Season 2

|

Episode 4

Standing out as a designer in today's job market

Grace Ling

Founder of Design Buddies

Aug 17, 2023

Aug 17, 2023

|

31 min

31 min

music by Dennis

About this Episode

This episode is all about engineer turned designer Grace Ling, who scored her dream job as product designer at EA and is also now the founder of the biggest design community online, Design Buddies. Grace jumpstarted her career by putting herself out there as a content creator and using some unique tactics when applying for roles. In this interview we talk about how Grace fast-tracked her learning journey, her playbook for breaking into a new company and practicals to stand-out as a designer in today's job market.


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Lauren LoPrete

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Founding Designer @ Linear

Femke

Design Lead @ Gusto

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Get our weekly breakdowns

Insights + resources from top designers πŸ‘‡

Lauren LoPrete

Director of Design Systems @ Cash App

David Hoang

VP of Marketing and Design @ Replit

Adrien Griveau

Founding Designer @ Linear

James McDonald

Designer @ Clerk

Femke

Design Lead @ Gusto

Join 10K+ designers

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Transcript chapters

Strategies for designers to stand out in the job market

[00:00:00] Grace: Hi everyone, I'm Grace. I am a UX designer, founder, and content creator and illustrator based in Silicon Valley. I founded Design Buddies, one of the largest design communities in the world with 60, 000 members helping designers across the world land jobs, improve their skills, and make friends. I'm also a UX designer at Electronic Arts, designing products for content creators and events.

[00:00:23] Grace: I'm excited to share what unconventional things helped me stand out, um, and get a job in design without any degree or certification.

[00:00:31] Ridd: Amazing. Maybe let's just jump right into that part then. What are some of the main strategies that you think designers can use to stand out in today's job market?

[00:00:41] Grace: I think designers can leverage their unique background. I feel like I've seen a lot of designers come from different paths, and a lot of times they feel behind in their career, but there's so many skills from different paths that can translate into design, such as I came from engineering, um, and I can highlight that I can bridge the gap [00:01:00] between design and engineering in my interviews and in my portfolio too.

[00:01:04] Grace: I also feel like social media, LinkedIn especially, creating content on LinkedIn and cold reaching out to people on LinkedIn has helped me increase my network, um, and meet other people and ultimately find my job in design after being ghosted many, many times by applying online. And the third thing is joining communities, online, offline, meeting people organically, And also, in those communities, finding events to go to, and connecting with people that way too. So that was what I would do to stand out as a designer and grow my network when I knew nobody, uh, or barely anyone in design when I was starting out.

Strategies for designers to stand out in the job market

[00:00:00] Grace: Hi everyone, I'm Grace. I am a UX designer, founder, and content creator and illustrator based in Silicon Valley. I founded Design Buddies, one of the largest design communities in the world with 60, 000 members helping designers across the world land jobs, improve their skills, and make friends. I'm also a UX designer at Electronic Arts, designing products for content creators and events.

[00:00:23] Grace: I'm excited to share what unconventional things helped me stand out, um, and get a job in design without any degree or certification.

[00:00:31] Ridd: Amazing. Maybe let's just jump right into that part then. What are some of the main strategies that you think designers can use to stand out in today's job market?

[00:00:41] Grace: I think designers can leverage their unique background. I feel like I've seen a lot of designers come from different paths, and a lot of times they feel behind in their career, but there's so many skills from different paths that can translate into design, such as I came from engineering, um, and I can highlight that I can bridge the gap [00:01:00] between design and engineering in my interviews and in my portfolio too.

[00:01:04] Grace: I also feel like social media, LinkedIn especially, creating content on LinkedIn and cold reaching out to people on LinkedIn has helped me increase my network, um, and meet other people and ultimately find my job in design after being ghosted many, many times by applying online. And the third thing is joining communities, online, offline, meeting people organically, And also, in those communities, finding events to go to, and connecting with people that way too. So that was what I would do to stand out as a designer and grow my network when I knew nobody, uh, or barely anyone in design when I was starting out.

Leveraging Linkedin as a personal marketing tool

[00:01:41] Ridd: Let's zoom in on the LinkedIn piece a little bit because you've like quickly become one of my favorite people on LinkedIn because what you post is genuinely engaging and just feels really fresh and unique in the sea of like corporate regurgitation, you know, and so like, how do you [00:02:00] approach the platform?

[00:02:01] Ridd: What is your strategy and how do you even think about what it looks like to put yourself out there like that?

[00:02:06] Grace: Yeah, for LinkedIn, I used to feel like it was such an intimidating place. Um, as a student, when I joined LinkedIn in college, I was like, this seems like a place where people just say, I'm excited to announce I landed a job at Feng. And I felt like a small potato. I was like, who am I? I'm just like a small potato student.

[00:02:23] Grace: And I didn't feel like qualified to post on LinkedIn. And then 2020 happened. It was in a pandemic. Um, I was stuck at home and I was like, you know, And I've seen people share more stories on LinkedIn, and I was like, this seems like a wholesome place, so I started just sharing about my journey, my life, uh, what I was learning, and during 2020 was also the time when I was transitioning my career from computer science to design, and I wanted to meet other people, meet other designers on LinkedIn, too.

[00:02:49] Grace: But some background about myself is, I've been a content creator since I was in high school. I started on Tumblr back in 2014. Long story short, I kept getting bad [00:03:00] grades in language arts, and I wanted to improve my writing skills, so I started writing on Tumblr. And then I got like, 7 or 8 thousand followers, and I was like, this is fun!

[00:03:08] Grace: so I started improving my writing skills and content creation skills on Tumblr, Tumblr died, went to Instagram, um, still do Instagram now, and then now, more seriously, I like LinkedIn, Twitter and TikTok. So that's how I like brought my background to content creation and brought it to LinkedIn and on LinkedIn I always like to kind of be different.

[00:03:29] Grace: I always thought normal was boring and I thought corporatized content I was just like, you know, it's like the same same as everyone else. I'm like, what can I bring to the table? How can I make people laugh you entertain because I was like a class clown growing up still like that to this day. So I started posting like memes lifestyle stuff.

[00:03:46] Grace: And so for LinkedIn, I really focus on what kind of skills can I highlight? Like what kind of like technical skills, soft skills, but also, um, what kind of like things can I bring to LinkedIn to help people relate more and connect more or [00:04:00] feel inspired by? So yeah, it's kind of how I approach LinkedIn based on my background and what I've seen out there.

[00:04:06] Ridd: One of the things that's really inspired me about you, grace, is that you didn't wait until you felt like an expert, or you felt like you had really broken in to start creating and putting yourself out there, like you were really documenting the very early stages of your own learning journey. Can you tell us a little bit more about what that was like?

