Career transitions are always tough, especially when one has spent a lot of time getting a degree. But a decision has to be made sooner or later ! Today’s Career Pathbreaker is Aditya Krishnan, UI/UX Designer, who talks about his career transition from hospitality to UI design, interim challenges and what his work is all about ! A great read for potential UI designers.

Shyam Krishnamurthy from the Interview Portal speaks to Aditya Krishnan, Visual Designer at Zapr Media Labs, about his career transition into UI design and his advice to students who are interested in design.

The image on this interview has been created by Aditya.

Aditya, can you tell us about your background

I grew up in India, Malaysia and Philippines. I enjoy taking my bike out on the weekends and taking it for long rides as it helps me collect my thoughts. I started off in Hotel Management and did my Diploma in Front Office and Hotel Management at Genting Star Tourism Academy (GSTA).

After I graduated and started doing my internships, I soon realized this wasn’t the field for me. So after I completed my internships, I decided to change careers because I couldn’t see myself in this particular field, Hotel Management.

How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and uncommon career?

My mom had a friend who was a graphic designer and one day as I was deciding on a change in career from Hotel Management and was exploring various avenues, I went to his place of employment and saw his work and his method of working and I saw what he could do with images and how he turned a blank canvas into something that could grab attention and turn heads.

How did you plan the steps to transition into the career you wanted?

I started off searching for courses to study in the field of design that i was interested in. The field I was interested in was visual design. I found a course in Arena animation for learning all the necessary tools to create designs and bring them to life. I planned on working in advertising, so I studied different advertisements and the typography, and the elements involved in those ads. In the middle of the course, to get an advantage in finding jobs, I joined a small advertising agency in Thrissur to get a more hand on approach to the industry

After completing my course and working in the ad agency I wanted to work with bigger brands. I got an internship at Ogilvy & Mather. I did my internship for 3 months. In those 3 months I worked with various large bands such as Vodafone and ITC. I made various creatives under the supervision of my creative director and got feedback on how to improve the quality of my work

After completing my internship, I researched into other fields of design and realized I wanted to transition into UI & UX design. I created multiple portfolio projects and started applying for jobs. I got my break by joining Zapr media labs as a visual designer .

Check out Aditya’s Portfolio

Aditya’s Portfolio

Can you explain, what made you switch from Visual Design in an Advertising agency to UX/UI Design?

As I got deeper into advertising design i was made aware of other fields of design. Initially i was keen on advertising because it seemed like one of the more popular forms of design but as i explored and experimented with other kinds of design, UI just seemed right and something that i enjoyed more than advertising. I felt more and more that mobile and digital were the future and it felt right moving away from print as there was so much more you could do in UI.

What were some of the challenges you faced in your career? How did you address them?

My first challenge was changing my field of interest from advertising design to UI design. It was a challenge but since I had already studied web design, I already had a general working knowledge in the field. I spent many nights reading case studies online and seeing many pieces of work made by expert designers and creating multiple pieces of work, observing my mistakes and learning from them to create usable pieces of design.

A second challenge i faced was that i got into a serious bike crash in the middle of my career and was in the hospital for a while. But  i kept working from home and keeping up with my work and projects. By working from home i could stay up to date and complete my work without being physically present, which immensely helpful to me.

What problems do you solve as a UX/UI Designer?

I create multiple pieces of work for various departments from marketing to product. I get a brief and work with my team to understand the problem and come up with usable solutions that don’t just  look good but also actually work.

What skills are needed for job? How did you acquire the skills?

The general skills required for my job are an eye for design, typography, a working knowledge of color theory and a deep interest in solving problems using design. You would also need to have knowledge in multiple pieces of software, mainly Adobe photoshop, Illustrator, Adobe XD, After Effects, Invision to name a few

What is a typical day like?

My typical day involves coming in to work and looking at the design requirements and planning my day out with my team. The work ranges from creating new screens for apps to handling marketing requirements. I work with various teams to have a better understanding of the problem and collaborate with them to find a better way of using design to solve their problems. For UI work I rely on UX (User Interaction) data to make sure the app solves problems for the users and is not just good looking but also functional.

What is it you love about this job?

I love my job because every day I get to learn new things since design is an ever-expanding field with new tasks and challenges coming in daily. I get to work on projects which are suited to my skills. I get to think visually and work with a very talented team and together we create visually appealing pixel perfect creatives

Your advice to students based on your experience?

My advice to students is to not only learn the tools but also seek inspiration from good designers and constantly keep iterating and improving your work, as there is always room for improvement. Study various pieces of design that you like and see what caught your eye and why and seek to incorporate those into your designs. Keep learning as new design tools and case studies come out every day. Keep creating multiple pieces of work even if they don’t look great and keep improving because you only learn by doing.

 What are your future plans?

I plan on learning more of the UX side of things as it is vital to UI work and also focus on specializations such micro interactions and interaction design.