Starting your first job in an entirely new career path during a pandemic is not ideal—but working as a UX Designer for Amazon is.
"It’s been a bit strange starting a new job during COVID-19 – I’ve been working from home since day one, and haven’t met many of my coworkers in person,” says UX Academy graduate, Emily Pak. “But overall, it’s been outstanding, and I’m so glad I landed at Amazon."
Before starting her career switch journey with Designlab, Emily was an Account Executive for Taphandles, a beer marketing company—a position that embodied her with the transferable skills of empathy, organization, and time management.
"The workflow at Amazon is totally different from my previous position in sales, and much more self-paced—similar to UX Academy—but my previous career definitely helped me build a solid foundation of business and professional skills that are now beneficial as a product designer."
Now at Amazon, Emily is working on the Heavy Bulky Team—meaning her team is literally designing for big, heavy, or bulky things—like furniture or other large items. The team is working out how to make the buying and delivery process as seamless as possible for Amazon customers.
I feel like I was really able to hit the ground running and have learned so much over my time so far at Amazon.
Emily is currently working remotely due to the pandemic. But she’s been in close communication with her product managers, while also syncing up with other designers for feedback—very much like UX Academy group critiques.
On the more oversized problems, Emily and other product designers team up to brainstorm and innovate, making sure they’re doing the best they can for Amazon’s many, many users.
"My new career in UX design is incredible. I finally feel like I've found a ‘real career’ that I’m interested in," says Emily. "There are things that are exactly as imagined, and some things that are very different. For example, I didn't realize just how many different use cases can exist in one user flow!"
Since Emily has been working from home during her entire tenure at Amazon thus far, she has not experienced all of the in-office perks yet—but she knows there are tons.
"One recent benefit I took advantage of was the opportunity to donate to various racial justice organizations, and Amazon matched my donation, which I thought was really awesome," Emily says.
Now that Emily has graduated and landed this amazing job that she loves at Amazon, she has some advice for current UX Academy students...
- Really lean in on all the coursework and mentorship provided to you. Take thorough notes, read and reread them, and really grasp the concepts, taking the time to understand what's being taught.
- Take advantage of your mentor and career services.
- Do as much design work for real businesses as you can—even if it’s just your family's restaurant—and don’t be afraid to show your designs to anyone and everyone.
- Finally, networking is huge. Start leveraging your network as soon as you can and share your portfolio as much as possible.
The fast pace of UX Academy definitely mimics the deadlines of the real design world, so it’s important to find the right pace.
Speaking of pace, outside of this new, exciting career, Emily is working on slowing life down and settling in Seattle. "My husband and I just bought a house, so my life is pretty much working on house projects and trying to soak up as much sun as possible," Emily says.
Emily is determined not to let the learning stop even though her time in UX Academy has ended. Knowing the field of UX design is so dynamic, she has set a professional goal to read one UX design-focused book per quarter.
"I am proud to be a UX Designer and definitely chose the right path," Emily concludes.
Connect with Emily on LinkedIn and check out her portfolio.
The views expressed by Emily are hers alone and they do not necessarily reflect the views of Amazon.com.