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Working in UX: Masters to automotive to everything else


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This is a story about my journey from web design to a UX Designer. I talk about my time at KSU getting my masters degree, working at General Motors, and then how I ended up relocating to North Carolina.

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Working in UX: Masters to automotive to everything else

  1. 1. JESSICA KAINU Working in UX: Masters to automotive to everything else
  2. 2. WHO AM I ● Graduated from KSU in August 2017 ● Worked in the automotive field for close to 5 years ● Originally from Detroit, MI ● Moved to Charlotte, NC for a new opportunity
  3. 3. WORKINGINUX:MASTERSTOAUTOMOTIVETOEVERYTHINGELSE LOOKING FOR A UX JOB • Starting out was very difficult • I followed up on all leads • I needed to design a better portfolio • I had to research the recruitment process
  4. 4. PORTFOLIO EVOLUTION 2012-2016
  5. 5. WORKINGINUX:MASTERSTOAUTOMOTIVETOEVERYTHINGELSE SUCCESSES & FAILURES • I had many many interviews and they didn’t go anywhere • Over a long period of time my portfolio and resume improved and so did my interviewing skills • Although I felt I finally had an idea of what I was doing, when GM contacted me I figured I wouldn’t get the position anyway
  6. 6. WORKINGINUX:MASTERSTOAUTOMOTIVETOEVERYTHINGELSE OUTCOME • Phone screening led to a phone interview which led to an onsite with the mobile UX team • Personal project showed my interest in the company • Getting rejected repeatedly led to one success
  7. 7. WORKINGINUX:MASTERSTOAUTOMOTIVETOEVERYTHINGELSE TAKEAWAYS • Be very persistent in improving your communication skills and portfolio • Extra work demonstrating your skills is never a bad idea • Don’t give up, even if you really want to
  8. 8. GENERAL MOTORS ● Worked on the myChevrolet mobile app ● Started to transition to in-vehicle apps near the end ● Projects included: ○ CarPlay & Android Auto ○ Electric vehicle trip planner ○ SmartHome integration ○ Accessories catalog on mobile
  9. 9. WORKINGINUX:MASTERSTOAUTOMOTIVETOEVERYTHINGELSE WORKING AT GM • Incredibly huge company yet I worked with a very small team • Slow moving projects • Multiple UX teams on different campuses • Siloed environment
  10. 10. WORKINGINUX:MASTERSTOAUTOMOTIVETOEVERYTHINGELSE WHY I LEFT • I have been wanting to move out of state for several years • I wanted to try a new work environment • Upward trajectory at GM didn’t meet what I wanted long-term
  11. 11. WORKINGINUX:MASTERSTOAUTOMOTIVETOEVERYTHINGELSE BACK TO INTERVIEWING • I felt comfortable with interviewing at this point • I had a new problem, how to discuss work projects • Looking for work out of state presented its own problem
  12. 12. WORKINGINUX:MASTERSTOAUTOMOTIVETOEVERYTHINGELSE TAKEAWAYS • Discussing work-related projects should be handled delicately • Be clear about your role and how you contributed
  13. 13. RED VENTURES ● Located in Fort Mill, SC ● Digital marketing company ● Quick paced ● Covering more than one type of business ○ Home services, finance, health
  14. 14. WORKINGINUX:MASTERSTOAUTOMOTIVETOEVERYTHINGELSE INTERVIEWING AT RED VENTURES • Phone screening and interview were similar in process to other interviews I’ve had • Onsite interview/project was very involved • I had to take in as much of Charlotte as I could in 48 hours
  15. 15. WORKINGINUX:MASTERSTOAUTOMOTIVETOEVERYTHINGELSE WORKING AT RED VENTURES • Started on an internal program, healthcare, and am now a fin serv resource • Small “global” team • Varying levels of involvement on different finance-related businesses
  16. 16. WORKINGINUX:MASTERSTOAUTOMOTIVETOEVERYTHINGELSE PROS AND CONS • Quick paced with a variety of projects • UX is a newer department at Red Ventures • Culture fit is great • Charlotte has even worse traffic than Detroit
  17. 17. WORKINGINUX:MASTERSTOAUTOMOTIVETOEVERYTHINGELSE TAKEAWAYS • Do your research on a company when you are planning a big move ○ You are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing • RV and GM are very opposite, both have their pros and cons. It just matters what pros and cons you think you can live with