Okay, I think it started.
Hello everyone, I can see all the attendees filing in. Thank you so much for being here and for waiting a little bit; we had some technical difficulties before. Okay, yes, I'm seeing more people coming in. Maybe while we're waiting for more people to come in, can you just put in the chat where you're calling in from? And I will try to guess what time zone you're in—like what time it is for you.
So I'll put an example; I am Jennifer calling in from Vancouver, BC. So, if you can just write down where you're calling in from the chat… wait, where are you calling in from IN the chat, then I'll guess your time. Then I don't know if anybody knows what time it is here in Vancouver, BC, but I will be very impressed if somebody knows. Okay, so we have people from Legos, Nigeria… sorry Lagos. Lagos I feel like I should know how to pronounce it but it is 5 pm there, I know for sure because our panelist Eric is also from Nigeria and it's 5 pm.
Nashville, Tennessee; okay I swear I know where Tennessee is but I don't know the time zone. I want to say like, 10 am? 11 am? I assume it's like in the middle or like the East somewhere. Sorry, I'm not American, so I don't know.
Okay, from Lagos-Nigeria, South Africa, oh is that… 6 pm? Oh my gosh, I can't believe I got the times right. Okay, thank you so much for confirming us there. Okay, now I'm really hoping I got the South African time zone right because I feel like it's ahead but my geography knowledge is also really bad, so every time I do this activity, like if you've attended our previous events, I do this like every time and it helps me learn so much about geography. Okay, so someone guessed that it's 11 am in Vancouver. Actually, it is 8 am here, so this event is kind of fixing my sleep schedule.
Okay, thanks for putting everything in the chat. I'm gonna start sharing my screen and do an intro now. Okay, hopefully you can see my screen. It keeps telling me my screen sharing is paused, but I don't know if you can see it. Can somebody confirm in the chat somewhere if you can see my screen? Okay, yeah if it doesn't work I'll just share it verbally and then you'll just have to look at my face. Yeah, I don't think it's gonna work. Okay, I guess you just have to look at my face for this presentation. But basically, EntryLevel helps you learn and get experience so that you can get hired, but if you're already here I'm sure you know all about us. We have a few programs—maybe you can put in the chat which program you have taken or are interested in, because like this is a UX design event but I'm sure some of you have taken like marketing, data analysts, product management, venture capital… those are our most popular, I think. So, feel free to put in the chat so I can, like, get some sense of your background. Oh, and our panelist, Eric, will be listening to you so he can tailor all his answers to your interests.
But while you're putting it in the chat, I will go ahead with discussing the agenda. So, how our Q & A's usually go is; I'm gonna introduce everything—that's what I'm doing now—and then I have some prepared questions that people ask ahead of time for Eric, and then you guys can ask questions using the Q & A box, so if you, like, look at the chat and then on the side, I think there should be one for Q & A, so you can ask there and then at the end, we'll just… it's like in but you will also get a recording of this session in your email and it's also going to be on our YouTube, so please follow us on YouTube or subscribe, okay?
So before we start please be respectful; so no inappropriate questions, please. And then, you can also probably like, comment, and upvote other questions, but we won't be able to see or hear you, so if you want to ask a question live, I'm just going to ask you to message the hosts and panelists in the chat and then raise your hand and then I can call on you. But if you ask the question live, you're gonna be in the recording which is going to be posted on our YouTube. So, if you're okay with that, then you can just raise your hand and ask a question.
Okay, so now I have also a poll. Okay, hopefully this works. Okay, so this poll is just asking for your level of experience in tech; whether you're a complete beginner, you took a few courses, or if you already had an internship. So, if you can just vote in the poll, I think this is a better way of engagement, rather than just asking the chat but it looks like most people have taken a few courses. Like 43% voted ‘took a few courses’, some people are complete beginners, we have 22%. So, four lucky people actually had an internship or a job in tech, so that's amazing. Awesome.
I'm gonna end the poll now. Hopefully, you guys can see the results on your screen somewhere. But it's very interesting results; I had expected more people to be complete beginners. Okay, so now I'm gonna introduce Eric.
So Eric Boluwatife—I think that's the right pronunciation—is a product designer at IDS and he took a UX design program with us, but I can… Eric do you want to introduce yourself?
Okay, yeah good day, everyone. I know… I think a larger percentage of those who are here are from Nigeria, so it's evening here, so good evening. Yeah, so, I’m Eric Boluwatife—it’s Boluwatife, actually—so I’m Eirc Boluwatife; I'm a product designer at IDS; it's a design agency based in Georgia, USA. Yeah, so let me stop there for now. So, that's pretty much it.
Awesome. Thanks so much for sharing. Can you talk a little bit about your journey learning UX design? Like what resources you used to learn and then how you eventually got your job.
Okay, yeah. So, my entry into product design was sometimes around May earlier this year where I kind of like joined a bootcamp. Then, the bootcamp was a three months program and funny enough, during the old program… and I joined the program then it was all cool and fine, but at the point I was supposed to be a part of the… I was supposed to join the project phase which was open to those who had a particular grade, but then based on the marking scheme, I couldn't join the project phase. I felt really bad, you know, but then I did not let that bring me down doing that period. I felt it would be a good opportunity for me to join EntryLevel.
So I joined EntryLevel and when I joined EntryLevel, it helped me increase my UX design skill. And I took the course, did my project, and after the whole project was how I landed my first job. So, that's just… that's my brief journey here.
Oh, thank you so much for sharing. Can you dive into the specifics of the job search? Like I saw your portfolio. It was very good so if you had tips on portfolio job search how you landed a remote job, that would be really helpful.
