MEET MATTHEW! He graduated in May 2019 with his master’s degree in Interaction Design. He is currently working for Skyfull as a Product Designer.
We asked Matthew some questions, advice for current students, and how UNT helped him to succeed and SOAR BEYOND!
When you started at UNT, what were your plans after graduation? How have these plans changed? I enrolled in the IxD program because I wanted to pivot my career to a path I was very interested in which, UX Design or Product Design. The plans did not change at all, because of the program I was able to successfully make that career pivot and grow financially and personally.
What advice do you have for prospective or current students as they decide what they want their next steps to be? Have an idea of the direction you want to go and make any step you can that moves you forward in that direction even if it’s not directly related to the career you want. You’ll be really surprised how different roles that seem unrelated end up preparing you for you in the long run. Also, be open to taking roles that may not be ideal but will expose you to more opportunities and knowledge you would not have had otherwise. I design software that is primarily used by warehouse and delivery workers because I had worked in similar roles many years ago that gave me a competitive edge over other people who had never been around those types of jobs.
How did your programs at UNT help you to feel prepared for this role? The Interaction Design program transformed the way I thought about business, design, technology, and people. It helped me how all of those things are extremely intertwined and in order to be a leader in my field I had to have a solid understanding of that. It also helped me learn about key things like leadership, strategy, and communication. I learned in that program that design is all communication, not just the design itself, but also managing all the communication with the various stakeholders to make the design successful. I absolutely would not have been able to do my current job well if it was not for UNT. Lastly, some of the projects I completed in the program made it into my portfolio which showed more depth of knowledge and experience to prospective employers.
How did you find your current role? I found it on Indeed, I typically look for jobs on LinkedIn, Indeed, and ZipRecruiter.
What was the toughest interview question they asked you? What makes you qualified to design software for people who are not in the same demographic as you? How do you handle situations when a manager does not like your design and is unwilling to go with your idea?
How did the Career Center help you? Shortly before graduating, I brought my resume to them, Amy Hicks, and she helped me refine it and make it a stronger and more attractive resume.
Share anything else about your story/experience if you would like to that you haven’t already. If you want to be successful, in almost any position, try to see yourself as a facilitator of good ideas instead of the person with good ideas. When you have good ideas, bring them up in conversations when people are sharing their ideas first and use their idea as a springboard for your idea, people are much more likely to listen to you whether they are above or below you in the company’s hierarchy.
Want to hear more of Matthew’s story? Check out his testimonial video!
Interested in connecting with Matthew? You can find him on Instagram & Twitter: @matthew_t_rader or check out his website – MatthewTRader.com.
Check out our full library of Practical Career Advice Videos from UNT Students and Alumni. Would you like to be featured in our Soaring Beyond Success Series? Email Jeanette Hickl. We’d love to share your story!