Notes from a 10-week course on UX Design and a little bit of Product

As of writing, I still work as an Art Director / Designer freelance.

So what the heck is this post about? It’s simple. I am steering my career for a slightly different path: Product Design. I have decided on it long before This post was even written. In an effort to sort of mark, or document the start of this rough, highly competitive, high-barrier entry career path, I decided to publish this. (I worked for a year at a children’s tech startup in NYC as a UI designer, if that counts as my entry then so be it. This post is more along the lines of UX and product.)

A week ago ends my 10-week stint at General Assembly (New York) where I took up UXd courses, and for the most part, I did a lot better than what I had initially expected. Read books, listened to podcasts every single day to get my head in the game, and absorbed as much as I can, as quickly as I can with UX, and Product design. I couldn’t recall a time when I was THIS hungry for knowledge, and at the same time, be completely pumped by the idea of it. This is a long time coming, and one in which I hope, I am right. Shortly after school began, I took a risk and quit my full-time job, worked at a contract role because I wanted school to have a front row and center in my life. Anything I did outside of it was just research and survival.

I think the highest point of my short stint was when I got picked, along with Chris the other UX designer, to present a working case study in front of our classmates, and panels of judges. It was exhilarating, and incredibly humbling to do that, be in front of everybody and not suck. I hate calling that as a validation but I have no other word for it — I was unto something, and it’s not necessary unrequited. In the face of all the rejection letters, that was a welcome surprise. One I was not expecting at all.

Image for post
Image for post
My fifth week at GA

The hardest part is keeping the momentum going, and making sure you’re being thrown in the right direction even in an industry that is valued for a lot of its trial and errors. It’s okay to make a mistake, to learn. It’s not okay to make novice mistakes, to take things less seriously, to be 5–6 years too late on a path.

It is not a secret that I am not the “best in paper” type of candidate, in any shape, or form — not in my country, and certainly not in the US. But I do have what I call, tenacity and so much empathy for the users, clients, the people i’m working with and I really do believe those two things matter deeply. Not just in what I do but in how I do it.

Precisely why this stint in GA meant a lot to me, whether or not I’ll see the ROI soon. It proved a point, and right after, I can’t wait to prove more.

For myself — my biggest, and harshest critic.

Find me on the web

Website: http://nikkiespartinez.com/

Link to Case Study: https://medium.com/@nikkiespartinez/case-study-pseg-for-you-24e2c20c560c

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lifeboats1990/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nikki-espartinez-ba78b362/

10 weeks in books and podcasts

Aside from school, I am working full-time jobs, juggling family and paying the bills and a serious relationship. Time management was never my forte but I was able to do it — consume content that would uplift my work, and shape my mind, and is continuously doing so.

Hacking UI by David Tintner & Sagi Shrieber (s02)— Product design and frontend development podcast. Listened to this everyday on the train. It’s insightful, mind-blowing and really useful for all designers interested on product.

Build Better Products: A Modern Approach to Building Successful User-Centered Products by Laura Klein — Read this alongside my classes. It will teach you how to be more thoughtful about products and to be a much more efficient collaborator on a product design team. I would read it again for sure.

About Face: The Essentials of Interaction Design 4th Edition by Alan Cooper, Robert Reimann, David Cronin, Christopher NoesselOngoing reads.

Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach To Web Usability by Steve Krug — For everything.

GaryVee’s Rants channel — of course.

Akimbo by Seth Godin — this is deep stuff. Every episode will take some time to settle in, and get your head wrapped around.(ongoing)

I would appreciate any recommendations on books, podcasts and youtube shows to follow for the topics such as UX, Product Design, UX Writing, Creative Freelancing, Psychology, among others.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store