Okay, so basically, I'll start by saying; during the whole training period, yeah while I was just learning product design—because yeah I started with graphic design but then the… my graphic design experience also, I would say it’s minimal in a way because I didn't really like take it very serious, in the sense that when I started graphic design, it was just me meeting a friend to show me how Photoshop’s interface work and then introduced me to most of those things, so I did a little… I did a little design. So, while I was still working on 10-days challenge… sorry, I mean a 30-days challenge just to improve myself in graphic design, I came across the bootcamp. So, while I joined the bootcamp, I was still feeling reluctant. It was that bad that when I started graphic… when I started UI/UX design thing, I couldn't use the figma interface because it felt so distracting to me, so I felt really bad that I… the first project I did then, I had to complete it on my mobile device because I could not operate figma on system. So it was that bad I maybe I'll just check around if I can see the design and I'll share with you so we can share with them or probably… I don't know if if we can look for that later.
So, that was my first project though, and when I started, I did not feel discouraged. I made research, I… Twitter has been helpful for my whole journey because as at when I started, it was easy for me because I joined different Twitter spaces. I joined different Twitter meetings, I got to know more about UX design, more about product design, how it all works and you know, I can… I have a list of senior designers I look up to.
Also, one very important thing also that helped me during my upscaling process was ADP List. ADP List really contributed a lot to my goal because I was able to meet with more senior designers; like, not even my country-based… like, I met with a lot of senior designers; Designers from Meta, from Tesla, from different companys and design agencies also. So, you know, all of these things.
I show them my work sometimes for review, I tell them when I have problem, I show them my designs, and they give me their critics and, you know, so that was the whole thing for me so…
Wait is it just me or is Eric frozen for everyone? Maybe confirm in the chat but I did write a summary of what he was saying.
Okay good, so it's not just me. So, I wrote a summary of what he was saying. I thought it was really interesting that he said to immerse yourself in… oh hey Eric, are you back? Oh but…
Yeah, I think it was the network. So, yeah… sorry.
Okay can you hear me now?
Okay, good. So, yeah I… sorry, what was the last thing you heard so I can know where I stopped.
I was just summarizing what you said. So, I found it very interesting that you kind of focused on immersing yourself in the design community, right? You got mentorship and through the feedback that you got from other people in the community, you improved.
Yeah, sure, sure. Okay, so like I was saying, I was… I was about talking on my first projects. Now, the first project that I worked on doing was a website design. If you check my portfolio, I think… okay, no, the first project that I worked on after my own… the first design I did on my phone, then I think the first way that I worked on was a redesign, which was very awkward, you know. Revisiting the design, I later realized everything I used in the design was rectangles instead of frames. I felt bad about that but then I felt okay; at least I can still measure a huge growth so far, so, you know.
Then after the old redesign that looked awkward, I worked on a website design. The website design went well, I did a dashboard also and I posted it on my Twitter. So I would also advise anyone who is starting out in in the tech world; generally, it's very good to share work. You don't know who is looking at your work, you don't know who reach out to you because when I shared my dashboard design then, I remember a a designer, I don't really know who the person is, but then, if I still check my Galaxy—I took a screenshot—he kind of like, replied under the post. He was like, “yeah, this is very good for a junior designer,” and I kind of like felt pumped and it made me want to do more.
So after the website design, then I proceeded to creating a case study and that was the final project for my first bootcamp. So, you know, while I was working on the case study, I did all of the research even though it wasn't as full as it was supposed to be, I did the whole research. After the research, I started my wire framing and sketching all of those so I went straight to design. And after I was done with the old design, before I started creating my documentation and case study for the projects… so, when I was working on that, I shared it to different people. I said it's a different people; shared it with friends, shared it with mentors on ADP Lists. I did all of that, and when I did all of that, I got reviews . And there was this particular morning I shared with the guy and the guy is a senior designer, and he's very good. Actually, I told him to, like, help critique the work so I can correct it before going further to the prototype. Now, you know, when I did that, the guy actually called me as early as, I think it was 6:30 am; I was like, I mean, “Can I even start anything this morning?” But then, it's just a sacrifice I had to make. Like, I've had times I don't even sleep just to complete project, not because I was working on anything—for personal projects, you know. So when he called me, he did the whole review. I felt like everything I've been doing is just trash, but then one thing I'm just happy about is; I'd still speak with some other mentors. When I speak with them, they tell me, “Okay, this is good for someone with the level of experience I've had.” Okay when I hear all of these things, I would I would feel like, “okay, I think at least I'm making progress if not as much as I should.” So, you know, when all of that happened, he gave me his review, I made the corrections, and then I proceeded to working on the case study.