[00:04:26] Ridd: Did you ever feel out of place or uncomfortable sharing when, you know, you were still really young in your career?

[00:04:33] Grace: Yeah, I did feel uncomfortable before, but I feel like in the past few years, I've had this mindset of I'd rather live my life asking for forgiveness instead of asking for permission. also, during LinkedIn, in 2020, I've also seen people, like students, posting a lot on LinkedIn. And that also, Inspired me to start posting on LinkedIn as well, but I feel like as a student or even as someone without a job yet I feel like there's a lot [00:05:00] of value I could also bring because there's lots of people on LinkedIn who don't have a job yet I can help them feel like less alone.

[00:05:06] Grace: I can help them in their career paths. I'm more relatable as well So there's a lot of value you could still bring to LinkedIn Even if you haven't landed like your goal job or goal career yet

[00:05:16] Ridd: What would you say to someone who is worried about being too cringed by putting themselves out there on the internet?

[00:05:22] Grace: I would say like, what do you have to lose? Yeah, I used to worry a lot about what other people would think about my posts on LinkedIn, say that I'm cringe, but at the day, it is your life to live, and not everyone's opinions really matter at the end of the day. Um, no matter what, in my experience, there's always gonna be people who like you, people who dislike you, and that is okay. Um, I just kind of accept the fact that I just let everyone have their own opinion. I don't have to please everyone. As long as I'm helping the majority, that is okay. As long as I help at least one person, that is okay.

[00:05:52] Grace: And it's, it's totally okay for people to think I'm cringe because it doesn't impact me in any way. Um, so I just live my life [00:06:00] like that and post away.

Leveraging Linkedin as a personal marketing tool

[00:01:41] Ridd: Let's zoom in on the LinkedIn piece a little bit because you've like quickly become one of my favorite people on LinkedIn because what you post is genuinely engaging and just feels really fresh and unique in the sea of like corporate regurgitation, you know, and so like, how do you [00:02:00] approach the platform?

[00:02:01] Ridd: What is your strategy and how do you even think about what it looks like to put yourself out there like that?

[00:02:06] Grace: Yeah, for LinkedIn, I used to feel like it was such an intimidating place. Um, as a student, when I joined LinkedIn in college, I was like, this seems like a place where people just say, I'm excited to announce I landed a job at Feng. And I felt like a small potato. I was like, who am I? I'm just like a small potato student.

[00:02:23] Grace: And I didn't feel like qualified to post on LinkedIn. And then 2020 happened. It was in a pandemic. Um, I was stuck at home and I was like, you know, And I've seen people share more stories on LinkedIn, and I was like, this seems like a wholesome place, so I started just sharing about my journey, my life, uh, what I was learning, and during 2020 was also the time when I was transitioning my career from computer science to design, and I wanted to meet other people, meet other designers on LinkedIn, too.

[00:02:49] Grace: But some background about myself is, I've been a content creator since I was in high school. I started on Tumblr back in 2014. Long story short, I kept getting bad [00:03:00] grades in language arts, and I wanted to improve my writing skills, so I started writing on Tumblr. And then I got like, 7 or 8 thousand followers, and I was like, this is fun!

[00:03:08] Grace: so I started improving my writing skills and content creation skills on Tumblr, Tumblr died, went to Instagram, um, still do Instagram now, and then now, more seriously, I like LinkedIn, Twitter and TikTok. So that's how I like brought my background to content creation and brought it to LinkedIn and on LinkedIn I always like to kind of be different.

[00:03:29] Grace: I always thought normal was boring and I thought corporatized content I was just like, you know, it's like the same same as everyone else. I'm like, what can I bring to the table? How can I make people laugh you entertain because I was like a class clown growing up still like that to this day. So I started posting like memes lifestyle stuff.

[00:03:46] Grace: And so for LinkedIn, I really focus on what kind of skills can I highlight? Like what kind of like technical skills, soft skills, but also, um, what kind of like things can I bring to LinkedIn to help people relate more and connect more or [00:04:00] feel inspired by? So yeah, it's kind of how I approach LinkedIn based on my background and what I've seen out there.

[00:04:06] Ridd: One of the things that's really inspired me about you, grace, is that you didn't wait until you felt like an expert, or you felt like you had really broken in to start creating and putting yourself out there, like you were really documenting the very early stages of your own learning journey. Can you tell us a little bit more about what that was like?

[00:04:26] Ridd: Did you ever feel out of place or uncomfortable sharing when, you know, you were still really young in your career?

[00:04:33] Grace: Yeah, I did feel uncomfortable before, but I feel like in the past few years, I've had this mindset of I'd rather live my life asking for forgiveness instead of asking for permission. also, during LinkedIn, in 2020, I've also seen people, like students, posting a lot on LinkedIn. And that also, Inspired me to start posting on LinkedIn as well, but I feel like as a student or even as someone without a job yet I feel like there's a lot [00:05:00] of value I could also bring because there's lots of people on LinkedIn who don't have a job yet I can help them feel like less alone.

[00:05:06] Grace: I can help them in their career paths. I'm more relatable as well So there's a lot of value you could still bring to LinkedIn Even if you haven't landed like your goal job or goal career yet

[00:05:16] Ridd: What would you say to someone who is worried about being too cringed by putting themselves out there on the internet?

[00:05:22] Grace: I would say like, what do you have to lose? Yeah, I used to worry a lot about what other people would think about my posts on LinkedIn, say that I'm cringe, but at the day, it is your life to live, and not everyone's opinions really matter at the end of the day. Um, no matter what, in my experience, there's always gonna be people who like you, people who dislike you, and that is okay. Um, I just kind of accept the fact that I just let everyone have their own opinion. I don't have to please everyone. As long as I'm helping the majority, that is okay. As long as I help at least one person, that is okay.

[00:05:52] Grace: And it's, it's totally okay for people to think I'm cringe because it doesn't impact me in any way. Um, so I just live my life [00:06:00] like that and post away.

Usefulness of feedback to grow an online presence

[00:06:02] Ridd: Yeah, I think that's important for people to hear because even as I've, you know, invested in my own predominantly Twitter presence, but you know, I would consider myself a content creator and putting myself out there and it can be a little bit scary, but As you grow, you inevitably can't please every single person.

[00:06:19] Ridd: And so having some kind of like negative feedback is kind of par for the course as more and more people start seeing your stuff and the positives have so outweighed that feedback that it's become relatively easy to just kind of ignore it because the fact is like social media has opened up more for me in my career than anything else. my Twitter DMs are the most valuable investment that I have in my entire career, way more than my portfolio or my resume or, uh, any like projects that I've worked on, uh, which is kind of wild to think about because I would have never seen that coming[00:07:00] even two years ago.

