And I've learned so much from all of them. I appreciate all the people I meet, because they've always got a new story to share. You can download my resume, or read on for a narrative overview of my work history!
I'm one of the few people in tech who was a) born and raised in San Francisco, b) have worked in lots of places outside of tech (as far as I know), and c) made a massive career change into product design.
I've worked in lots of different roles before tech, such as:
I gotta say, it's inevitable to develop empathy and start thinking about how people act and react to things when you've worked in retail or at a restaurant. Being an active participant in what is essentially people-watching is what gave me the confidence to apply myself to the world of tech.
I started my tech life at Udemy as a customer support agent. It was weird, because it was like doing retail but without people literally having a bad day in front of me. I am crazy when it comes to learning, and I taught myself MySQL since it seemed to be a good language to speak. (Working at an edtech company made that feat feasible, for sure.)
Working hard was just a part of growing up (no work, no food, yo), so I made a massive effort to get up to speed as quickly as possible. I managed to make a lot of friends and learn about their professions and how they helped make businesses a Real, Proper Thing. I got interested in development and marketing and data and all of these things I never thought I'd be using in my day-to-day.
I eventually befriended the design team, and was legit amazed to hear that it was a job where I could actually help solve problems that came up in support. Three and a half years into Udemy, I invested in Designlab's UX Academy course with the intention of making a horizontal change within Udemy.
The day I became a product designer at Udemy is one I won't forget. As someone who struggles with chronic anxiety and panic attacks, achieving this was like saying to myself, "Dude, you freaking did this on your own! Whaaaaat!"
Since then, I've learned a lot. Udemy taught me everything I knew about small- to mid-sized start-ups, because I basically grew up with them; I joined as employee 50-something, and I left when there were nearly 500 employees. At Yelp, I learned what it was like to work at a public company with over 5,000 employees. I write design things for Sharpen.design and Prototypr and Designlab, and it's good fun.
Every week, I run design critiques and mentor with Designlab. I learn a little more by hearing what students don't understand yet. Teaching is one of the best ways to learn, and I'm delighted to be able to get that opportunity every week.
I make it my personal mission to design responsibly every day, and to help prospective designers feel strong enough to make ethical choices whenever possible.
Want to add a snippet to my learning journey? Drop me a link at hello@robbinarcega and let's chat!