So, you know, fast-forward to when I joined EntryLevel, you know… when I joined EntryLevel, the whole thing was different. Having to watch tutorial videos practice and submit my tasks, so it went on and on, you know. At the start of the whole thing, I felt, “will 6 weeks be enough?” But then, when I started it, I felt the experience is different. Yeah, so it's really helped me improve on my UX design because I got to learn different things entirely. Talk of learning about empathy; okay, I think I learned about empathy mapping and I can't remember when there was a particular thing that EntryLevel introduced. I can't remember… I think… I can't remember, but then, okay… yeah, concerning… why am I forgetting this? Maybe if I remember any questions of videos and I would I'll ship that in. So, you know. when I started EntryLevel, then I learned all of these things and while preparing my case study for the Travel App. Then you know, and while I was working on the Travel App, there was a time I… because I'm this kind of person, I try as much as I can to make my research… I try as much as I can to make my research when working on any project like that because, you know, it's… I really want to do something that will make me stand out because many other times I've had conversations with some designers and they tell me… There’s this particular guy on LinkedIn—I came across on LinkedIn—the guy was sharing his story he said he applied 2,000 jobs and I'm like, “wow, that's a lot.” Yeah, for real, like that's a whole lot of number and I feel, what's my… what's my chances of getting a job? Like yeah I don't really like to stretch my… stretch myself, but at the same time, it's good to stretch yourself because you don't know how that will benefit you. So, when I hear people say, “Okay, it's a game of numbers, you need to keep applying. Sometimes, I get afraid when I check job postings on… when I check job posting on on LinkedIn, I see an internship role with 200 plus applicants. There was a particular one I saw at some point; about 900 applicants. I felt, “okay so what will make me different?” You know, I thought of all of these things when I was… when I was working on my project then, but you know, during the whole thing also, I came across a medium article where the writer then talked about not creating common portfolios… not creating common projects when you're working on your portfolio. Then I noticed travel app is a common project, but then I felt, “Yeah, fine. The fact that I've done these projects and I want to create a case study for it, that shouldn't make me feel bad about it.” So, you know, I felt the best thing I can just do is to make it outstanding. Like, I should make something very different from the regular thing everyone does. So how can I do that?
I made sure I was able to like do something way out of the regular custom stuff other entry-level designers do. I mean, entry-level in the sense that, someone is just starting design now or someone who is just new to tech.
So, you know, because I feel the way to stand out amongst every other Junior designer or anyone who's just starting out is to do something totally different. So, you know, when I started all of that, I kind of like made my research. I even did extensive research because, you know, the funny thing is, as of when I finished with my design then— for the project—it was… it's— and we'd got into the submission phase—it's also difficult that I was… I wasn't sure what to submit as my portfolio and I saw the template EntryLevel gave and was like; no, I need to do something different. I did something that was different than what everyone was doing just… just all in the name of, I wanted to be different. Then when I did that, I felt I wouldn't want to present this to the recruiter because, obviously, anything you're doing as a as a junior, it's not for the sake of other designers, but it's for the sake of the job you want to get. It's for the sake of the recruiter that he wants to see your work; not just one person who wants to give comments to you. So, that's on the side though.
So while I was working on that, I felt, “okay, this is not so impressive enough,” so I made more research… I made more research to just have a full… a full case study. So, when I did all of that, I started out by creating my portfolio. Yeah, another thing I want to mention also; I think I would advise anyone that is just starting out to always meet people; like, talk with mentors, talk with designers who have more experience than you because, you know, while I was working on my portfolio then I was working on my portfolio there was this particular mentor I spoke with on ADP List, you know. When I spoke with him, I told him, “Okay, I've worked on a first case study. This is it.” He told me, “yeah this looks good, this is impressive.” But then, I made him understand that I really want to do something way different from what I did initially, so I don't… so I don't compete with others on the same level. So, he kind of like gave me some tips. He pointed out some important steps for me to to note, and then, when I did that, I made more research, I checked portfolios of senior designers—I mean designers who have four years experience, five years experience, because if I'm checking design portfolios of those who have just one year into design or even two years into design, it won't be well-detailed based on everyone has a limit, you know. The more you grow, the more you know.
Okay, this is important—this is what a recruiter wants; to see your portfolio. So, you know, when I did all of these things, I went further into… I went on to produce, to start working on my own case study. So, when I worked on the case study finish, when I was done working on the case study, I started sharing. Okay I was… I was sharing a bit of it on Twitter and Linkedin while I was working on it and when I was done with the case study, the moment I finished with the case study, the next thing that happened was, there was this challenge that a senior designer did. When the guy did the challenge, the challenge was on interactive design for—if I remember very well—the challenge was for you to create any interaction with figma and then share. So, there was a deadline for the challenge and when I created mine, I couldn't submit that on time because of the time frame and I did not know there was a deadline. Yeah, if you check, if you check my Twitter, I can see Jennifer just shared my Twitter account, I think I pinned the challenge on my Twitter. So, that was the interaction design I made and as at when I made that challenge… as when I made the design prototype, it was around the same week I finished my portfolio. Like, I was done with the portfolio thing and I shared on my Behance and Twitter, and then I think LinkedIn or so, you know. So, you know, when I was done with the whole thing, I shared the prototype. When I shared the prototype, there is, okay let me just put it out there since my submission was late. I can't just keep these things to myself because it's of no use. So, when I said it on my timeline, I was just doing me; I just ignored everything, then all of a sudden… okay now I want to talk about how I got the job now like, how the whole thing now happened.
So, there was this day I woke up, I think it was a week or two… I think it was a week after I made the prototype that I pinned on my Twitter account; now after I made the prototype, then that same week week… the following week, I got the message on my behance, the way I got the message in my Behance, I was like, “Avoid people who just text you randomly and they are scam,” So, I felt this is not real.
If I remember the content of message then, I think the lady was just…
I think he froze again, but hopefully, everybody got a chance to check out the prototype. I linked it in the chat; it's really good.
Oh hey, Eric, are you back?
It's like… Okay, can you hear me now?
Yes, yes. You were talking about somebody who messaged you on Twitter.
No, no, it wasn't on Twitter. It was on my Behance.
So, you know, I just got a message on my Behance that day, it was very early in the morning. See, when I got the message, I was like, I don't think this is one of those situations of people saying that random people text them to exploit them; being designers and all of that. So I think, okay I'm trying to read the message.