[00:07:02] Grace: Yeah, for me, I also get a lot of feedback because I also run Design Buddies, so there's so much feedback to me every day. Instead of taking negative feedback in, I kind of take it as data. Um, if it's cringe, I like to unpack why is it cringe and ask people like, oh, why do you feel that way? Is there something, like, I can change myself?

[00:07:20] Grace: So instead of feeling, like, personally attacked by the feedback, I would say as data to help me improve.

[00:07:25] Ridd: Yeah, it makes sense. so it makes me think too, like some of the ways that I have learned the most efficiently have just been putting out something I'm working on on Twitter, on LinkedIn and getting that like quick level of feedback or pushback on an idea. Maybe for me, it would be like an implementation strategy in Figma. And maybe I just missed one thing. And by being quick to share what I'm learning, it accelerates that learning by just having these like really rapid feedback loops.

[00:07:54] Grace: Data, it's iteration, it's all a process. You're never going to be perfect, it doesn't exist, but it's all [00:08:00] about, for me at least, it's all about the learning and feedback along the way.

Usefulness of feedback to grow an online presence

[00:06:02] Ridd: Yeah, I think that's important for people to hear because even as I've, you know, invested in my own predominantly Twitter presence, but you know, I would consider myself a content creator and putting myself out there and it can be a little bit scary, but As you grow, you inevitably can't please every single person.

[00:06:19] Ridd: And so having some kind of like negative feedback is kind of par for the course as more and more people start seeing your stuff and the positives have so outweighed that feedback that it's become relatively easy to just kind of ignore it because the fact is like social media has opened up more for me in my career than anything else. my Twitter DMs are the most valuable investment that I have in my entire career, way more than my portfolio or my resume or, uh, any like projects that I've worked on, uh, which is kind of wild to think about because I would have never seen that coming[00:07:00] even two years ago.

[00:07:02] Grace: Yeah, for me, I also get a lot of feedback because I also run Design Buddies, so there's so much feedback to me every day. Instead of taking negative feedback in, I kind of take it as data. Um, if it's cringe, I like to unpack why is it cringe and ask people like, oh, why do you feel that way? Is there something, like, I can change myself?

[00:07:20] Grace: So instead of feeling, like, personally attacked by the feedback, I would say as data to help me improve.

[00:07:25] Ridd: Yeah, it makes sense. so it makes me think too, like some of the ways that I have learned the most efficiently have just been putting out something I'm working on on Twitter, on LinkedIn and getting that like quick level of feedback or pushback on an idea. Maybe for me, it would be like an implementation strategy in Figma. And maybe I just missed one thing. And by being quick to share what I'm learning, it accelerates that learning by just having these like really rapid feedback loops.

[00:07:54] Grace: Data, it's iteration, it's all a process. You're never going to be perfect, it doesn't exist, but it's all [00:08:00] about, for me at least, it's all about the learning and feedback along the way.

How to build a network to land your dream role

[00:08:04] Ridd: I love it. So let's set the scene really quickly. I'd like to imagine a quick hypothetical. Let's say that I am someone that has absolutely no social presence. I don't really have the time to start from zero and build this audience. I also don't have a network, so like I'm not going to get a warm referral into my next job at this current point in time.

[00:08:28] Ridd: And let's say I've fired off like the last, I don't know, 20 applications and I haven't heard back, what advice would you have for me and maybe what are some of the ways that I can start to get momentum on building a network that would ultimately help me land my next role?

[00:08:44] Grace: That was exactly the same thing that happened to me early 2020. I was desperately looking for a design internship because it was one of the last summers that I could still intern and I really wanted that summer internship to help get my foot in the door. So I was [00:09:00] pretty desperate. So I started cold reaching out to 400 people on LinkedIn.

[00:09:03] Grace: but prior to that, I had a complete portfolio, I had my resume, had my projects ready to present, so I had to do a lot of prep before I reached out to these people, and a, and a complete LinkedIn profile as well. But how I reached out to these 400 people, which ultimately landed my current job at EA, is, on LinkedIn, I searched for senior design manager, design director, manager, heads of design, um, and I would switch between UX design, product design, and then I would search that, filter by company, and filter by location, and send everybody a personalized invite, and I would look at Each profile, who people also view that section and add everyone there as well.

[00:09:44] Grace: And what I said on those short personalized invite was, Hi, I'm Grace. I am a grad student studying computer science and engineering. I'm working towards a career in UX slash product design. Would love to know how you got to where you are today. Thank you. So very [00:10:00] short and sweet. Keep it very basic.

[00:10:02] Grace: I would also look at their profiles, so if we had something in common, like if we went to the same school, I would say, like, go Broncos, or if we had, like, a same background, I would say, like, oh, we both like illustration too, so I would send a basic message, but if I find something in common, I would highlight that in my initial message. So I sent about 400 within the course of one month, and then about 100 or so people accepted, um, and about Half of them, like 50 people replied and I hopped on about 20 different phone calls with people and that is how I got my main job and I can dive into that more if you like.

How to build a network to land your dream role

[00:08:04] Ridd: I love it. So let's set the scene really quickly. I'd like to imagine a quick hypothetical. Let's say that I am someone that has absolutely no social presence. I don't really have the time to start from zero and build this audience. I also don't have a network, so like I'm not going to get a warm referral into my next job at this current point in time.

[00:08:28] Ridd: And let's say I've fired off like the last, I don't know, 20 applications and I haven't heard back, what advice would you have for me and maybe what are some of the ways that I can start to get momentum on building a network that would ultimately help me land my next role?

[00:08:44] Grace: That was exactly the same thing that happened to me early 2020. I was desperately looking for a design internship because it was one of the last summers that I could still intern and I really wanted that summer internship to help get my foot in the door. So I was [00:09:00] pretty desperate. So I started cold reaching out to 400 people on LinkedIn.

[00:09:03] Grace: but prior to that, I had a complete portfolio, I had my resume, had my projects ready to present, so I had to do a lot of prep before I reached out to these people, and a, and a complete LinkedIn profile as well. But how I reached out to these 400 people, which ultimately landed my current job at EA, is, on LinkedIn, I searched for senior design manager, design director, manager, heads of design, um, and I would switch between UX design, product design, and then I would search that, filter by company, and filter by location, and send everybody a personalized invite, and I would look at Each profile, who people also view that section and add everyone there as well.

