graphic design, and despite there being a lot of online material about it, I was still quite distant from UX design.
My focus was mainly on creating beautiful screens and delivering cool material for advertising.
Only later did I understand that the concept of UX makes a lot more sense because it makes us study and think about the user, in order to deliver quality products that make sense to people.
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How did you discover UX Design?
Through Aela, actually. Then, I began looking for other materials to better understand this world.
At the time, there was already a lot of information, and I was checking a lot of materials to understand if UX design really made sense to me.
What do you think made your eyes sparkle for UX Design?
I see people trying to switch to UX for the same reasons that I did.
After working in advertising for a long time, I started questioning what I was delivering to the world and to the people. Some things no longer made sense to me.
For me, that was the most important point that made me want to change.
When I began to know more about UX, the contents that I saw brought me answers that I no longer had. Why couldn't I try to improve people's lives in some way?
With that, I realized that design still made sense to me, but I needed another perspective on the subject.
What was your study process like?
It was and still is really cool! UX is something that you never stop studying. So everything I read gave me a solid foundation to take me down this path.
For me, the most important thing was to organize the materials in a way that made sense with what I was doing.
Today, there are many courses and methodologies; it's not simply about applying these concepts in your daily life as if they were rules carved in stone.
The MID is structured in a way that leads you to understand this.
It's not a course that fills you with information and then you leave you to figure it out for yourself.
Did you become interested in UX and then you joined the MID, or did you study on your own for a while?
I studied on my own for a while to understand if it made sense to me and if I liked the field.
What advice would you give to those interested in transitioning to UX?
I read a lot of articles on Medium. I think there is a combination of different perspectives there. Mainly because many people put their own testimonials and points of view.
This helps you analyze if UX is really the area you want to transition to. By reading these articles, you align your expectations and don't deceive yourself. I think that's quite important.
Other things that make a big difference are the mentorships and side talks you suggest in the MID.
With that, you bring up many points that are related to technique but also to the industry. And I think it's important for people to have that understanding too.
How was the process of studying to switch to UX?
I think the process depends a lot on each person.
We need to establish our priorities and where we want to go and know that we must dedicate ourselves to achieve them.
I was upset with myself because, after joining the MID, it took me a while to start studying. My routine in advertising was insane, and it was normal to work until the wee hours of the morning. This situation made it difficult for me to organize my studies.
So, I made a commitment to myself. I thought, "The change depends only on me. If I don't sit down and organize myself, regardless of anything, I won't be able to transition."
In my case, the pandemic eventually collaborated with my studies because I had a reduction in working hours. With that, I took advantage of this free time to organize myself and create my study process.
Did you have any routine to help you stay focused during the pandemic?
I understood that when we are faced with a deluge of content, it seems like none of it makes sense.
So, when I found myself in this type of situation, I did not force myself to study to avoid any kind of frustration or discouragement.
I understood that I had to respect my limits.
Whenever I felt tired, I stopped and rested and continued my studies step by step.
How long did it take you to get your UX Design position?
Since I really started to focus on my studies, I think it took about 7 or 8 months.
How was the process of looking for a job in the field?
I knew I would need a portfolio, but I didn't feel confident enough to show my work. My level of demand was very high.
But it was at this point that we talked, Felipe, and you told me, "Perfection may not exist. I think you should try exactly at the level you are at and feel it as you go through the interviews."
That left a lasting impression on me, and I decided to try to look for opportunities, even with insecurity.
In this way, I built my portfolio and started networking with people in the field on LinkedIn.
For this specific position, a MID student posted it in our community of students. I contacted the person in charge, and it worked out.
But before that, I participated in several selection processes that did not work out.
During this journey, I received several nice feedback that helped me evolve in many aspects.
For example, in the tests, people would guide me on what I had done well and what could be improved.
That helped me direction and evolution-wise.
If I had not had the courage to begin to apply for jobs even with an imperfect portfolio, I might not have received all this help.
The feedback and perceptions were very important to me.
What was the biggest lesson you learned from all the feedback you received?
The biggest lesson came from a company here in São Paulo.
I went through about 4 stages before they sent me a test.
In the test, I structured everything according to what I learned in the MID, then I sent the finished case, and the person in charge of the area called me.
In this call, he explained point by point what he found interesting in my case and what he identified that I needed to develop more. He also explained what he himself would do if he were in my place, taking the test.
He was very open and said that if I wanted to talk again in about 6 months, that would be possible.
What is the main tip you would give to Flavia from the past?
I think I would say not to take so long to get started in the change process.
I regret a little bit of that; not having organized my study routine from the beginning. I waited until I reached a limit to force myself to do things.
Are you now satisfied with the transition to UX?
I have nothing to complain about the field or the market. People are very open, they have always been very helpful to me, and never ignored me.
Also, there are a lot of job openings!
I think if you are not in a hurry to get into a position in the field, it is worth getting yourself more prepared to understand where you want to go.
It is very important to understand what type of company you want to work for.
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Any final advice?
Go for it because it's so worth it!
Note: shortly after the interview, Flavia was invited to take a position at another company. Now, she will tell us a little more about this process.
Flavia, congratulations on your second opportunity in UX! Can you tell us how it was?
Through LinkedIn, a recruiter from Accenture contacted me, asking if I was interested in participating in a selection process.
I agreed, and it all worked out! I joined One Studio within Accenture in March. It's been really cool, and I'm learning a lot! I'm very happy!
Can you tell me a bit about the selection process?
The process had around 3 stages.
First, the recruiter talked to me to make this initial contact, then I spoke with the One Studio leader in a conversation of about an hour.
After that, I went to the red tape phase of going after some documents. This is a process that is not done here in Brazil; it is quite strict, but everything went well.
What is it like to work in UX Design in a large consultancy?
I think the best thing is the fact that you can participate in different projects with various clients.
My first project was with a well-known mining company, and now I joined another project in a hospital, which has a very different reality.
So, I think that being in a consultancy opens up the range of possibilities of work and methodologies that you apply, and that is very interesting.
Do you feel that you are able to apply your potential?
I feel safe because, in this studio, there are 50 other UX Designers. So, we establish great mutual support as a community. There is a lot of exchange and conversation.
The coolest thing is that this group's tendency is to grow even more. So, they ask for a lot of referrals, and it is a market that will grow a lot.
Has anything changed about your plans for the future?
In the past, the possibility of working abroad was a distant dream.
But now, being in a multinational and seeing that it is part of daily life, I think this dream has become closer.
Any final messages?
I think the market is very receptive, and people are willing to teach.
I still have the perception that it is a very friendly market, and there is a lot of demand and opportunity for professionals.
So, for those who have doubts, I can only say that it is so worth it. I am experiencing something that I never had the opportunity to, and I think everyone deserves it.
Have courage, do not be afraid to seek opportunities, and value yourself; there are vacancies for everyone!