Okay, the message says, “Hi, Eric. I came across your portfolio and I'm very impressed. Your experience aligns with our ongoing projects initiatives and ideas. I would like to schedule a meeting with you and our Hiring man… our Hiring Project Manager to further discuss your interest and how we can integrate them into our team. If you're interested, please respond with the date and time include time zone that works best for you.
So, when I go there, I was like, “Could this be real?” So, I had to share it with some close senior designers that; okay, this was what I got. I don't know… my mind doesn't feel settled with this. So, you know, the funny thing is, during this period, I was still trying to… I was doing my portfolio. Yeah, I'm supposed to start applying jobs. Sorry, please I was… I was supposed to applying for jobs, but then, I felt I really needed to like complete my… sorry, please give me a few minutes; I'll be back soon,
Also I saw some questions in the Q & A as well as the chat. Don't worry, I'm saving them and I will be asking them next, but well, Eric is busy. I'm going to summarize all the learnings and if you have specific questions about the learnings, let me know because we can… if we can’t answer them today, I'll email them out.
Immerse yourself in the community; that was the number one nsight that I got because Eric was saying he got DM from somebody and thought he was the scam. You definitely have to be careful of that, but he mentioned something important. He said he messaged some trusted designers of his to, like, get their feedback and I think that's something a lot of people overlook. Like, you need to immerse yourself in the community, like find a group of people you can trust and give you feedback because that can really supercharge your growth. And it's not just design, it's community for anything; like data, design, like whatever field you're in. So, like, try to find a community. Find a mentor; for design is easy because you can have ADP List, but…
Hey Eric, welcome back.
To add, you said for design it's easy to get mentors on ADP List. Yeah, the truth is, I think it's just because it ADP List has more design mentors, but then, because recently I had to connect a friend with some mentors who… because the friend does data science and data analysis, so I think ADP List is not restricted to just design mentors alone. It has a… it actually depends on what you're trying… what you're looking for. So, you can get mentors who are designers… you can get mentors who are designers, you can also get mentors who are front-end developers, back-end developers. You know, the thing is just, if you're trying to get a particular name, so you can just streamline your search; you can streamline your search, so that's about that. So, back to what I was saying, you know I said while I was working on my… while I was done with my old portfolio design and my case studies, I come like okay, I think the next stage for me is to start applying for jobs. But then, I created a CV… I wasn't so… I wasn't so okay with the CV because it's kind of like looked… it's not looking at what I really wanted and I've been in meetings where they like kind of like set a standard for CV that a recruiter would really see and want to invite you for a meeting.
So, I was at the point of meeting with some mentors and ADP List so, for a CV review, so I had a CV review with a particular Mentor, I think the mentor I had the review with is a design manager at… okay, she's a design manager at Capital One Bank. Anyone who is in USA would know. So, you know, when we add the review, okay she gave me some tips, so I was about working on that and while I was working on that was when I got the message.
So you it’s really like I started applying a job before that one; I got the offer. So, back to what I was saying, when I had the call with them the following day, the following week, we actually… we actually had a negotiation the following week, and then that same week, I did a shadow—I was like, shadowing, just to understand how the whole thing works—then the following month, I started working with them. So, it was very fast and yeah, I would say it's luck; luck and there's a piece of God’s favour, like, I don't know, maybe everyone here isn’t a Christian, but I kinda, like, feel it’s God’s favour because yeah, I have friends who are like very, very good; when I mean very good, like, they know better than me, they have more years of experience than me, and well, maybe they are not doing the things they are meant to do right, maybe they don't have the right information or there are not networking with the right set of people. Because I would say design community also is very important—not just design community alone; being in a Tech Community, having a group of tech people around you; maybe not physically, but then on your Twitter, on your LinkedIn, check their posts, hear their story and all of those things, you know.
So, I kinda like, feel doesn't have anything that helped me, and it really helped me to upskill on time, and it really saved me a lot of time other than starting gradually and wasting so much time.
So, I think I've said enough. Yeah, okay.
Oh my gosh, thank you so much. You shared so much valuable advice; I tried to summarize them in the chat but I'm also going to email all of this out and it'll be on our website under entrylevel.net/events, but I was just noticing how every student I talked to who got a job after EntryLevel—I talked to a lot of students—they all said mentorship, community, shadowing someone, the portfolio is very important. And yeah, so I think that's very interesting, so hopefully, people take note of that.
We have a question from somebody asking about the CV and I think you mentioned it before, but how important was the CV in your job search journey?
Wait you muted.
All right, yeah. Sorry I forgot that.
So, I would say CV is actually very important, but for me, I don't think my CV was, because I did not apply for the job, you know. So, it's way different. But then, for anyone who will be applying for a job, I think it's a totally different game because you need to put in a lot in your CV. Like when creating a CV, it needs to be… you need to pay attention to… because, okay, there was a particular meeting I joined where senior designers, they talked about when creating a CV. you need to create a different CV for different job applications because each job… each job application really requires different things from you.
So, if you have just one CV created, if… what if you don't miss the requirements or you don't have the requirements or the requirements that is needed for the job is not on your portfolio? Or on your CV, rather. You will get screened out and, you know, most job… most job application now when it gets to the recruit manager or the hiring manager, they kind of like, screen HCV bits and ATS system, and, you know, stuff like that, they kind of like, after screening, if you don't have… if you don't meet the requirements or if the requirements needed are not on your CV, you get screened out and you might not even get a call; you just get a mail saying, “Sorry, we've passed on to the remaining people,” you know, all of those things.
