by Ira Deshmukh
In an insightful interview with a successful UX designer, we got a chance to explore a student’s experiences at DePaul University and how it’s helping shape their career. Their journey offers valuable insights for aspiring UI/UX professionals, from building strong relationships with professors to seizing valuable opportunities. We spoke with Lucy Wang, a UX Designer with Peraton while pursuing her Masters at DePaul University in Human-Computer Interaction. Join us as we delve into her favorite aspects of being a student, the transition from another prestigious university, the role of internships, and the importance of finding the right resources.
Building Relationships and Gaining Insight
One of the highlights of Lucy’s experience at DePaul University was the opportunity to connect with professors. She found immense value in hearing their stories and learning from their vast knowledge and experience in the HCI industry. Establishing strong relationships with professors allowed her to gain invaluable insights into the field, further enhancing her understanding of UI/UX design.
Fostering Meaningful Connections
Aside from professors, Lucy also appreciated the chance to form bonds with fellow students. She highlighted the joy of meeting like-minded individuals, sharing experiences, and planning their academic journey together. These relationships created a strong community and support for her while still at DePaul.
The University’s Preparation for UI/UX Career
When discussing how DePaul University prepared her for a career in UI/UX, Lucy emphasized two key aspects. Firstly, the university provided the essential knowledge required for the field. Through her coursework, she acquired the necessary skills and expertise. Secondly, being a graduate student opened doors to internships exclusively available to students, providing her with practical experience and valuable opportunities. The combination of academic learning and real-world application proved instrumental in launching her career.
Transitioning and Choosing DePaul
Lucy’s transition from Yale University to DePaul University was driven by a desire to switch careers and pursue a more creative path. Though she had been accepted into law school, her passion for UX led her to DePaul. They were drawn to the program’s flexibility, allowing her to work while studying. Additionally, being based in Chicago provided the advantage of both in-person and online learning options, accommodating their busy schedule.
While engaged in extracurricular activities such as the dxua and as a graduate assistant for the Center for Teaching and Learning, Lucy highlighted the importance of internships and jobs outside the university. She encouraged prospective students to proactively seek internships early in their journey, even considering short, unpaid positions to gain valuable experience and increase their chances of securing future paid internships or job opportunities.
The Impact of DePaul’s Toolkit
When discussing the resources and facilities at DePaul that contributed to her success, Lucy primarily relied on personal initiative and networking through LinkedIn. However, she acknowledged that the classes and reading materials provided by DePaul played a significant role in shaping their interview responses and giving them a solid foundation in UX research and design.
Advice for Aspiring UX Designers
As the interview concluded, Lucy shared some crucial advice for prospective students and aspiring UX designers. Firstly, she emphasized the importance of strategically getting a foot in the door, including considering unpaid internships to gain essential experience. Secondly, she highlighted the value of pursuing a master’s degree, as it sets individuals apart from those who have solely completed boot camps. Finally, she urged readers to seek advice from experienced professionals and reliable sources, as the UX industry can be inundated with conflicting information.
The Career Center website has a wonderful curation of resources to address any career concerns such as these. Find more here!