After spending time as a technical recruiter for UX Design, LA UXDI grad, Henry, decided to take the UX road himself. Today, he works with Citibank, a gig he landed after becoming a finalist in their Mobile Challenge on a project geared toward making the bank-customer interaction more seamless.
What brought you to GA?
I had known about UX from being a tech recruiter. After speaking with numerous candidates and learning about their everyday duties, I was eager to make the change and be like one of them. Luckily, my sister needed a website for her new business, so I started building it using Weebly and Illustrator. After we launched the site, I was hungry for more projects, so I attended an event from Huge. That’s when I found out about General Assembly.
I was ready for a career change, and after seeing the talent coming out of GA, I knew I wanted to enroll in a course.
Tell me about the Citibank Mobile Challenge.
Citibank wanted to challenge developers to build technology apps and solutions to transform the digital banking landscape. I worked on a project that was designed to help the customer and bank interactions be more seamless. A customer could log into the app and make an appointment with a banker. There are iBeacons placed at the entrance of the bank branch and when customers walk in, bankers will be notified and will be able to greet them right away. By the time the appointment starts, the banker has all the information needed to complete the request, therefore eliminating useless waiting time. We were chosen from 60 finalists and we’re working with CitiBank executives now.
What steps did you take to secure a UX Designer position?
I reached out to companies regardless if they had an opening or not. Some companies are slow to update their job postings, so it’s best to apply whether there is a posting or not at their general contact email address. I treated it like a numbers game and wrote cover letters for places I really wanted to work at. I would also link up with the recruiters on LinkedIn.
You used to be a recruiter for UX Designers. Has that helped you at all?
I use my past experience as a recruiter of UX designers to help fuel my inspiration.
Not only would I download and play with a new app, but I would find the designer(s) using LinkedIn and learn from their process; it’s normally mentioned in their online portfolio. I figured that if they designed this beautiful, UX-friendly app, then they must have designed many other beautiful, UX-friendly apps.
I heard that you landed a job through a fellow alumni. Is that true?
I was referred by a friend, Jenny Lai, who had started working at Dogtown Media a few weeks before I did. Jenny is also an alumni of GA and it’s great to be working with fellow a GA-er.
What life lessons have you learned over the past year?
I tend to go full-force when given a project; I go above and beyond on research, traveling, equipment, and learning new software. I also tend to ask— and am not afraid to ask—a lot of questions when not sure about something.
Any advice for job-seeking UX Designers?
Don’t give up. Treat applying to jobs like a numbers game. Work on your portfolio—put as much annotations as possible (because you’ll be working closely with developers). And don’t be afraid to email people.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
I pretend I’m a Rap DJ when I listen to music in my car.
When author Brianna Plaza isn’t interviewing alumni for our blog post series, she works as a Technical Marketing Producer at General Assembly.