So I kind of like, feel that's just it. But then, I really don't… I would say I don't have much knowledge on creating CV, so I don't mislead people. But then CV is actually very important.
It is very important, yeah. That's really interesting.
And I left also a link in the chat because I think a lot of people who are transitioning into design, they already have previous experience and you just need to reword it with, like, UX vocabulary. And I wrote a Blog about how to do that, so feel free to find that in the chat. But in the meantime, Eric, there is another question from, like, portfolio.
So it's; what are three major things recruiters want to see in your case study or portfolio?
Okay, yeah. I don't know, probably, I will just give a walkthrough for my portfolio and while I was working on the portfolio.
Yeah, so the first portfolio I did then, it was actually very brief. So, it's actually very brief and then, I think the most important thing when working on the portfolio is, you need to, like, understand what your case study is all about. Understand what you're working on, and then when you create a portfolio… and, you know, creating a portfolio is actually different. Like, there are portfolios that are Behance Standard, and then there are portfolios that are just a personal website portfolio. But then, mine is a Behance Portfolio; like, my my portfolio is all set on Behance, so you know when I created…
I will talk of the last case study I worked on that was the projects for EntryLevel. Now so you know, at first I created a home page—not home page now—like, once you get there now, the very first screen that's… I don't know how to call that; I'll just call it a hero section, just like talking about my website now, so that that explains the very first part. Now, after that, I created a part that I tagged “project overview”. Now, in the overview, I kinda like, talked about… I talked about the whole project; what the project is all about, like what the app means, what the app explains about, and then, next I talked about the goal of the app. Like okay, what problem is the app trying to solve. Then on that same part, I had a place where I wrote the problem and the solution.
You know, everything I did here, anyone who has taken this EntryLevel course would know the way EntryLevel give you the task is just… could be a line of whatever. I can't remember the task again… the task was to creat an app that helps users… that helps solo travelers to interact and have local experience, you know. So that's the task. But then, when I was writing out the problem, I kind of like told… I… because it's very important for designers, when creating a a portfolio… it's very important to have a story—a storytelling skill—so if you have a very small thing to write, you know, you should be able to like, improve on it. So, you know, while writing the problem, I limited… I did not just limit it to what EntryLevel provided as the design prompts. When I was done writing the problem and then the solution—and the solution also where from everything I worked on, I mean like, what I brought together in the whole design thing—so the next thing I went to my design process. That is, after my project overview; what my project is all about, the next thing I want people to know is; what's in my design process. And in every interview, you would go to, every recruiter wants to know what your design process is like because when working on your design, when working, they want to know, “Okay, what's the first thing you do? Do you research first? You just go straight to designing or do you…” you understand?
So, it's very important to know, what are the right processes. So me, I'll just list my processes; sometimes, you know, I said research. From research, I went to UX design and from UX, I went to UI and interaction, they prototyping. And under each of these things, I can't like explained what I went through for the research phase now; I explained what I did then for the UX design. I explained everything I did the UI design, and then prototype and then, I also give… okay, I did not really give a timeline for this, but I think my first—my first project—I gave a timeline. And the next thing I went into, I went straight into research. The only thing is, it's very good to be straightforward when working. When working on your case study, because you don't want to bore your recruiter when you're working on a case study. Because a recruiter wants to see the very important things like; okay when you're working on a case study now, let me know what you're working on immediately; not that I have to read stories, look at a lot of unnecessary stuff.
So, you know, I did not waste time. The moment I sold my project overview and my design process, I went straight to my research because that's the first thing that should be seen, before my whole design experience. While in my research, I put… okay, I can't like, break down the whole research phase. The first part was understand; as understanding the project. Next one was user research, then after user research, I went to key research questions. I just shared question; I wouldn't have had all of this question if not for EntryLevel because EntryLevel… there is a particular part there where EntryLevel requires you to create your interview question, so everything that my publication was what I added, yeah… and then I went to his insights for my interview. So, you know, the way I did mine, some other persons would not do that.
Most junior designers you would see creating a case study, I have not come across anyone doing this kind of portfolio; like, a case study like this. So, I think that's one reason can be standards. You know, on the normal day, I would have done the regular thing that everyone is doing, like okay, just do one random stuff there, puts the whole image and then just say, yeah. I'm done with music. I've seen a couple of portfolio and I'll be like; well I think this is an edge for me. I have, you know, the way I kind of like look at all those things when I see a bad portfolio or a bad case study, I would just be like, okay, this is minus one. This is… this person's out of my competitors; we won't be competing for the same job, you know? So, yeah when I was done with the whole research part, I moved to the empathy map. Let me show you the empathy map.
Now, the empathy map, I just like, dropped… okay I don't need to go deep inside because everyone listening has experience and all of that. So, I did the empathy map, the user persona, user flow, paper sketch low-fi design, the style guide in my hi-fi design. So that's the question now; what are the important things?
I kind of like a few… the important things are the project overview; like talk about your...
Oh okay, can you hear me now?
Yes, yes I can.
Okay, yeah. So, I was saying every part in my portfolio is actually very important because I feel if there are no importants, I wouldn't put them there because I wouldn't want a recruiter to go through my portfolio and any information they are seeing they are not worth it. So, the project overview part, I talk about the whole design; my design process is to share is to make let them know what I'm what, how I went about the whole design experience, then my research phase, then well, I'll say empathy map is not really important. But then, as a junior, they want to know if you really understand all of these things; because I spoke with a mentor or a senior designer at some point and you made me understand that for a senior designer, no one would require you to have empathy map on your portfolio. No one would really require your paper sketch; even low-fi design, but then, as a junior designer, you need to make your recruiter know that you understand all of these things. Then when you have more experience, then you can… you don't need to start proving what is not. That’s that.