[00:09:44] Grace: And what I said on those short personalized invite was, Hi, I'm Grace. I am a grad student studying computer science and engineering. I'm working towards a career in UX slash product design. Would love to know how you got to where you are today. Thank you. So very [00:10:00] short and sweet. Keep it very basic.

[00:10:02] Grace: I would also look at their profiles, so if we had something in common, like if we went to the same school, I would say, like, go Broncos, or if we had, like, a same background, I would say, like, oh, we both like illustration too, so I would send a basic message, but if I find something in common, I would highlight that in my initial message. So I sent about 400 within the course of one month, and then about 100 or so people accepted, um, and about Half of them, like 50 people replied and I hopped on about 20 different phone calls with people and that is how I got my main job and I can dive into that more if you like.

Lessons in landing your dream job

[00:10:38] Ridd: yeah, let's talk more about that because that is a process that anyone can do. And that conversion rate, like 20 calls is really high. I wouldn't have expected that. What did you learn in that process? And like, maybe what are the ways that you kind of iterated on your own approach based off of those learnings?

[00:10:54] Grace: Yeah, the biggest mistake I've made in the beginning that is that I was too clear that I wanted a job and [00:11:00] I could tell what the vibes it was really off putting, but I was also very desperate but I shouldn't have made it that way. I feel like nowadays looking back three years later looking at 22 year old grace I would say focus on making connections first because if you directly make your ask within the first contact, it feels very transactional and it kind of kills the vibes because I had people like do that to me and so now on the other side, reflecting back on my old self, I can reflect and see like What are the potential mistakes I made along the way?

[00:11:29] Grace: So I would focus on making a connection and not having any expectations going in, but just focus on meeting that person, connecting with them, knowing their story, and finding ways to mutually help each other. Reframing networking as making friends, learning about each other, finding ways that you can help each other.

[00:11:46] Grace: when I Continue to iterate on these conversations. I just focused on making friends and so the outcome of that was I got a job, but also lots of people referring me, but also lifelong mentors. I still stay in touch with them to this day. [00:12:00] We help each other out. I help them give referrals to EA.

[00:12:02] Grace: So it's like that connection, that investment, that might yield, might not yield results like right in the moment, but staying connected, updating them, and helping each other out along the way in your design career too, has helped me a lot.

[00:12:16] Ridd: I'd love to learn a little bit more about those 20 calls that you had. What was your strategy going in and what did you learn along the way?

[00:12:24] Grace: For those 20 calls, at first, I was also working with a mentor. I met a mentor actually on a Facebook social group, and he was a senior recruiter, and he actually inspired me to start outreaching to people that way. And for those 20 calls, definitely worked a lot with him to help craft my questions.

[00:12:44] Grace: I would prepare a list of questions, like basic questions, like how did you get into design, what are the challenges you face along the way, what are the resources that help you the most. So just kind of getting to know them and treating the conversation really organically. And I would deep dive on their profile and seeing what [00:13:00] experiences do they have.

[00:13:01] Grace: I will look at their portfolio, their social links to see like, who they are as a person, and craft really specific messages about that. Um, and so I try to make the conversation just like, really casual, focus on their story, and so I can find talking points that I can deep dive and learn more about in.

[00:13:18] Ridd: were these people working at companies where you were ultimately trying to land a job? And how did you approach that tension? Like, did you ever come out and ask about any specific roles or did you even have any clear ask at the end of these conversations or was it purely just making friends, establishing a network?

[00:13:38] Grace: Yes, these were all people that, uh, companies that I was interested in working in. Um, the mistake I've made was, in the beginning, I had that clear ask. And it kinda killed the vibes, and I was like, oh, I shouldn't do that. Um, so I just kinda kept it open ended. And because of my background, reaching out, a lot of them assumed that I wanted a job, so I didn't really have to say that, and they would offer that for [00:14:00] me.

[00:14:00] Grace: So I was really appreciative for that, but, yeah, looking back, I probably would not ask. Well, some people appreciate that directness, so I guess it really depends on the person. But in my case, that one person I asked, it kind of killed the vibe, so I stopped, I stopped making it clear.

Lessons in landing your dream job

[00:10:38] Ridd: yeah, let's talk more about that because that is a process that anyone can do. And that conversion rate, like 20 calls is really high. I wouldn't have expected that. What did you learn in that process? And like, maybe what are the ways that you kind of iterated on your own approach based off of those learnings?

[00:10:54] Grace: Yeah, the biggest mistake I've made in the beginning that is that I was too clear that I wanted a job and [00:11:00] I could tell what the vibes it was really off putting, but I was also very desperate but I shouldn't have made it that way. I feel like nowadays looking back three years later looking at 22 year old grace I would say focus on making connections first because if you directly make your ask within the first contact, it feels very transactional and it kind of kills the vibes because I had people like do that to me and so now on the other side, reflecting back on my old self, I can reflect and see like What are the potential mistakes I made along the way?

[00:11:29] Grace: So I would focus on making a connection and not having any expectations going in, but just focus on meeting that person, connecting with them, knowing their story, and finding ways to mutually help each other. Reframing networking as making friends, learning about each other, finding ways that you can help each other.

[00:11:46] Grace: when I Continue to iterate on these conversations. I just focused on making friends and so the outcome of that was I got a job, but also lots of people referring me, but also lifelong mentors. I still stay in touch with them to this day. [00:12:00] We help each other out. I help them give referrals to EA.

[00:12:02] Grace: So it's like that connection, that investment, that might yield, might not yield results like right in the moment, but staying connected, updating them, and helping each other out along the way in your design career too, has helped me a lot.

[00:12:16] Ridd: I'd love to learn a little bit more about those 20 calls that you had. What was your strategy going in and what did you learn along the way?

[00:12:24] Grace: For those 20 calls, at first, I was also working with a mentor. I met a mentor actually on a Facebook social group, and he was a senior recruiter, and he actually inspired me to start outreaching to people that way. And for those 20 calls, definitely worked a lot with him to help craft my questions.

[00:12:44] Grace: I would prepare a list of questions, like basic questions, like how did you get into design, what are the challenges you face along the way, what are the resources that help you the most. So just kind of getting to know them and treating the conversation really organically. And I would deep dive on their profile and seeing what [00:13:00] experiences do they have.

[00:13:01] Grace: I will look at their portfolio, their social links to see like, who they are as a person, and craft really specific messages about that. Um, and so I try to make the conversation just like, really casual, focus on their story, and so I can find talking points that I can deep dive and learn more about in.

