My Design Journey
2nd April 2021
I want to keep this pretty short so I gave myself the goal that a person should finish reading this by the time they finish listening to Uptown Funk 🎧. So let's begin,
Clueless AF 😵
I was clueless in my 12th on what to do next. There was the moment I felt I should pursue MBA (it seemed fancy and everyone was talking about it) but even for that one needs a graduate degree. I even appeared for CLAT ( I got a decent rank but not decent enough to get into any of the NLUs ).So like every other clueless guy, I ended up in an engineering college. It took me less than a week to know that engineering isn't for me. So, I spent my time just trying to pass those subjects for those 3 and a half years.
Poster boi 🖼️
One month into college, a professor had asked one of my friends to create a poster for a dance event. I only knew just the basics of Photoshop, which I had picked up after seeing someone in my 12th doing cool stuff. So, I helped him out. And that's how my design journey in college began, with one horrible poster.
A little background: My batch was every first batch of the college ( really great right :') ) and designers were scarce to none. There was a point where I was the only known designer in my 1st year ( a couple of great guys were there, but people didn't know them ).
Next week, another friend of mine asked me to help him out with a poster for a club, DSC VIT-AP and for the next 2 and half years, I designed posters, banners, ID cards and whatnots for the same club. The word got out that there was a guy who designs good posters and people started approaching me to make posters for their club events.
Team DSC Amaravati 2019-20
People knew me and they knew my posters (I don't believe that they were great). Honestly speaking, I enjoyed that attention and the confidence to keep working on it. I started learning Illustrator (illustrations aren't my strong suit). Even though I enjoyed doing it immensely, I didn't know if this was something I wanted to do for a living. So still pretty clueless.
Hues of User Experience 🎨
I was in Bangalore for a Quality Assurance internship in 2019. So, here we have a Design Intern who is going to be an ECE graduate and has done QA Internship. The only reason I was interning here is that a couple of my other friends were doing it too.
In early May, my friend saw an event on LinkedIn related to design and said why don't you attend it. So, I did. It was Hues of User Experience by Saptarshi Prakash
(I looked up and found the exact link of the event too
). There were 20 odd people there, most of them were working professionals and only a few were college students. After that event, I decided UI/UX is something I want to do for a living. I talked to Ramakrishna and he was kind enough to provide me with a bunch of resources to get started.
Found this photo, Google photos ki jai (maybe subscription lena padega?)
For the next 8-10 months, I balanced between college stuff, working for various clubs and trying to learn product design. The easiest way to say no to making posters for clubs is to start charging, then you would know who is willing to pay for your work and who isn't. So I started charging, few people were happy to pay for the work (this was the first time I earned, even if a small amount) and the rest stopped asking me. Also, by this time, there were other designers who were popping up in college. It started from 2-3 designers for multiple clubs and now, every club has a team of at least 2-3 designers.
The COVID Factor 🧬
They don't have a emoji for strain and virus wasn't that great, so that's a DNA emoji.
From the time I attended that event to the start of lockdown( that's nearly 10 months), I didn't fully concentrate on designing. I even dabbled with web development for a while but nevermind, moving on.
When COVID struck, I suddenly had a lot of free time and I decided to spend this time learning more about product design. I came across Abhinav Chhikara
's 10k designers
and joined its discord beta community (not the cohort). I worked on a design project as part of the fortnightly challenge and wrote a case study. I learnt Webflow at the same time and created my portfolio. But what now, I still wasn't sure if it was the right time for me to start applying for internships (it might sound like gyaan, but it's always the right time ).
I found Yugandhar
through the 10k community and he was kind enough to offer me a UI internship at Procedure
. This was my first design internship and I didn't know what to expect. The folks were great and I learnt a bunch of things like how different it is to design for a hypothetical problem statement and a real one, quick prototyping in figma and also, UI libraries. I really enjoyed those late-night design sessions we had.
By the time I completed my internship at Procedure, I decided I wanted to work in a product-based company. Around the same time, I got onto Twitter (after staying inactive for nearly 6 years) and found fintech interesting. I came across OnJuno
and found their product really interesting, Build from 🇮🇳 for 🌎. When they tweeted that there were looking for design interns, I applied right away. I got an interview. Man, I stammered during the whole interview and thought I messed it up, I even texted a couple of friends the same. I didn't know why exactly I messed it up.
Well, it all worked out fine in the end and it's been 6 months since I started interning at OnJuno. I got my internship extended till June and got it accepted as a final semester internship from college (quite surprised there but happy). I completed the internship here in June and would be joining a full time role in July 2021, super psyched for that.
The End, for now 👋
Though I would have still tried to make a career for myself in product design, COVID surely did accelerate the whole thing for me. Throughout the whole lockdown phase, I got to know a lot of great designers, some through Twitter (I promise to use less of it :') ).
Right now, I hope to learn a bunch of different things while working here ( got really amazing designers in the team to learn from) and hope to be ready for a full-time role by the time I graduate.
I completed the whole thing to be inside the songs' duration (at least grammarly says so 😃 )
Also, someone said to mention : Designer + Part-time memer 😂