Getting a scholarship at school for scoring well in exams is sometimes a disadvantage, because your interests and inclinations towards Arts take a back seat under the cloak of a science career.
Mitali Sharma, our next pathbreaker, UI/UX Designer, creates an engaging user experience for those who use Banking and Fintech products online, thus creating value for Online Business Services.
Mitali talks to Shyam Krishnamurthy from The Interview Portal about choosing Biotechnology initially as a career but realising her calling for design and transitioning to a career in UX/UI Design.
For students, there are many designers who have left successful science careers for a career in Applied Art/Design. Take inspiration from them !
Mitali, tell us about your background?
I was born and brought up in Jammu, a northern city in India. Since childhood, I was inclined towards arts. As a result, I took part in many drawing, painting, and craft competitions. Moreover, I pursued dance as a hobby. My interest in design was the result of all the sketches and paintings I would do as a toddler. My father is a banker and my mother, a homemaker. They are noble people who have always shown trust in me and motivated me to strive towards excellence. I was a studious child and scored a distinction in high school.
What did you do for graduation/post-graduation?
I did my graduation in Biotechnology Engineering from Banasthali University, Jaipur, India. After that, I did my Master’s in communication design from Dhirubhai Ambani Institution of Information and Communication Technology, Gujarat, India. I also did a Diploma in Integrated Digital Media from Calgary University, Canada.
I got a scholarship in Class 10 as I had scored 90%
I opted for Biotechnology in my class 11 and 12th to get into the field of Biotechnology as a fall back option. After my class 12th I gave competitive exams for Engineering and Design. I got selected in NIFT and Architecture schools, but my parents were quite naive with the field of design. They wanted me to pursue Engineering instead of Design. So, after completing engineering I decided to pursue my dream.
What made you choose such an offbeat, unconventional, and fascinating career?
My key influencers in choosing my career were my inclination toward design and my parents. During my Engineering, I did an Internship in Cadila Pharmaceuticals and Panacea Biotech. During my internship, I realized it was something I am not passionate about. Therefore, I made up my mind to pursue a career in design. Also, the combination of Engineering and Design is in high demand.
How did you plan the steps to get into the career you wanted? Or how did you make a transition to a new career? Tell us about your career path
I started learning more about design by exploring the internet. In my first job at Indi Design, Pune, I worked for 1 year and learned new skills/ software. After that, I moved to Calgary, Canada and started working with EasyTrim, a Building Technology company. I was involved in marketing, design and sales. Currently, I am working with Celero Solutions as UI/UX Designer and I am working on building a digital banking platform.
I researched my options before I went for my graduation and later went for a technical field of engineering and finally transitioned to design. I follow the process of design thinking. Design is about problem-solving and can be applied to any field.
I started as a Graphic Designer with Indi Design where I worked on prints and branding projects. During my freelancing, I opted for projects in branding, website design, and prints. Freelancing helped me to build my skills in various tools like adobe photoshop, illustrator. At Easy Trim, I worked on marketing, branding, and websites. I also got the opportunity to work with sales which helped me to understand business. At Celero, I am working on digital products like mobile applications, software, and websites. Kpifinity is my own company which I have started with my husband. Here I am working on building the website and branding of our business.
How did you get your first break?
I worked at a Design Company in Pune after my Masters in Design. I interviewed for that job and finally got selected after several rounds.
What were the challenges? How did you address them?
Challenge 1: I was quiet when I started my first job in Pune, India. But with time I opened up to people and it really boosted my confidence. Even though I was always confident, there was always a hitch to express myself, which I did overcome after a month of joining my first job. I was able to express my thoughts clearly.
Challenge 2: The next challenge was to move to Canada and live a life in a foreign country. Adapting to a new culture and country is a struggle but with diligence and patience, I have created a career for myself in Canada.
Where do you work now?
I work at Celero Solutions. I solve various design problems and try to communicate as much as I can with my teammates.
The typical day is brainstorming, creating solutions, sharing the solution to different stakeholders involved in the project, and testing the solutions. I am passionate about the work I do, so that’s the best part.
Nowadays every country and industry is going digital e.g. Paytm, Jio, Zomato, etc are all part of this new digital era. Similarly, the banking industry is also going through digital transformation to help its customers and a new generation to be part of it. Internet banking, mobile apps are all part of the digital transformation. Design helps Banking and Fintech companies like Paytm to create an engaging user experience for people who use their business services. As a designer, I create solutions in the same way that Instagram and Facebook have stories, where you can upload your photos and videos. The story is a solution created by a designer which helps youngsters to share their life. So, this is how design works, where you solve a problem and create a better experience.
How does your work benefits society?
Design is about problem-solving. As a UI/UX Designer, I help the audience of a website, mobile application, and other digital products use it with ease. e.g. Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok you can use them easily because of the way it has been designed.
My website: https://mitali.info/
Tell us an example of a specific memorable work you did that is very close to you!
The Fishtales project in my Masters’s was one of the memorable projects that I worked on. It opened a whole new world of design, ethnography, and research for me.
The goal of the project was to describe the untouched cuisine of the Coastal Gujarat through a medium. I designed a book, wrote stories, and explored Coastal Gujarat. The book design, visuals, illustrations, and content was based on the ethnographic research done on visual elements that help users and make connections. The project took 6 months to complete.
Your advice to students based on your experience?
Stick to your goals, work hard, and never stop learning.
To be a successful designer and work in the healthcare industry. Also, I have started my own company Kpifinity with my husband. So, one of my top priorities for the coming years is to make it successful.