Recently, we connected with Cindy Do, a UX Academy graduate—and now a Product Designer at Kard, a SaaS technology company.
Cindy shares her experience making the career shift, and how she was able to land a role in the UX field even amidst a challenging job market.
What did your career look like before you decided to pursue UX?
After attaining my undergrad degree in Business Administration, I started my career at an enterprise software company as a data analyst. During my 5+ years there, I worked various roles in sales operations, marketing, and data analytics.
How did you end up deciding to pursue a UX career?
As a data analyst, my day-to-day involved Excel sheets, charts, and code. Although I enjoyed the challenge of making sense out of data, I always wanted to pursue a creative path.
One of my responsibilities as a data analyst was to design dashboards that were used by our internal marketing and sales teams to track things like marketing campaigns and sales revenue.
I found that I really enjoyed the design aspect of dashboards and wanted to expand my skills to other types of products. This is how I discovered product design and realized that it was the perfect middle ground for my skills and aspiration: data and design.
How did you gain the skills you needed to land your first position in Product Design?
I had already gained valuable experience working with business stakeholders and engineers in my role and I wanted to supplement this with Designlab's UX Academy to gain formal knowledge on user research and visual design.
I chose Designlab because of the hands-on, relevant curriculum, and mentorship from real-world professionals. I also really appreciated the community of students and I met some amazing friends in my city through the program.
What was your experience with the interview process for UX roles?
During my job search, my mentor was instrumental in helping me revise my portfolio case studies and prepare for interviews.
The interview process for my current position involved:
1st round: Recruiter (20min)
2nd round: Hiring manager (30min)
3rd round: Take home design challenge
4th round: Virtual onsite (5 rounds in 2 hours)
5th round: VP of Engineering (30min)
A design project by Cindy Do
What are some of the unique challenges that you face, now that you’re working in the field?
A unique challenge I face working in SaaS is needing to deeply understand our users AND end-users. As the only designer at the company, I support all sides of our business - our issuers (banks), merchants (stores), and our internal operations teams.
There are endless use cases for every user so I keep close collaboration with my product managers to prioritize what's most valuable for the business and our users.
Another challenge I face is working with a very complex and technical product. As a designer, it's my job to figure out how to make it easily understandable and usable to non-technical users.
On the day-to-day, I keep close collaboration with my engineers through daily stand-ups and quick huddles to review designs.
The great part about working at a small company is being able to get to know everyone very well.
StepInvest, a design project by Cindy Do.
What are some of the ways that your time at Designlab empowered you to succeed in your current role?
In Designlab, I learned the various research and design methods involved in each step of the design process. The knowledge I gained from Designlab helps me determine what method I need to use to get the information I need.
For example, when I need to visualize the end-to-end user experience and uncover any edge cases, I create a user flow and use this artifact as a discussion point to get my team aligned.
Although not every project follows the exact same process, getting practice creating these deliverables during the Designlab curriculum helped me understand the end-to-end design process and gave me confidence in executing it in the real-world.
FreeFuse, a design project by Cindy Do.
What are some of your favorite things about working as a designer?
My favorite part about being a product designer is being challenged with a problem that is completely new to me. It's fun digging deep into the problem to understand it from a user and technical perspective. I enjoy working with my team to come up with solutions and ultimately seeing the design come to life.
I also love getting into the nitty-gritty details like:
What should this button look like?
How should this input field function?
I believe small details make a huge impact on the aesthetic of the design, enhancing the overall user experience.
Inspired by this story? You can connect with Cindy on LinkedIn.