How I Became a UX Designer & Full-Stack Developer

How I Got My Job by André-Pascal Werthwein

My name is André-Pascal Werthwein. I am a mixture of User Experience Designer and Full-Stack Developer. I am sensible for design and fascinated by the possibilities Code offers. I believe in teamwork, communication, honesty, and have got a deep love for thinking things all the way through. Currently, I work within IIoT. A topic that I could not have predicted to be part of my job one day, yet a topic that fascinates me. 

Well, how did I get started in all this? Back in school I was always interested in Art and Design. So after I finished school, I knew what it was I wanted to study. It seemed to be clear. Well, it was clearer to me, than it was to others my age, at that time. That is one of the reasons I studied “Communication Design” at the Hochschule Mannheim in Germany. My studies started out with me trying and experimenting with different topics and categories. I even studied Manga during the semester I spent at Seian University of Art and Design in Japan. But when I first learned about Web Design, it was Creating with Code that got me hooked. Code seemed to offer a certain freedom as well as purpose to me. Suddenly, Design was way more than just making things more appealing to a User or more than creating a fitting User Experience. For the first time I was able to think of new concepts / new ideas and putting them to use. I suddenly was able to make my Designs interactive and usable. It was a possibility to reinvent and present myself in a totally new way. This fascinated me. That was also a turning point. This was, where my focus changed. Don’t get me wrong; at heart I still was a Designer, yet there seemed to be more to it. 

I originally started out with HTML and CSS, so not really coding, right? Then I got into Processing; just for the fun of it. But those were just a few of the first steps. I soon started experimenting with frameworks and also got into quite a few modern programming languages, such as JavaScript, NodeJS or Angular. Things I learned by using Udemy, one of the many online Academies. My curiosity was what kept me going. I registered for quite a few courses. The ones I saw my future in, I kept on learning, the others I dropped. (By the way, that’s still the way I do it today.) 

This seemed to be my calling. I loved (and still do love) creating new aesthetics, supporting User Experiences, yet the Element of being able to execute a lot of the ideas, still fascinates me. Constantly I try new ideas and learn about new technologies, on the run. I always have an idea or project, that – in my mind – needs to be created or to worked on. Of course, I did not and do not execute every single one of the ideas I have. Some of the ideas I have, ain’t worth shit. But still, this was one of the things that kept me “Doing” and “Learning”. So why did I choose this path? It simply was partly passion and partly curiosity. 

One of the things that helped me to get me where I am today, was getting a job, while I was still studying. The job itself was not that big of a deal. It just was creating Designs and later creating new Modules for Native Smartphone Apps. It helped me in gaining first experiences and also majorly speed up my learning process. 

Another thing that helped me was, working over the summer at a local company. Often I was – at least partly – able to combine my interests and my passion with the job at hand and also contribute in my own way. This gave me practice and helped me Networking. 

If you are looking for a job. The first thing you should do, is finding out what it is you actually want to do. If you are insecure about where you think you belong. Don’t be shy to try out something new; experiment. But if you already know, what it is you want; no compromises. Go for it; all the way. 

But when it comes to applying for a job and having to take part in interviews I tend to a pragmatic approach. Don’t get me wrong. I always try to have a clean and understandable CV. When I go into an interview I 

always try to bring real excerpts of my work, trying to give an example of who I am, what I am interested in and what I am capable of. It’s not only work I did during my studies; I bring examples of work I deeply feel for. That’s because the work I feel for is the work I can freely present and also can answer almost any question about. 

Next to bringing excerpts of work, I think being honest is the most important thing in an interview as well as in a CV. Why? First, keep in mind that your counterpart in an interview or the one reading your CV might be trained or skilled in seeing through palliations or clichés. He / She might me skilled or even talented in reading between the lines. Second, honesty does not only guard the company from hiring the wrong people, this also helps you in not being hired by the wrong company. So; win-win, right. 

But as soon as you got a job how do you go on? I think on the one hand it is the mindset. You need to keep in mind, that your development doesn’t end with getting a job, even though you might keep on working in the same company until you retire. There are quite a few responsibilities that surround getting a job. On the other hand you shouldn’t lose sight of what it was that got you interested / got started in the first place. When working there are new and unique possibilities for your own development. 

Those words are just my two cents. Be what you want to be. You got this!

Also read: The Best Jobs for Lazy People in 2021

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