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HowdoIgetmyfootinthedoorforProductDesignrolesandexperience?

Hey! My name is Celine and I am a freshman with a combined major of Computer Science and Design at Northeastern University in Boston, MA. Here is a question from a college freshman

As of now during my second semester of college, I am really interested in the idea of steering away from my original career path as a Software Engineer and into one for a Product Designer. I have done some research on what being a product designer entails (though the description may change drastically for various companies), and am focusing my interests on Interaction Design, albeit I have not taken any Interaction Design courses yet. I am heavily interested in the idea of wireframing, prototyping, the design process, teamwork, and working closely with engineering and designer teams.

I have technical experience in the computer programming field; I have interned at Morgan Stanley as a Software Engineer Intern in the past, and am currently a Developer intern for my high school alumni association. These experiences are extremely enriching and rewarding in growing my technical knowledge, but I have only recently decided to embark on a different path in computer science. However, as I look more into Product Design job postings, almost every posting requires a personal website with a well developed portfolio. Because I am only starting out on this path, I find myself in a Catch 22 where I have no related work experience to apply for these roles.

I've decided to dedicate my upcoming semesters and summers working towards a more "Design" oriented path in the realm of technology, and straying away from Software Engineer roles, as I've come to realize that that role is not exactly the greatest fit for me. This summer, I was hoping to work in an internship and develop real world skills and applications for Product Design, but if that plan doesn't work out, I'll create a personal website and take summer courses on campus.

Some ideas I have for developing my path towards becoming the best Product Designer I can be:

  • Get involved with on-campus clubs that celebrate Developers X Designers
  • Successfully create a personal website 
  • Practice on freelancing work to gain hands on experience 
  • Commit to blogging about my career achievements, university courses, personal development and growth, and life in general
  • Broaden my confidence in public speaking and presentations by hosting speeches and contributing to career panels on-campus

It would be amazing to hear some advice from the Mogul community and some recommendations for influencers, books, podcasts, artists, etc.! I am always open to suggestions and enjoy learning from other people's experiences.

Thanks so much for reading!

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5 replies

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  • Bethany Heinrich
    Bethany Heinrich Mogul Influencer
    9mo ago New York, NY, United States

    @Celine Yan I would recommend checking out internships. Is there a company you'd like to work for?

    @Celine Yan I would recommend checking out internships. Is there a company you'd like to work for?

    • Celine Yan
      9mo ago

      I've checked out a lot of internships posted on Glassdoor, Indeed.com, WayUp, and some on Mogul! I am working towards an ambitious goal of interning at Google or Facebook during my junior/senior year of college but as for now, I'm open to any size company (since I do agree that it is a bit late for summer internships now). 

      I've checked out a lot of internships posted on Glassdoor, Indeed.com, WayUp, and some on Mogul! I am working towards an ambitious goal of interning at Google or Facebook during my junior/senior year of college but as for now, I'm open to any size company (since I do agree that it is a bit late for summer internships now). 

    • Celine Yan
      9mo ago

      @Bethany Heinrich It would also be interesting to intern in museums for the tech X art sector, such as in the Metropolitan Museum (MET) or Museum of Fine Arts (MFA). I'll be applying to those internships soon, since their deadlines haven't passed already!

      @Bethany Heinrich It would also be interesting to intern in museums for the tech X art sector, such as in the Metropolitan Museum (MET) or Museum of Fine Arts (MFA). I'll be applying to those internships soon, since their deadlines haven't passed already!

      • Bethany Heinrich
        Bethany Heinrich Mogul Influencer
        9mo ago New York, NY, United States

        That's awesome @Celine Yan! I would recommend reaching out to some of the companies I tagged below to see what internships they have available. 

        That's awesome @Celine Yan! I would recommend reaching out to some of the companies I tagged below to see what internships they have available. 

      • Leah 94
        [deleted]
        9mo ago

        [deleted]

        [deleted]

  • Bethany Heinrich
    Bethany Heinrich Mogul Influencer
    9mo ago New York, NY, United States

    @IBM @Stitch Fix @Nike @eBay @mdchaffee @Natasha Ravinand @Titash Mandal @lola1523 @preranaK do you all have advice on how to gain experience and get your foot in the door for product design roles?

    @IBM @Stitch Fix @Nike @eBay @mdchaffee @Natasha Ravinand @Titash Mandal @lola1523 @preranaK do you all have advice on how to gain experience and get your foot in the door for product design roles?


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