What exactly does a UX designer do?

What do you do for work?

Hopefully it’s something you’re proud of, whether the answer is tied to your identity or is a means of achieving peace of mind to allow you to fulfill your passions. Our team thinks about this question a lot as we work to make CareerAnalytics the essential tool you need to reach your professional goals. Over the past two years, a global pandemic has shifted our ways of thinking about work and its place in our lives, and like you, many of us have made the leap into new careers at some point. Work/Life is a monthly mini series delivered to you by email that puts a face to the people who bring you CareerAnalytics—but more than that, it’s a way to introduce you to different career perspectives and insights on applying to a certain field. At the very least, you’ll get a good podcast recommendation out of it. 

Meet Leif

Meet Leif, Product Designer at CareerAnalytics

He’s a Product Designer at CareerAnalytics. After making the switch from being a regional customer experience manager to the field of UX design in 2020, he’s discovered that his career path is more connected than he previously thought. Continue reading for a look inside his career journey.

What do you do at CareerAnalytics?
I’m a product designer, which in this case is a digital product. I research, design, and test different ways to improve how you use CareerAnalytics, which—if I’m doing it right—hopefully helps you find a new direction or achieve advancement in your career.

You recently made a career switch into a different field of work. What did you do before, and what skills stuck with you in the transition?
I managed a CX (customer experience) team for the Americas at an accessories company. I was in a position where I oversaw operations for the company’s customer service teams in the Philippines, Mexico City, and Long Island in New York. Before the pandemic changed office life to make remote work the norm, I was already used to the modes of communication that everyone uses now. It has definitely helped me organize my day-to-day and deliverables at work since our team is all over the world. A lot of what I was doing in my previous job was UX, I just didn’t know it at the time. Being a designer who is focused on the user’s experience foremost, it’s helpful to have been in a position where I needed to incorporate the voice of the user in meetings.

What influenced you to make a career switch?
Like most people recently, I think the pandemic made me think about what I wanted out of my career. I didn’t just want to be in a reactionary role. I wanted to be able to create solutions to problems and begin to apply more of my interest in design to my work. I had worked with the UX team at my previous job in some capacity and started to do some more research into it to see if it was a right fit. Actually, before I joined CareerAnalytics I was invited to take the Five Factor Personality Test and found out I had a 90% match for UX designer, which was reassuring. It also helped me figure out what I could highlight in my LinkedIn to pursue jobs that I would be qualified for. The most insightful result for me was my score on “Openness,” which helped me assess something as abstract as prioritizing creativity into more concrete terms as well as “Conscientiousness” because, at the end of the day, I am designing for others.

What have you found out about the field since starting your new career?
At its core, UX design is a field where its practitioners are designing products or services with the user in mind before any questions of aesthetics come into play. The product could be a digital one or a physical one, which I like because I’ve been looking more into interior and industrial design and how they would be approached from a UX perspective. I’ve found that disciplines borrow from each other, so there’s a lot of opportunities when you’re in the design space to carve out a niche for yourself, and that freedom is exciting.

What do you like most about your work/life balance in this field?
So far, I’ve had a lot more opportunities in design and tech to be able to work remotely and have flexibility in freelance work. I’ve been lucky enough to be able to work with a team that communicates really well despite international time differences, and it hasn’t taken up time out of work hours. 

Favorite podcast to commute to?
I don’t commute anymore, but I like to mimic the experience by taking a walk in the reservoir by my house and listening to “Design Details” before starting the day.

Work snack situation?
Amy’s frozen burritos are a staple. I also recently got a SodaStream—it’s really spiced up my hydration routine.

Last question: What advice do you have for people thinking about making a career switch?
Do as much research into yourself as you do your new career. What do you like to read about? What are you drawn to in movies or in conversation with friends? If you can find the thread that connects what gets you excited to think about daily and what kind of job allows you to sustain your current or idealized lifestyle, then you’re on the right track.

Find out what career you might be a good fit for and how to market yourself to employers by exploring the different tools at CareerAnalytics

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