Nithya's Fellowship Experience

Having recently joined Glomopay as a product design consultant through the ownpath Collective, Nithya talks about being a self-starter and the influence of mentorship on her learning journey.

Nithya's Fellowship Experience
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Placement stories

TL;DR

After working as a graphic designer for five years, Nithya decided to dive into learning product design with ownpath. Her interactions with experienced mentors gained through classes, industry projects, and workshops, were invaluable, helping her connect theory with practice. She also formed strong bonds with her peers, who became accountability partners.

Landing a role through the ownpath Collective, she has embraced the challenge of being a founding designer.

She remains excited about her future in product design and advises new Fellows to be self-starters, network, and embrace learning with confidence and curiosity.

This is her story: 

I worked as a graphic designer for about five years but always wanted to pursue product design – I was intrigued by how it sits at the intersection of human behaviour & business.

However, I lacked the understanding needed to tackle product design problems. I tried to learn independently by collaborating with teams in my previous company, but still felt a foundational gap. So in August 2023, I took a voluntary career break and enrolled in ownpath. I had known about them since they announced their first cohort.

ownpath’s self-study format and self-paced curriculum worked well for me, and my interaction with mentors made me love the the experience. I wouldn't have gotten that level of 1:1 engagement through a random LinkedIn connection or other platforms.

Effective mentorship is about how well they can communicate their learnings, and that's a rare skill. In the classes, you actually get to know the mentors and see if they live up to their reputation. They were always approachable. I could share my thoughts, chat directly, and get a response to my ideas.

My favorite mentor was Mahima. Since I had a graphic design background, learning UI design wasn’t difficult for me. However, understanding how people consume content and interact with product flows was challenging. Mahima's class was incredibly helpful; I loved her sessions. Akshay Verma’s class on interaction design also bridged many gaps in my understanding,  helping me with where to start and how to approach problem statements.

My favourite experience was working with Akshay Kore on the AI-based Portfolio Co-Pilot industry project. While classes taught theory, I often felt disconnected from how to apply it in practice. The industry project bridged this gap. Over four weeks, we continually revised our UI iterations and were challenged on the UX aspects, prompting us to consider why we made certain choices.

Akshay provided valuable feedback and suggestions, making the process less intimidating. This practical experience solidified the theoretical knowledge from the classes and helped me understand my strengths and weaknesses.

I also want to give a shoutout to Jojo for the UI design workshop. His suggestions on setting up a design system really stuck with me.

These mentors taught me to question the “why” and “how” of a problem.

I collaborated with other Fellows too - Mridula and Kavya for an industry project; Sukriti, Sharat and Shubhank for take-home assignments and even random conversations with Pranav. They acted as my accountability partners, which was super helpful.

As I began my job search, I was unsure about how to present myself as a strong product designer without compromising on what mattered to me. I reached out to Apoorva for a portfolio review, and she helped highlight my unique selling points in the portfolio. I’m grateful to ownpath for this – fixing those small gaps helped me secure a job today.

I landed my current role as a Product Design Consultant at Glomopay through the ownpath Collective. When they posted about the opening, I reached out to them, and they connected me with the company. After the initial application, I had one interview round, which I cleared. The entire process took only a week.

My previous interview experiences focused on testing my skill set, reviewing my portfolio, and having a conversation. However, the interview with Glomopay was unique.

They evaluated my thinking process by presenting case study scenarios and asking me to walk them through my thoughts. This required strategic thinking and was very validating because it addressed the gap I aimed to bridge when I joined ownpath.

My two weeks with Glomopay have been fantastic so far. I'm learning something new every day, which was a feeling I craved. Understanding the industry, bringing in my ideas confidently, and defending them are key aspects I'm focusing on. It's a continuous learning process, which is what I was looking for.

Being the founding designer also poses challenges, as I don't have a design team to rely on or guide me. I’m responsible for a lot, and its an opportunity to learn and grow.

To new Fellows, my advice would be to be a self-starter. It helps you navigate your own path and fosters curiosity before blindly accepting things.

Network as much as you can, especially in Bangalore, which has a vibrant community of designers. You might feel intimidated by AI, but it's okay. Everyone's figuring it out, and you'll figure it out too. Talk to people, don't be shy about asking for help, and most importantly, have some fun along the way!

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If you're looking to make a career transition, or level up in product design, learn more about ownpath's Product Design Fellowship.

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