[00:13:18] Ridd: were these people working at companies where you were ultimately trying to land a job? And how did you approach that tension? Like, did you ever come out and ask about any specific roles or did you even have any clear ask at the end of these conversations or was it purely just making friends, establishing a network?

[00:13:38] Grace: Yes, these were all people that, uh, companies that I was interested in working in. Um, the mistake I've made was, in the beginning, I had that clear ask. And it kinda killed the vibes, and I was like, oh, I shouldn't do that. Um, so I just kinda kept it open ended. And because of my background, reaching out, a lot of them assumed that I wanted a job, so I didn't really have to say that, and they would offer that for [00:14:00] me.

[00:14:00] Grace: So I was really appreciative for that, but, yeah, looking back, I probably would not ask. Well, some people appreciate that directness, so I guess it really depends on the person. But in my case, that one person I asked, it kind of killed the vibe, so I stopped, I stopped making it clear.

Landing the role at EA

[00:14:15] Ridd: Can you share a little bit more about the specific story of how you landed that role at EA and maybe just like any advice that comes out of that where other people can kind of learn from your journey?

[00:14:27] Grace: Yeah, at EA, I reached out to the director of my team on LinkedIn, had a call with him. Originally, so when I schedule these calls, um, I always make sure to schedule just 15 minutes of their time on the phone, so very low commitment. But I remember reaching out to Marlon on my team, and we had a chat, and we ended up talking for like 45 minutes or an hour.

[00:14:51] Grace: And we had a lot of similarities in our design journeys because he also came from computer science as well, so we really connected on that. And I remember he [00:15:00] also offered me, um, he also said, like, Do you want to work at EA, like, as an intern this summer? I can squeeze you in. And I was like, yes! Um, and through that process, it took a couple of months, I would say two to three months, because It was also April, May, very late in the game, so He had to talk to a lot of people to make the internship happen and open another spot for me that summer So it was a hope I had to be really patient and I follow if I didn't get a response within a week I would follow up as that with that as well And this was like mid April, um, but I also asked after Marlee was like, Oh, do you want to work at EA?

[00:15:42] Grace: And I was like, yeah! And I was like, let me know what's the best way I can prepare myself. Here's my portfolio and resume, would love your feedback on anything that would make me a valuable addition to your team. And so I also approach it just like, not just because I want a job, but I also want to improve myself and know where I can improve.[00:16:00]

[00:16:00] Grace: Um, and so the whole process took a while, um, but he got back to me around May or so, um. And then I started my internship in June, but throughout that, in May, I still had to interview. Um, so I interviewed with two people on my team, it was mostly behavioral and portfolio walkthrough interviews. So I still had to have a strong portfolio, um, strong LinkedIn profile, and some projects to show, to show, demonstrate my interest in UX design, to get that role too.

[00:16:30] Grace: Um, and then, yeah, started in June. Did an internship throughout, uh, summer and fall 2020 and started working full time since December 2020 on the same team. Different products though, but still on the same team.

Landing the role at EA

[00:14:15] Ridd: Can you share a little bit more about the specific story of how you landed that role at EA and maybe just like any advice that comes out of that where other people can kind of learn from your journey?

[00:14:27] Grace: Yeah, at EA, I reached out to the director of my team on LinkedIn, had a call with him. Originally, so when I schedule these calls, um, I always make sure to schedule just 15 minutes of their time on the phone, so very low commitment. But I remember reaching out to Marlon on my team, and we had a chat, and we ended up talking for like 45 minutes or an hour.

[00:14:51] Grace: And we had a lot of similarities in our design journeys because he also came from computer science as well, so we really connected on that. And I remember he [00:15:00] also offered me, um, he also said, like, Do you want to work at EA, like, as an intern this summer? I can squeeze you in. And I was like, yes! Um, and through that process, it took a couple of months, I would say two to three months, because It was also April, May, very late in the game, so He had to talk to a lot of people to make the internship happen and open another spot for me that summer So it was a hope I had to be really patient and I follow if I didn't get a response within a week I would follow up as that with that as well And this was like mid April, um, but I also asked after Marlee was like, Oh, do you want to work at EA?

[00:15:42] Grace: And I was like, yeah! And I was like, let me know what's the best way I can prepare myself. Here's my portfolio and resume, would love your feedback on anything that would make me a valuable addition to your team. And so I also approach it just like, not just because I want a job, but I also want to improve myself and know where I can improve.[00:16:00]

[00:16:00] Grace: Um, and so the whole process took a while, um, but he got back to me around May or so, um. And then I started my internship in June, but throughout that, in May, I still had to interview. Um, so I interviewed with two people on my team, it was mostly behavioral and portfolio walkthrough interviews. So I still had to have a strong portfolio, um, strong LinkedIn profile, and some projects to show, to show, demonstrate my interest in UX design, to get that role too.

[00:16:30] Grace: Um, and then, yeah, started in June. Did an internship throughout, uh, summer and fall 2020 and started working full time since December 2020 on the same team. Different products though, but still on the same team.

Going from engineer to designer

[00:16:43] Ridd: Well, congratulations, I'd love to backtrack a little bit and we, you know, we've talked about the, the application strategy. Now, I'd like to talk a little bit more about your strategy and how you approached gaining the skills that were necessary as someone that had an [00:17:00] engineering background and didn't actually

[00:17:01] Ridd: have a design degree. So what was that process look like? How, how did you know where to start? And maybe you can even share a little bit about the order that you approached learning the necessary skills to land that first role,

[00:17:17] Grace: Yeah, I was drawn to design because I feel like design is like art and science. And growing up, I was really into art. I drew a lot of anime art and my engineering background for the science. During one of my internships in summer 2019, I was a virtual reality robotic surgery game developer intern at Intuitive Surgical. So I was a developer, but I worked with designers, and I made a game, a VR game, um, to train surgeons end to end. In that process, I learned about design thinking, UX design, getting feedback, iterating, and I was like, I want to get more into that.

[00:17:49] Grace: I didn't really like the coding side too much, but I really liked that design, level design aspect. So... That is how we discovered UX product design in summer of 2019. [00:18:00] In the fall, I also started my master's degree in computer engineering because I thought I wanted to be a software engineer. And then I actually thought of dropping out many times, but I, I stuck through, ended up graduating three years later part time.

[00:18:12] Grace: Um, but during that fall of 2019, I was in school and I was like, I kind of don't really like programming and I'm only here because... Being born and raised in Silicon Valley, I was like, I gotta learn how to code. I gotta get good at this. Um, but I went, my heart wasn't really feeling the code. Like I wasn't like vibing with it.

