#14: Designing a Career in Tech

We should ALL be designers

The truth is…

It’s a lot like investing…. with your brains.

In this case, you start out small in the hopes that it’ll grow exponentially. You risk big when the moment calls for it (you would know it when you see it). Sleepless nights polishing a part of the user interface, endless video interviews with customers, overwhelming sets of data to find answers from… there’s nothing mundane about what we do, why we do it and how. It’s messy, and methodical at the same time. 

Your time is your currency and in UX, the primary expectation is to invest it where it matters the most: Learning.

It’s a lot like studying… forever.

Zeldman is right in this, “In my heart I remain an amateur. The spirit of play is where my gifts lie.” Without play, and experimentation, passion tends to run out. Burnouts happen. We become increasingly jaded. I firmly believe in the theory of 10,000 hours and improving the odds of your success with it.

I also firmly believe it is not sustainable to do so without that spirit of play that is not exclusive to the design industry. While, understandably so, it is true that we are entering the decade of design, developers are also in the midst of a new era of transformation themselves.

‘‘Creative’, as we traditionally know it, is long gone as a trade. It has evolved to something much bigger, and we all know it. A ‘Creative’ in 2020 means: business, critical and design thinking FUELED by innovation. This is the best thing that’s ever happened to it, in my humble opinion.’- I tweeted this on May 22.

The only thing I would add here is Computation.

It’s a lot like fulfilling a calling… over and over again.

Perhaps, one of the best ways to really describe what we do is ‘being deeply immersed with problem solving and collaboration’ that is bigger than ourselves. Every line of code, copy, wireframe, sketch is a step closer towards that solution, ideally. Sometimes, it feels like it is all unparalleled with one another. Sure, we can always redesign a thing, or replicate a process, or refactor a piece of component or two.

But it is never quite the same thing, as a whole. Just as much as the product evolve, so do our user’s life. The goal is to meet them where they are, and make their lives better, in some way shape or form. Without any friction, whatsoever.

We are all products of design, whether we agree to it or not. From the moment we wake up to the time we get to sleep, a small group of people dedicated a lifetime to a multidisciplinary craft to make it all happen. So we can all use an alarm clock effectively, get to work on time, organize our digital calendars, make our days a lot more productive and so on, and so forth.

The world needs designers, and designers need to embrace this calling now more than ever. Don’t ignore problems, or succumb to conformity.

From 7 months ago, on the peak of Covid:

The role of design & the value of it is most evident during the hardest times. From remote communications to teaching and maintaining a some sort of momentum while being one of the core voices of reasons for decisions, these are problems we design for, should design for and ultimately, really embody.

Now is not the time to just “make things pretty”. - Myself, March 2020

Looking forward to designing the new world with you all.

Thank you for reading,

Nikki Espartinez


I welcome any and all feedback for my writing. Would be great to hear from you!

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