Robin's Story: From Dentistry to Product Design

Learn how Robin Amorim made a full career switch from dentistry to product design, with the help of UX Academy.

Maria Myre
Maria Myre
Oct 31, 2023
Min Read

Today, we’re excited to introduce you to UX Academy graduate—and working Product Designer—Robin Amorim.

From dentistry to management, Robin’s career development has taken many surprising turns. In each role, Robin leveraged her unique skill set and passion for improving the lives of others to make an impact.

What were you doing before Designlab?

Before joining Designlab, my career path took a unique turn. In 2010, I graduated from Dental School and started practicing as a dentist. While I appreciated the human-centered approach of caring for patients and restoring their smiles and self-esteem, the daily routine of a dental office wasn't my ideal fit. 

So a year later, I returned to my studies and embarked on a post-graduation program in Engineering.

 In 2015, I began working at an early-stage Edtech Startup called Estante Mágica, where I was the fifth employee. Because of my background in Engineering, my initial role involved structuring and managing the Supply Chain department. 

Over nearly five years with the company, I oversaw the production and logistics of more than 1 million books in a country as vast as Brazil.

What made you decide to pursue a career in UX design? Why did you choose Designlab to help you reach your career goals?

In January 2020, I accepted the opportunity to manage the Customer Success team. At that time, the team was well-structured, with clear communication frameworks, and workflows.

However, the sudden onset of the pandemic disrupted everything, catching us off guard, including our primary customers: schools.

Schools had transitioned to remote learning, and our business model was originally designed for in-person classrooms.

This challenging period required us to adapt rapidly, not only to our new remote reality but also to assist schools in addressing their own challenges.

Being closely connected with our customers and striving to find innovative ways to support them led me to explore tools and methodologies that could help alleviate their pain points.

This search for solutions introduced me to the world of UX/UI design.

And Designlab was the perfect match! 

To make decisions like these, I typically organize my thoughts into a spreadsheet, outlining important criteria and creating a scoring system to guide me. This approach served me well when researching UX/UI courses. I evaluated course syllabi, costs, durations, mentorship opportunities, perks, and even considered reviews from alumni. 

Among all the options I explored, Designlab stood out as the most promising choice, and it has proven to be an excellent decision.

What did your job search look like? How did you land your current position?

As we navigated the challenges brought by the pandemic in 2020, the Product team increasingly collaborated with the Customer Success team. They sought my assistance with process improvement, workflow optimization, and iterative enhancements.

After a year, I found myself almost seamlessly integrated into the Product team, regularly participating in their daily meetings. 

It was during the early stages of my UX Academy when an opportunity arose for a Product Designer role within the team. I was fortunate to be extended an invitation to join.

What does your job look like as a designer? What are some of the unique challenges that you face?

One of the most significant challenges I encounter is managing time and prioritizing tasks effectively. When you complete a course like Designlab, you leave with a well-structured design process, with defined timelines, envisioning an ideal world without constraints (technical, financial, etc.). 

However, the real-world context often differs. 

For instance: startups, characterized by a fast-paced environment and limited resources, present unique challenges. They frequently involve addressing numerous user pain points with limited time and resources.

Therefore, understanding what to prioritize and how to allocate time to address specific problems and deliver solutions rapidly is crucial. The principle is to deliver quickly and iterate as needed, emphasizing the importance of failing fast (though, ideally, not failing at all) and learning faster. Spending too much time crafting the "perfect experience" can sometimes be counterproductive if it delays delivering value to users. Therefore, it often involves delivering the minimum viable (or lovable) product, observing its usage, and making necessary adjustments post-implementation.

What are some of the ways that your time at Designlab empowered you to succeed in your current role?

Beyond the technical knowledge I gained, the most valuable aspect of my time at Designlab was the development of soft skills.

I distinctly remember that during the UX Foundation phase, I hesitated to participate in group critiques, feeling quite timid about presenting and giving feedback. However, the UX Academy made group critiques mandatory, which turned out to be a transformative experience.

Participating in these critiques taught me how to articulate my design challenges, ask the right questions, and listen actively. I was amazed by how much I learned from these sessions. Group critiques are one of the aspects I miss most from my Designlab journey.

Another immensely beneficial aspect was the mentorship opportunities. These sessions didn't just enhance my technical skills but also broadened my understanding of the design profession, career pathways, challenges, and opportunities. They also helped me refine my communication skills. Having dedicated time with experienced professionals, receiving their guidance and advice, has been a pivotal factor in my personal and professional growth.

What are some of your favorite things about working as a designer? Are there any that surprise you?

One of the most fulfilling aspects of working as a designer is the close connection with customers. Understanding their pain points and discovering ways to simplify their lives is immensely rewarding. There's nothing quite like receiving feedback on an experience you've designed, with users expressing how much it has improved their lives.

Additionally, I appreciate the opportunity to engage with the broader business context. To design any experience effectively, you must comprehend both its impact on the user and its implications for the company. I relish this general perspective that a Product Designer brings to the table, and I believe it sets us apart as valuable contributors.

Furthermore, I find immense joy in the freedom that comes with being a Product Designer. I've had the privilege of working remotely and embracing the digital nomad lifestyle. 

Currently, I'm residing in my seventh country, and I must say, I'm thoroughly enjoying this unique experience! Living and working in different countries, immersing myself in diverse cultures, and observing how people respond differently to similar situations has been a profound journey. 

This has not only broadened my horizons but also deepened my sense of empathy and enriched my design perspective.

Sending the biggest congratulations to Robin in this new stage of her career.

– Team Designlab

Launch a career in ux design with our top-rated program

Top Designers Use Data.

Gain confidence using product data to design better, justify design decisions, and win stakeholders. 6-week course for experienced UX designers.

Launch a career in ux design with our top-rated program

Top Designers Use Data.

Gain confidence using product data to design better, justify design decisions, and win stakeholders. 6-week course for experienced UX designers.