In this interview, we talked with Victor Hugo Araújo, a Mastering Interface Design (MID) program student who transitioned to UX Design.
Victor tells us how a social vision and a desire to change the world influenced him to study UX and Product Design.
Additionally, Victor shares how he used the MID community to improve his knowledge and understand when he was ready to look for an opportunity in Product Design.
Victor, to start, can you tell us a little about yourself?
I am Victor Hugo Alves Araújo and I currently work remotely for a Brazilian company in Brasília.
My first degree was in Philosophy back in 2005. Although I don't put that on my resume, Philosophy gave me a different view on how to study and research.
I ended up going into a more artistic area and started an audio production company, which gave me the experience of entrepreneurship and understanding products.
Later, I joined two courses: Systems Development and Information Technology Management. From that, I started working a lot with WordPress and customizations aimed at e-commerce, serving clients from Brasília and elsewhere.
After a while, I became interested in Kanban. It was around the same time that Eric Ries released the Lean Startup book and I began to exchange information about it with my friends. When I was in college, there was no project and product culture in Brazil.
So when we tried to apply Agile and these methodologies, it was done in a careless way. It worked up to a point. Clients wanted more demand-driven design and less strategy. But even so, understanding these methodologies was very enriching at the time.
Then, I continued studying. I studied governance, and people management, and pursued a graduate degree in education and culture. The education area always interested me.
At one point, I even thought about doing a master's degree, but I was in a very intense period. A small child at home, a lot of work. I had to decide between running the agency or focusing on my studies. I decided to focus on studies and that's when I got to know the UX and UI field.
At that time, I was impacted by a MID advertisement, but it was very early. I was very interested and thought it could change my life. But at that moment, I let that desire go.
So you got to know the MID, but it still took some time for you to actually enroll in it.
Your story is very interesting, so many things involved! Why did you decide to go down the UX path?
I think it was a beautiful process, which involved a lot of intuition and patience.
It was at my wedding that I really decided to pursue the UX path, about two years ago.
When I got married, I received two children as gifts, one was 20, and the other was 12 years old at the time. This made me think: How can we create digital products that don't make our children addicted or sick?
The principle of my decision was very focused on the social perspective.
I really believe that we can change the world when we change our positioning towards things.
When I began my studies on design, I increasingly realized that it was a fundamental tool to "hack" the way things are built today in the world.
So, from this understanding, everything started to make sense. Everything I had learned began to integrate, and all the knowledge I had acquired over time began to converse. It was something beautiful!
And this process still continues. For example, I'm studying UX and Data, an area where I have a knowledge gap. So, I'm learning how to integrate data with UX in a professional way. This is very enriching and cool!
So, I think the reason to dive into UX was because of this spark that ignited. More than money or anything else.
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It's great to see all these connections between things. In the end, design is that. Bringing everything we've learned together and using it to solve a problem.
How did you organize yourself to stay focused on your studies?
I tried to study as if I were in a specialization course. I focused on my gaps.
So, I focused on the live classes and the community. Because for me, it wasn't just a formula. What Aela provides is not a formula for you to learn how to create personas, for example.
Don't get me wrong, personas are important. What I mean is not to just think about formulas. Learn how to work!
And that's what Aela provides in the community. There are people of all levels who have gone through various experiences. This exchange is so valuable.
So, I focused on the live classes, and the community, and read a lot of materials to support my discussions with other students. In this sense, I focused mainly on UX Research, which was the skill I wanted to enhance, to prioritize this strategic part.
When I got home, I read all the possible articles. I also used my breaks and any free time I had to study.
I knew I wouldn't be able to follow the course schedule because I was already in the market and had work to do every day. So, I decided to focus on exchanging experiences to improve my learning process.
It's really cool what you said about the community. Many people highlight how the community adds value.
Do you have any piece of advice for those who are entering the community now, to better take advantage of this exchange?
Have a very clear idea of where you want to go and how you're going to get there.
Today, the market is very crazy, even in terms of senior, mid-level, or junior positions. There are senior people who don't know what product sense is and who don't work with research in a professional way.
So, we have to be very specific about what we want from our career, and where we want to go, and try to deliver a result that is compatible with what we believe.
For example, I'm working in an education company. On the same day I received the proposal for this company, I received another proposal to work at a bank.
But I wanted to focus on the education area, even though I knew that the company was at a different stage, with different challenges. It's something that is aligned with my life purpose.
And the money is the result of that.
You mentioned two proposals. When did you realize it was time to look for a UX Design position?
It was when I realized that most of the gaps and insecurities I had were resolved.
And I realized this when I began to exchange experiences with other people, with peers. I made comparisons with people, in a positive way, and realized that I could be at a good level and prepared to face new and bigger challenges.
So, I believed I was ready to move forward and went on to undergo several interviews. Some I was approved for but didn't want to pursue, others I wasn't approved for but really wanted to.
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What can you say for those who have not yet or are in the process of being interviewed for a UX position?
I think it's essential to understand the company you're applying to and have an idea of which team you'll be working with.
If you don't know the team, then understand the business as a whole.
Secondly, understand the challenge you'll have there. Understand whether you're better prepared to go to a certain company or not.
Another important thing is to have confidence in what you know. But remember that no one knows everything.
You may have 20 years of experience in the market and you still won't know everything.
Staying humble is important too.
Now that you're in the market, what are your next plans?
In terms of career, first, I would like to work with international clients, have other experiences, and live other possibilities in life. But for now, something remote because I have three children, and switching countries would be more complicated.
Besides that, I believe that the seed of what I want to work on interaction-wise has already been planted in my master's degree, and now I want to do a specific Ph.D. that will integrate even more of all my knowledge and history.
There is a very broad literature that involves knowledge of cognitive psychology that is still not very clear to me. That's why I want to integrate these understandings more and more.
In addition, I intend to focus on my purpose and only work with companies that align with it.
Victor, to finish with a classic question here in interviews, what would you say to your past self when you were still studying and starting your journey?
Don't forget that your heart has to be as light as a feather. Don't forget that your heart has to be a feather. Take life lightly and learn with patience so that life unfolds.