[00:18:30] Grace: Um, and during that time, I also started joining some online design communities. And reaching out to some of my friends who worked with designers just to learn more about what they do, and I was like, I like UX design! And so I watch a lot of tutorials on YouTube about what is UX design, what do they do, what kind of products do they work on, what kind of skills do they have, so, I was just like, Googling YouTube, and I remember running into like, Femke, Chunbuns, their videos as well.

[00:18:58] Grace: So that's how I like, learned a lot of UX [00:19:00] design. and so I'm learning the fundamentals first, and then I also considered signing up for a boot camp. Um, but at the same time, I was already enrolled in master's degree. So I was like, I guess I'll just like, stick with this, because I wasn't sure, and like, not do the boot camp, because I can't do both.

[00:19:15] Grace: So I just kind of learned design part time when I was in school and then I was looking at a lot of different case studies online on portfolios best folios and I've noticed a lot of like redesign projects so a lot of times people would analyze pain points So I chose Discord and I just interviewed users, my friends using the app, like, what do you struggle with that?

[00:19:39] Grace: Um, so I found a pain point. People find it hard to keep up with messages. So I went through a design challenge and designed a solution for that, put it as my first case study. my background's also in game design, so I also put one of my games in my case study too. So those are the two case studies I had in my first portfolio. but to get more experience in design, [00:20:00] I volunteered a lot. I had some friends with startups without funding yet, so I volunteered as a designer. I also volunteered for a couple of non profits I also did a lot of design competitions with adobe creative jams hackathons to kind of build my experience my skill sets and way of Collaborating with people to build products.

[00:20:17] Grace: So, combination of learning fundamentals, leveraging my existing background, finding these other opportunities to, um, brush up and improve my design skills has ultimately helped me land my first job and have a strong, um, first beginner junior designer portfolio.

[00:20:35] Ridd: Your story really resonates with me specifically because I'm also self taught like I didn't have this design degree I wasn't even working at a big company at any point early in my career.

[00:20:45] Ridd: So I didn't really have this Mentoring helping me think about like the order that I would learn things in and so I'm kind of curious like knowing what you know Now and you've been in this role at EA you're having success What advice [00:21:00] would you give to a self taught designer to do things a little bit differently than, uh, your own journey?

[00:21:07] Grace: Yeah, first of all, I feel like a lot of people have different learning styles, so just because something worked for me, doesn't mean it will work for you, and just because something worked for you, doesn't mean it will work for me, and I feel like on the internet these days, you see a lot of noise, like a lot of people sharing their journeys, and a lot of imposter syndrome, so, just wanted to say that whatever works for you, focus on that, but also, being open minded to other paths, like other, like, methods to learn design.

[00:21:33] Grace: So looking back, I would actually join a lot of design communities. I was kind of doing it in a silo, I wasn't really active in a lot of design communities. Um, so I would join design communities and see the resources they have there, attend their events, connect with people there, learn about what they do.

[00:21:48] Grace: And access more resources that way and I would also learn the fundamentals first. Like what is design thinking? What is the UX design process? Reading medium articles, youtube tutorials, youtube videos, and just getting a [00:22:00] brief overview about the job and what kind of skills you need and then leveraging those to get gain experience by doing hackathons, volunteer work, uh freelance work and stuff and just finding ways to like use those skills To action as soon as you can.

[00:22:15] Grace: for me I was learning and working on these skills at the same time because I feel like how I actually improve is actually doing Doing design. So I would not hesitate and just jump into projects and get feedback along the way too. And actually, that's part of the why I started design buddies is I felt really lost when I was starting out in design.

[00:22:34] Grace: I didn't really know anyone, I felt personally intimidated in talking with other design communities, so I started Design Buddies as a resource for myself to, to learn design and connect with others too. And now it's helped so many people learn design and connect with others.

Going from engineer to designer

[00:16:43] Ridd: Well, congratulations, I'd love to backtrack a little bit and we, you know, we've talked about the, the application strategy. Now, I'd like to talk a little bit more about your strategy and how you approached gaining the skills that were necessary as someone that had an [00:17:00] engineering background and didn't actually

[00:17:01] Ridd: have a design degree. So what was that process look like? How, how did you know where to start? And maybe you can even share a little bit about the order that you approached learning the necessary skills to land that first role,

[00:17:17] Grace: Yeah, I was drawn to design because I feel like design is like art and science. And growing up, I was really into art. I drew a lot of anime art and my engineering background for the science. During one of my internships in summer 2019, I was a virtual reality robotic surgery game developer intern at Intuitive Surgical. So I was a developer, but I worked with designers, and I made a game, a VR game, um, to train surgeons end to end. In that process, I learned about design thinking, UX design, getting feedback, iterating, and I was like, I want to get more into that.

[00:17:49] Grace: I didn't really like the coding side too much, but I really liked that design, level design aspect. So... That is how we discovered UX product design in summer of 2019. [00:18:00] In the fall, I also started my master's degree in computer engineering because I thought I wanted to be a software engineer. And then I actually thought of dropping out many times, but I, I stuck through, ended up graduating three years later part time.

[00:18:12] Grace: Um, but during that fall of 2019, I was in school and I was like, I kind of don't really like programming and I'm only here because... Being born and raised in Silicon Valley, I was like, I gotta learn how to code. I gotta get good at this. Um, but I went, my heart wasn't really feeling the code. Like I wasn't like vibing with it.

[00:18:30] Grace: Um, and during that time, I also started joining some online design communities. And reaching out to some of my friends who worked with designers just to learn more about what they do, and I was like, I like UX design! And so I watch a lot of tutorials on YouTube about what is UX design, what do they do, what kind of products do they work on, what kind of skills do they have, so, I was just like, Googling YouTube, and I remember running into like, Femke, Chunbuns, their videos as well.

[00:18:58] Grace: So that's how I like, learned a lot of UX [00:19:00] design. and so I'm learning the fundamentals first, and then I also considered signing up for a boot camp. Um, but at the same time, I was already enrolled in master's degree. So I was like, I guess I'll just like, stick with this, because I wasn't sure, and like, not do the boot camp, because I can't do both.

[00:19:15] Grace: So I just kind of learned design part time when I was in school and then I was looking at a lot of different case studies online on portfolios best folios and I've noticed a lot of like redesign projects so a lot of times people would analyze pain points So I chose Discord and I just interviewed users, my friends using the app, like, what do you struggle with that?

[00:19:39] Grace: Um, so I found a pain point. People find it hard to keep up with messages. So I went through a design challenge and designed a solution for that, put it as my first case study. my background's also in game design, so I also put one of my games in my case study too. So those are the two case studies I had in my first portfolio. but to get more experience in design, [00:20:00] I volunteered a lot. I had some friends with startups without funding yet, so I volunteered as a designer. I also volunteered for a couple of non profits I also did a lot of design competitions with adobe creative jams hackathons to kind of build my experience my skill sets and way of Collaborating with people to build products.

