What's your job about?
I’m a visual designer, part of an Agile squad whose job is to build a customer management solution called Digital Case Management – abbreviated to DCM – that helps our Customer Care agents accurately manage and track issues with a customer’s phone or internet service, without having to bounce the customer around different departments.
User experience design is at the core of my work. My role involves mapping out the way a user might operate current or upcoming features in DCM, from the perspective of the user, and then building mock-ups of each screen the user would interact with. My objective in all of this is to make this interface as easy to understand – and as quick to use – as possible.
In addition to this, I occasionally suggest new features or optimisations for DCM and push them to our squad’s development team, and I also design communication pieces for release to our Customer Care agents. I’m given a lot of scope to try out things that are outside my role description, am given both a lot of positive support from my teammates, and space to make mistakes and learn from those mistakes.
What's your background?
I grew up in the northern suburbs of Sydney. I had a relatively sheltered life growing up and often felt like an outsider, but I did well in my schoolwork and found myself at a selective school: North Sydney Boys. My main area of expertise until late high school was performing arts, both within my electives of Music and Drama, and in extracurricular activities like the annual school musical.
In my final year, I realised that performing arts might not be a stable career, and so I switched my focus on graphic design for university. This was initially quite challenging, but I was able to build a solid portfolio of work.
2019 was by far the hardest year of my life. Someone close to me fell ill (and survived, thank goodness), and I juggled this with the struggle of proving that I was worth hiring as a university graduate, which was often demotivating. My friends, family, and partner provided much-needed support, and I closed out the year with a graduate position at Optus, which I began in early April.
The COVID-19 pandemic has of course, brought its own hardships, but the resilience I learned because of the years preceding has kept me sane, and able to contribute to my team, friends, and wide community.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
Someone with a background adjacent to those of user/customer experience design and Agile innovation would certainly be able to understand and work in the same role as me. What matters the most as a graduate, however, is a willingness to take ownership of new projects and actively seek mentorship from your peers, so that you can build both the domain knowledge and ways of thinking that can take your career forward. Also, being nice to people helps; respecting differences, adhering to the boundaries of others, and offering criticism constructively are cornerstone characteristics of a good graduate.
What's the coolest thing about your job?
To me, the coolest thing about my job is the cohesion of my team, and the supportive culture we work hard to uphold. Yes, there are more fun things I could talk about, like the design toys I get to play with, but when you’re working full-time, you end up seeing and talking to your teammates about as much as your significant other. My teammates are fantastic and I’m lucky to have them!
What are the limitations of your job?
As a designer, your ideas typically sit at the very beginning of a project’s development. That means people from every part of the team, other designers, product owners, developers, etc. are going to find some reason why your awesome design might need a few tweaks. You need to be able to think critically, avoid taking criticism personally, and value everyone’s opinion based on its relevance and merit towards your project. You will design things that might not hit the mark from time to time, and that’s all part of learning.
3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...