Yeah, User Persona is also is very very important because it has information of—what problem are you are you solving? Who you're solving the problem for—so another thing is user flow, also. Though the user flow I did here looks very awkward, but then, I don't know… it's just something I really just needed to use the way it is.
Now, the paper sketches; well, some people don't use paper sketch but I… I did this paper sketch and I also did a low-fi design. Instead of doing a paper sketch, you can actually do a wireframe. And also, for this paper sketch, I would I really appreciate EntryLevel. Sorry, I'm always cutting into them because there was this particular task in EntryLevel that required once you want to do… there's something that is a Crazy 8’s; I think it's you creating 8 different wireframes. It's called Crazy 8; you can just look up resources on that. So, you know, that kind of like, gave me an idea of how to go about the paper sketch. So when I did the paper sketch, I went straight to low-fi design. Low-fi design is also very important.
Then your style guide… yeah, your style guide is also very very important.
Then the important part also is your high-fi design; your recruiter wants to see your final design. After your final design, I think, another thing should be… Yeah, another thing is also usability testing… yeah, because when you're done with every project, it is very important for you to, like, share with other users. You should share with other users, you know; when you share with other users, you get feedback from them. You know what's is not… what users are finding difficult, you know. When you just go straight to design, and then when you're doing your design, you don't test the design with anyone. What if it's not user-friendly? What if the UI… what… the UI might actually you look very good, but what if the UX is bad?
Are you with me, Jennifer?
Yes, I was just agreeing so much with you because even if it looks good, doesn’t mean it’s usable, and might not even help the company achieve anything. So you have to test it.
Yes. So, and yeah… I was saying the recruiter wants to see your high-fi designs and your usability testing. You should… you should share reports on… okay, when you… when you did your usability testing, what were the feedbacks you got? And also, what correction did you make?
I had all of that there, so yeah, after that also, I think I kind of like, I shared my takeaway like, okay, after I was done with the whole project, what did I learn? I share what I learned. Okay, what was it like? What was your experience like? And then, I think for some other persons now, after their takeaway, they would… they would kind of like, add to that. Okay, what will I be doing next after this? What will I do in the next project.
So, you know, that's just everything, because I… I would say everything I listed here are things that a recruiter wants to see in your portfolio. Because like I said I made enough research before working on this, you know, if you compare these particular projects so the previous project—that’s the therapy app project—the therapy app project looks full anyway. But then, I still missed out on some important things; I did not add some certain information.
Also, yeah I forgot to add this; it's also good to share competitive analysis. But then, me, I did not even add that in my other portfolio but, you know, when you have the necessary information on your portfolio and when someone is actually… when a recruiter is going through your portfolio, when you give them access to get enough information from you, I think that's the most important thing and we have all of these things. Trust me, the only issue you would have if you don't get a job is maybe, you don't have a solid case study.
So that's everything that I want to share.
Oh my gosh. That was again so much value. Thank you for sharing, Eric. I just want to quickly summarize:
So, you mentioned storytelling skills, writing down your process; one thing I would add there with the process is, you need to kind of like, connect them because you can't just say, “Oh this is my Persona,” and just leave it. You have to like, somehow connect it back and say like, “Oh, like for example, I designed this feature because according to my Persona; like they would have liked it, this is the data… things like that.
So, you need to be very intentional there. And then, also highlight the most important parts. Your portfolio shouldn't be like 100 pages; I know like, it can feel like that because design can be a lot of work, but just make sure it's scannable. Like, put yourself in the shoes of your, like, hiring manager over Twitter. Like, they need to see the most important parts and what you're learning The learning section is also very important. If you want to take it to the next level, I would say, if you can add some metrics and if, you know, the impact of your design that would be very helpful… like what Eric mentioned about usability testing, if you finish your design and you get somebody to, like, give their feedback on it, you can even say, like, oh this work had impact… this is what this person said, but I would say when you do usability testing, be careful because when I did my first one, I was just listening to the person talk and they were like, “Oh yeah, I would totally use this. This is super cool.” But if you look at their behavior, it like, contradicts what they're saying. So, in the past, like, I had some people say, “Like, oh yeah, this was super easy to find.” But then, when I look at what they were doing, it was like I could see they're struggling. So, you just need to make sure to look at your… look at the user's behavior and not just what they say.
If you are a startup founder, this is also very important because a lot of users will say, “Oh yeah, I would pay for your product,” but they actually wouldn't. So, it's probably better to validate your idea by doing like, getting pre-sales where they actually pay. Yeah, so those are just some insights.
Okay, so I think we have time for like one more question. Eric, if there was one piece of advice that you would give to everyone in this call who wants to be a UX designer, then what advice would that be?
Okay, I would say one very important thing, when you want to become a UX designer is; make research and always share your work.
Okay if you want to become a UX designer—don't let me be too fast now—if you want to become a UX designer, the very important thing is do a lot of research and get feedbacks from senior designers, and don't let the feedback weigh you down. Yeah, most times, you get bad feedbacks, you get feedback of people telling you did a very bad work. Don't let that get to you; do more research and improve on your work. And one important thing when getting feedback is; when someone tells you your design is bad, ask them how can you improve it, because there are some senior designers who would give you feedback and then they don't have a solution to your feedback. So, I don't think that is a safe way to get the feedback when you're getting your work criticized. When you're getting your work criticised… when you're getting the feedback, make sure you're getting your “how you can improve on that” once you get a solution to that… when you get a solution to that, work on it and show the person again, “okay, this is the collection I've made.”
