Author: Jan Witkowski, Specialist UX Designer, Staszek Heyda, Senior UX Designer, and Jeff Hunt, Senior Manager UX, ICE Mortgage Technology
In May of 2021, the Career Office of the Academy of Fine Arts Jan Matejko in Krakow, Poland hosted an online career event for budding designers. ICE Mortgage Technology™ was lucky enough to be invited to participate and share some insights with these future designers about how to navigate the software industry.
During the event, “PRO ARTE MEETINGS. ENTREPRENEURIAL ART”, there were a series of deep dive presentations between students and various software companies. The event was developed to help Design students from various backgrounds understand what the user experience labor market looks like, the different employment opportunities available to them, the expectations of designers in software, and how to build a design portfolio for interviews.
Staszek Heyda, Senior UX Designer, Jeff Hunt, Senior Manager UX, and I (Jan Witowski, Specialist UX Designer) presented details on ICE Mortgage Technology design opportunities, along with tips and tricks for designers on how to get a portfolio ready for prospective employers. We presented to a packed and enthusiastic audience of about 30 attendees.
Jan Witkowski (top row, second image from left), Staszek Heyda (top row, fourth image from left), and Jeff Hunt (second row, first image from left), ICE Mortgage Technology, discussing design portfolio tips and tricks.
Three key takeaways we covered for attendees were:
- Process, Process, Process – Show your design process in your portfolio. It’s good to have workflows and sketches, not just finished screen designs.
- Enterprise UX is dealing with complexity – We are more interested in your ability to think through complex workflows, rather than traditional web design.
- Range – Show some variety in your portfolio. School projects are fine, but something showing experience with real users and business cases is great!
The top questions garnering most of the Q&A section included:
In which software design methodology are you working? Agile or Other?
We used to have a waterfall method of design and development. A few years back, we began instituting Agile design methodologies. We have been actively transitioning all of our projects into this methodology.
Is it true that in the U.S. market we shouldn't point out that we studied at the Academy of Fine Arts?
Answer: Wrong! Any UX organization is looking for a variety of backgrounds. Some designers come from fine art schools, some from practical design schools. Some also come from non-traditional backgrounds like software development.
End-of-session survey feedback from the attendees included comments like:
“I've learned that working in the industry can be more open than I thought. I got to know the expectations of employers.”
“I am most pleased with the opportunity to listen to the employees of a foreign company in English. It gives a greater view of the work of various companies, allows you to check your language skills and believe that working abroad in another language is not beyond our reach and is not scary. By the way, I am happy with the advice on the portfolio and its presentation to the company we want to reach.”