[00:20:17] Grace: So, combination of learning fundamentals, leveraging my existing background, finding these other opportunities to, um, brush up and improve my design skills has ultimately helped me land my first job and have a strong, um, first beginner junior designer portfolio.

[00:20:35] Ridd: Your story really resonates with me specifically because I'm also self taught like I didn't have this design degree I wasn't even working at a big company at any point early in my career.

[00:20:45] Ridd: So I didn't really have this Mentoring helping me think about like the order that I would learn things in and so I'm kind of curious like knowing what you know Now and you've been in this role at EA you're having success What advice [00:21:00] would you give to a self taught designer to do things a little bit differently than, uh, your own journey?

[00:21:07] Grace: Yeah, first of all, I feel like a lot of people have different learning styles, so just because something worked for me, doesn't mean it will work for you, and just because something worked for you, doesn't mean it will work for me, and I feel like on the internet these days, you see a lot of noise, like a lot of people sharing their journeys, and a lot of imposter syndrome, so, just wanted to say that whatever works for you, focus on that, but also, being open minded to other paths, like other, like, methods to learn design.

[00:21:33] Grace: So looking back, I would actually join a lot of design communities. I was kind of doing it in a silo, I wasn't really active in a lot of design communities. Um, so I would join design communities and see the resources they have there, attend their events, connect with people there, learn about what they do.

[00:21:48] Grace: And access more resources that way and I would also learn the fundamentals first. Like what is design thinking? What is the UX design process? Reading medium articles, youtube tutorials, youtube videos, and just getting a [00:22:00] brief overview about the job and what kind of skills you need and then leveraging those to get gain experience by doing hackathons, volunteer work, uh freelance work and stuff and just finding ways to like use those skills To action as soon as you can.

[00:22:15] Grace: for me I was learning and working on these skills at the same time because I feel like how I actually improve is actually doing Doing design. So I would not hesitate and just jump into projects and get feedback along the way too. And actually, that's part of the why I started design buddies is I felt really lost when I was starting out in design.

[00:22:34] Grace: I didn't really know anyone, I felt personally intimidated in talking with other design communities, so I started Design Buddies as a resource for myself to, to learn design and connect with others too. And now it's helped so many people learn design and connect with others.

Growth of Design Buddies

[00:22:48] Ridd: I noticed that design buddies is now over 50, 000 people, which is insane. And I also saw some really cool pictures on LinkedIn where you had like 500 people at the config meetup [00:23:00] and another 300 people at, in a Singapore meetup, which is really, really impressive that you're able to rally that many people around a single idea and mission and group. And I'm kind of curious, like looking back now, what are some of the reasons that you think design buddies really took off?

[00:23:20] Grace: I think it's because I was really open minded, so I just did Design Buddies for fun. all I wanted to do when I started Design Buddies is I wanted to make design friends. I didn't have any agenda. I created Design Buddies in April of 2020.

[00:23:30] Grace: During that time, I was also really active in some Facebook groups, but none specifically about UX design. around April of 2020, I posted in one of these Facebook groups called Asian Creative Network. And I was like, Does anyone want to start a group chat to learn about UX design and connect with UX designers?

[00:23:49] Grace: And 200 people commented on that, and I made a messenger chat, but it filled up, so I made the Discord server. And it continued to blow up because I just focused on helping people make [00:24:00] connections. It was also during the pandemic, people were stuck at home, lonely, bored, and it kind of worked in that way.

[00:24:06] Grace: and then it just continued growing, and I was like so proud of the growth. I like shamelessly promoted it everywhere I could. Like on my own social media, on other Facebook groups, Reddit threads, um, LinkedIn, Twitter, and I even made social media pages for Design Buddies one month in, started up posting content that way too.

[00:24:24] Grace: So it kind of grew a lot, and then we reached our first thousand members within our first month of Design Buddies. And then I remember Figma reached out to us to do a talk. it was all unpaid as well. but Figma reached out to us for a talk, and after that, a bunch of companies like Adobe, Spline, Wix, a lot, lots of other, like, many, many design tool companies started reaching out to us to do collaborations.

[00:24:47] Grace: And we started to build our name up because they would also promote us on their platform, we would promote them. So, that's how we grew and grew. And, yeah, also, we grew through word of mouth as well, and SEO, LinkedIn, and now we have [00:25:00] almost 60, 000 members. A little more than three years after, so. It all started as wanting to make friends.

[00:25:06] Ridd: I love it. you've talked a little bit about how design buddies and just communities in general have helped you improve as a designer. What are some of the ways that starting design buddies and seeing a community reach this level of scale has grown you outside of design?

[00:25:23] Grace: Yeah, for Design Buddies, I kind of see it as a way for me to learn from people all over the world with very different backgrounds than me, but also kind of like a playground to try new things while being able to make a really positive impact on other designers lives.

[00:25:38] Grace: For Design Buddies, I'm always experimenting, iterating, very open minded, love negative feedback because it's like data to help me iterate further. And I... don't have anything to lose. So I just kind of experiment without constraints because I, I work a full time job and Design Buddies is like my side hustle, but also I'm really grateful that my curiosity and experimentation with Design Buddies [00:26:00] has helped me grow a lot in Design Buddies and also at the same time help so many people along the way, so.

[00:26:05] Grace: Constant experimentation, which I love, which I can't always get at my full time job. So it's like a creative outlet for me and design buddies to quickly experiment, collect data, and iterate. And that process is what I love about design buddies and what I carry on to my life, especially as a content creator, just throwing stuff out there and seeing what sticks and not being afraid to um, launch something and it flops, but learn from that instead of feeling like, oh, I failed.

[00:26:31] Ridd: Your trajectory, not only with design buddies, but your own career is really quite impressive. Like you're, you're still pretty early on, but you've seen a lot of success and have been learning a lot and growing quickly. Where do you kind of see this going? Where's, what's the vision for not only design buddies, but your own path?

[00:26:49] Grace: I recently thought a lot about this actually, because if you asked me when I first, or you asked me a year ago, I would say I want to climb the corporate ladder, and these days, I feel like that [00:27:00] mindset of wanting to climb the corporate ladder is a constraint, and instead of chasing job titles, these days, I'm more focusing on skills I want to improve, not limited by my job title, so I want to improve in UX design, content creation, community building, social media, entrepreneurship, whatever I'm doing.

