Thriving in Tech: 3 Designers, 3 Unique Backgrounds

Our latest venture to move the dial on empowering people moving into the industry.

May 5, 2021

Attention readers...🚀🚀🚀 Co.Lab’s bite-sized video series is going full speed ahead!

Remember in our last post where we shared our vision in growing a collection of real stories told by everyday techies on their career journeys? That’s right folks - it’s kicking off this week. We’ve received tons of interest from product managers, designers, and software developers alike who want to join in and add tips, tricks, and inspiration to those wanting to break into tech.

Join an Upcoming Cohort!

Get real-world experience to land your dream role in tech. Join us as a Product Manager, Designer or Developer, and put your skills into practice by shipping a real MVP! 🚀

So what are some of the folks saying when it comes to transitioning careers with non-traditional backgrounds?

Meet Cassie, Stephanie, and Lorraine. 3 talented designers, from 3 different backgrounds, with 3 different career journeys - all thriving in tech.

You're Not Alone

Before her role as a product designer at Avanade, Lorraine was a travel consultant in the tourism industry. During her process of switching careers, one of the biggest challenges she faced was the internal struggles of self-doubt and hesitation when applying for jobs.

“Seeing all those jobs [requiring 3+ years of experience], I was feeling demoralized. I lost a lot of self-confidence in myself and I was really doubting if I should actually pursue this career.”

Don’t deny it - we’ve all gone through that stage where we see that one requirement that we don’t have and feel the figurative rock drop heavy in our stomachs.

Not qualified. Won’t make it. Should I even apply?

Own Your Difference

Well Cassie says: own it. Own your non-traditional background!

“One of the things I did early on during my search for a tech-oriented career was owning my difference.”

She leveraged her background in humanities and healthcare to really speak to her passion towards healthcare products. Instead of becoming a forensic pathologist, which was her original route, Cassie is now a product designer at OneHealth.

Own your unique origin and the path you took so far, and find that niche in tech to belong in.

Curiosity Does Not Kill the Cat

Similarly, Stephanie tells us to own our knowledge gaps by staying curious.

Ask questions. Network. Meet new people in the industry. Understand more about the role you plan to move into and the industry you’ve set your eyes on.

Stephanie recounted one of the most helpful things she did early in her career transition was changing her state of mind from fretting over what she didn’t know to being curious about those same gaps.

“That resulted in me being more resourceful and utilizing the community of experienced designers and regularly networking with them to ask questions and learn from their experiences.”

It’s that growth mindset that really pushes us forward and to be comfortable with not knowing everything.

Think Big

We asked Cassie how she’d describe who a techie is. Her answer?

It’s not necessarily someone who can code, or know the latest application framework, or who has worked in the tech industry for a certain number of years.

“Someone who thinks big.”

How’s that for non-traditional? 🙌

Got a story of your own to share? We welcome all! Join in the storytelling and sign up at:

Watch our first story that started it all:

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