So, I think that's all I have to say.
Thanks for sharing. That's very interesting.
But I think to add on to that, when you ask for feedback, you also need to be careful; you can't just say, “Here's my design. Do you have any general feedback?” Because that's… it can create a lot of work for the person giving you feedback. It's more helpful if you have specific areas that you point out, so it's like, “Oh, what do you think of, like, this interaction? Is it too messy?” Or something like that. If you can be specific, that is great.
Okay, we… I actually just saw one more question that came up. So, somebody is asking about; is working as a UX designer the same as being both UX and UI? And I think that's an easy one that even I can answer because… I don't know if this is your experience, Eric, but I feel like sometimes, companies themselves don't even know what UX means; they just think it means a fancy website designs—which is UI—so you need to, like, make sure like, you need to interview the company while they're interviewing you, right?
Okay. So what I'll say about that is, you know, all of these things, they have like a UX design role, a UI design role, or a product design role; they all have their own… they all have their own specifics, in the sense that, when a company tells you, “okay, we're applying… we are employing you for the role of the UI designer,” you know, a UI designer just does the UI design without research.
But then, for UX research… for a UX design, there are times when you do the whole research by yourself, you do accessibility testing, you do user testing just to be sure the design is usable, because the UX designer cares more about the UX design; like, okay what's the experience of a client or a user when using these products, you know? But then, a product designer… a product designer works more on… okay, you… you take no more on the business side; “Okay, how how is this company going to make profit with these?” “What would be the… how does this products…”
You know, when… there are… there are different things when creating a a product now. Because you might be working on a product, and then, while working on the product, you don't care about the business side, you're just sort of, “okay let me just do something very nice and attractive,” you know. But then, it's nothing to rush, you know. It’s all in stages; the more you go, the better you become. The more you go, the more you have experiences and ideas, and you also get better all of these things.
So, that's it.
Okay, that's really good insights. I kind of just summarized everything again in the chat. Hopefully, people are reading this and this is helpful.
But um… UX, you mentioned like; research, usability testing, I would say UI is more like colors and typography and product design, like you said, is more business side of things. So, I would say as a beginner, it's probably better to like learn everything, and then once you kind of, know what you like doing the best, then you can specialise.
So Eric, would you agree?
Oh, you're still muted.
Yeah, sure, sure. Definitely!
It's actually very very good to know everything. Like, when starting out, know how it all works, yeah. But then…
Yeah, thank you. Okay…
Yeah, I was… I was going to add that, you know, it's very good to know about… have a good design skill; like, know how to do more of the UI design. The UI design has to do with the visuals.
Then your UX design ability is a plus, being a UX researcher also is a plus because there are organizations that employ UX designers and UX researchers. Some… some organizations also employ UX writers; some employe UX researchers, UX designers, UI designers; but then, in a startup, a startup would want to employ someone who has an idea about everything and some mid-level companies who don't really have a huge amount of money to pay a lot of people. So, yeah it's just… it's very good to have an idea about all of these things when starting out.
So, that's it.
Yeah, I totally agree. It definitely depends on what kind of company you want to work for; like, whether big company or startup; because startup, you kind of have to do everything. Okay, so we do have one more question, but I don't know if you have time to answer it.
Maybe we can just keep this short. And then, I linked… Eric, I linked your Twitter, so maybe they can reach out to you, but somebody wants to know how to start a career as a UI/UX designer as somebody who's currently in graphic design and I think that's similar to your background, right?
Oh, you… you’re still muted. [laughs] Every time.
Sorry, I don't know why forgetting that.
Okay yeah, so that's kind of… that's like that's how I started also. You know, if you have experience in graphic design, I think it gives you an edge in the sense that, you know when your design looks good and I know where the design looks bad. Because I've had colleagues and friends who are also designers and then when I look at their UI design, I feel, “Do you really mean you're done with this your design thing?” And because, when… when I'm designing, I'm always being careful that to me, this doesn't look good. Like, I can't accomplish my work to other people's workers. Fine, it's not good to compare yourself, but then, I don't think the rule works in UI design and UX design or anything design, because if you're in a bootcamp or you're self-learning or you're practicing on your own, you know, it's actually very good for you to, like… when you're learning, it's actually good to check what others are doing, get feedback, and if it's possible, I would… I would say this in… the very best way to learn and improve as a… improve your UI design team is when you’re replication design. So, if you don't replicate other people’s design and if you don't look at other people’s design, there's no way you're going to actually improve on your…
So when you look at a particular person's design, you look at, “Okay, this is actually very nice.” That way, you can improve on your own design. You can know, “okay, this is how this person did this. Why did they do this particularly?”
If you have an opportunity to ask someone who made a design, you kind of like, feel, “okay, this looks good,” meet the person, ask for why they did the thing. And the benefits again… another benefit of being… of when you have a Graphic Design experience before doing UI design; the benefits are, you know you have knowledge about color, about typography before, and if you have full scale knowledge on graphic design because, all of these things are very important. The same principle that applies to designing in graphic… that applies to graphics design, the same design principle that applies to UI design. But then, there are UX laws. So, it's way different for… UX law is now… it doesn't have… doesn't apply to graphic design, so that's just the difference. But then, design principle applies to us, so if you have… if you know about design principle, it gives you an edge. You know when a color is not supposed to work with the other, you know when a typography is wrong, you know; okay I'm not supposed to use this typography for this kind of image. Imagine using a comic typography for a fintech app, you know? It's supposed to be something very serious, and then you're design a fintech app and then you're using a comic typography. Or let's say you… you're working on a children's app now; an app for children, and then you're using just very official fonts. You get? So, you know when to use playful fonts, you know when to use Sans Seriff, you know where to use all of those things. So, that's just the edge, and it makes it all faster. Thank you.