[00:27:16] Grace: product sense, and so wherever that takes me, I will be there. And I just let go of the idea, like, of chasing a job title, but instead chasing skills I want to improve. Um, and also I want to travel more, be a digital nomad, and see more of the world, and gain more perspective in life.

[00:27:31] Grace: And for Design Buddies, I really want to help people land more jobs. And to land more jobs, we want to keep providing resources, connections, design challenges, so people can build stuff for their own portfolio and have fun. And I feel like the real value for me in doing Design Buddies is being able to have a positive impact, but also having friends.

[00:27:51] Grace: that I can go travel with and do adventures with anywhere in the world. Like, for example, I just came back from Singapore. I was there for two weeks. I posted in [00:28:00] Design Buddies and on LinkedIn and be like, Hey girls, Singapore, anyone want to hang out?

[00:28:04] Grace: And I met like hundreds of people from Design Buddies in Singapore. They took me out to do tourist activities. And I also did a lot of talks, podcast interviews, business partnership meetings with companies in Singapore. So it ended up to be like a fun family and business trip for me as well.

[00:28:19] Grace: I would love to do that like everywhere I travel to and DesignBuddies has helped me connect with so many people through that lens too.

Growth of Design Buddies

[00:22:48] Ridd: I noticed that design buddies is now over 50, 000 people, which is insane. And I also saw some really cool pictures on LinkedIn where you had like 500 people at the config meetup [00:23:00] and another 300 people at, in a Singapore meetup, which is really, really impressive that you're able to rally that many people around a single idea and mission and group. And I'm kind of curious, like looking back now, what are some of the reasons that you think design buddies really took off?

[00:23:20] Grace: I think it's because I was really open minded, so I just did Design Buddies for fun. all I wanted to do when I started Design Buddies is I wanted to make design friends. I didn't have any agenda. I created Design Buddies in April of 2020.

[00:23:30] Grace: During that time, I was also really active in some Facebook groups, but none specifically about UX design. around April of 2020, I posted in one of these Facebook groups called Asian Creative Network. And I was like, Does anyone want to start a group chat to learn about UX design and connect with UX designers?

[00:23:49] Grace: And 200 people commented on that, and I made a messenger chat, but it filled up, so I made the Discord server. And it continued to blow up because I just focused on helping people make [00:24:00] connections. It was also during the pandemic, people were stuck at home, lonely, bored, and it kind of worked in that way.

[00:24:06] Grace: and then it just continued growing, and I was like so proud of the growth. I like shamelessly promoted it everywhere I could. Like on my own social media, on other Facebook groups, Reddit threads, um, LinkedIn, Twitter, and I even made social media pages for Design Buddies one month in, started up posting content that way too.

[00:24:24] Grace: So it kind of grew a lot, and then we reached our first thousand members within our first month of Design Buddies. And then I remember Figma reached out to us to do a talk. it was all unpaid as well. but Figma reached out to us for a talk, and after that, a bunch of companies like Adobe, Spline, Wix, a lot, lots of other, like, many, many design tool companies started reaching out to us to do collaborations.

[00:24:47] Grace: And we started to build our name up because they would also promote us on their platform, we would promote them. So, that's how we grew and grew. And, yeah, also, we grew through word of mouth as well, and SEO, LinkedIn, and now we have [00:25:00] almost 60, 000 members. A little more than three years after, so. It all started as wanting to make friends.

[00:25:06] Ridd: I love it. you've talked a little bit about how design buddies and just communities in general have helped you improve as a designer. What are some of the ways that starting design buddies and seeing a community reach this level of scale has grown you outside of design?

[00:25:23] Grace: Yeah, for Design Buddies, I kind of see it as a way for me to learn from people all over the world with very different backgrounds than me, but also kind of like a playground to try new things while being able to make a really positive impact on other designers lives.

[00:25:38] Grace: For Design Buddies, I'm always experimenting, iterating, very open minded, love negative feedback because it's like data to help me iterate further. And I... don't have anything to lose. So I just kind of experiment without constraints because I, I work a full time job and Design Buddies is like my side hustle, but also I'm really grateful that my curiosity and experimentation with Design Buddies [00:26:00] has helped me grow a lot in Design Buddies and also at the same time help so many people along the way, so.

[00:26:05] Grace: Constant experimentation, which I love, which I can't always get at my full time job. So it's like a creative outlet for me and design buddies to quickly experiment, collect data, and iterate. And that process is what I love about design buddies and what I carry on to my life, especially as a content creator, just throwing stuff out there and seeing what sticks and not being afraid to um, launch something and it flops, but learn from that instead of feeling like, oh, I failed.

[00:26:31] Ridd: Your trajectory, not only with design buddies, but your own career is really quite impressive. Like you're, you're still pretty early on, but you've seen a lot of success and have been learning a lot and growing quickly. Where do you kind of see this going? Where's, what's the vision for not only design buddies, but your own path?

[00:26:49] Grace: I recently thought a lot about this actually, because if you asked me when I first, or you asked me a year ago, I would say I want to climb the corporate ladder, and these days, I feel like that [00:27:00] mindset of wanting to climb the corporate ladder is a constraint, and instead of chasing job titles, these days, I'm more focusing on skills I want to improve, not limited by my job title, so I want to improve in UX design, content creation, community building, social media, entrepreneurship, whatever I'm doing.

[00:27:16] Grace: product sense, and so wherever that takes me, I will be there. And I just let go of the idea, like, of chasing a job title, but instead chasing skills I want to improve. Um, and also I want to travel more, be a digital nomad, and see more of the world, and gain more perspective in life.

[00:27:31] Grace: And for Design Buddies, I really want to help people land more jobs. And to land more jobs, we want to keep providing resources, connections, design challenges, so people can build stuff for their own portfolio and have fun. And I feel like the real value for me in doing Design Buddies is being able to have a positive impact, but also having friends.

[00:27:51] Grace: that I can go travel with and do adventures with anywhere in the world. Like, for example, I just came back from Singapore. I was there for two weeks. I posted in [00:28:00] Design Buddies and on LinkedIn and be like, Hey girls, Singapore, anyone want to hang out?

[00:28:04] Grace: And I met like hundreds of people from Design Buddies in Singapore. They took me out to do tourist activities. And I also did a lot of talks, podcast interviews, business partnership meetings with companies in Singapore. So it ended up to be like a fun family and business trip for me as well.

[00:28:19] Grace: I would love to do that like everywhere I travel to and DesignBuddies has helped me connect with so many people through that lens too.

Overcoming imposter syndrome as an engineer turned designer

Overcoming imposter syndrome as an engineer turned designer

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