That is such a funny example, and really helpful for driving this point home. Thank you so much for sharing. I basically summarized everything here in the chat, but I also want to bring everyone's attention to… that we have two UX design programs now at EntryLevel; we just added UX design level two, but level two is more focused on visual design, so if you're a graphic designer, you already know color theory and typography, then maybe stick with UX design level one because that one is more like UX research and like doing the app instead of UI-focused.
So hopefully, that answers everyone's questions. I will be putting all of the resources here in like I already put it in the chat, but I will also be putting it on our website under entrylevel.net/events. The recording will also be there and I will email it out to everyone. So, I also have a poll here for feedback so we can improve our future events. So, if you can vote in that, that would be very helpful. There's also going to be a feedback form that is emailed out to you, so please be on the lookout for that and fill it out especially if you found Eric's advice helpful.
Eric, like my main takeaway, I don't know if you saw in the chat, but like, I said my main takeaway was that you started on your phone and I think a lot of people let the lack of a laptop stop them. But in design, you don't… like you can start with pen and paper. Like, it's about solving problems, so I love that you are determined to learn and keep going even if you didn't always have the resources.
Yeah, thank you very much for that. I'm just seeing that now. You know, it's actually very funny that I couldn't operate figma when I started and I'm happy that in less than a month, four months—like, as at four months of designing, I was… I was glad I had my growth. When I look back at everything, I'm just very happy that I was able to do all of that.
So, yeah that's amazing. Thanks so much for sharing hopefully your story will inspire a lot of other people to just give opportunities a try. Awesome.
It looks like people have very good feedback. So, most people were saying that it… you know what? I’ll share the results. Most people are saying that it's really great. So, thank you for sharing your advice, I really appreciate it. So, everything again will be on our website and emailed to everyone who signed up for this event. So, thanks everyone for being here, and thank you so much Eric for your wonderful advice. I’ll see you all maybe at our next event in January sometime. All right, bye everyone!
Just finished an EntryLevel program and not sure what's next?
Get advice from Eric, a UX Design student who landed a job. You'll learn:
Eric is a Product Designer at IDS. He is skilled in visual and interaction design, User Interface Design, User Experience Design and User Research.
After graduating from EntryLevel's UX Design program, Eric shared his portfolio online and landed a job as a Product Designer.
Immerse yourself in the community (events, twitter spaces, ADPList)…even if you’re not as familiar with the tools like Figma, just get mentorship and let community supercharge your growth with feedback
Eric designed with his phone at first, friends and mentors helped with feedback + motivation
Important: shoot your shot (even if you think it’s too late). Eric was too late to submit his work for a challenge, but shared it anyway. It was received well.
I would also say, don’t worry about doing things “right.” You need to do it, get feedback, and continually improve. My first usability testing session was so bad, then I learned to look at people’s behaviours and not just what they say…you just learn from that experience. So don’t stop yourself from trying!
For portfolio: don't create common projects. Find a unique solution to a problem
Share your work and your learnings = have recruiters reach out to YOU instead of applying to 2,000 jobs!!!
Key tips for getting hired:
1. Have good storytelling skills
2. Write down your process (connect them together and go into detail about how you think)
3. Be straightforward and intentional (make portfolio scannable; highlight most important parts)
Bonus: Share your portfolio (Eric shared on Behance, social media)
Your audience/user is the recruiter or hiring manager. Use empathy to put yourself in their shoes and figure out what they want to see
Also, for your portfolio - make sure every section is intentional. If you mentioned personas, tie back to it in another section (say “I did this feature because according to user research and the persona…”). Don’t just mention it because it’s supposed to be part of your case study. If you mention it, make sure to state why.
Figma is very popular, but if you can learn multiple software it’s best. Like you can learn both Figma and XD, so that way you will be prepared for whatever software the company uses!
UX = research, wireframes, while UI = aesthetics, colour, typography, etc. Product design = business side in addition to design…like how company makes money from the design. I would say this is more oriented to business metrics while UX is more focused on user
Graphic design experience is good, it can help your UI a lot. Replicate current designs and think about why people designed things a certain way. It’s also a great way to learn tools like FIgma (when using Figma to replicate a design).
Eric's Twitter: https://twitter.com/blvckvisuals_
Our website: https://www.entrylevel.net/
Our UX program: https://www.entrylevel.net/experiences/ux
Our UX Level 2 program (more focused on Visual/UI design): https://entrylevel.net/experiences/ux2
Free job search workbooks: https://go.entrylevel.net/workbooks
Free mentorship: https://adplist.org?ref=ADP-EN-BYM20
EntryLevel helps you learn and get experience so you can get hired. Our 6-week programs are taught by world-class mentors, so you can learn and build a portfolio of work.
You'll learn with a cohort of driven peers, and each lesson is unlocked after a set time so you stay accountable and finish the program.
Eric is a Product Designer at IDS. He is skilled in visual and interaction design, User Interface Design, User Experience Design and User Research.
After graduating from EntryLevel's UX Design program, Eric shared his portfolio online and landed a job as a Product Designer.