How One Student Pivoted to Find Creativity in Numbers

Posted by Flatiron School Students  /  December 19, 2019

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“You owe it to yourself to share your story with other people, whether or not the result is a job or an interview.”


Meet Flatiron School grad and UI/UX Salesforce Designer Jazmine Llanes! When deciding to career pivot, she desired a path that included storytelling, creativity, and analytics. She was excited and surprised UI/UX design checked all the boxes and couldn’t wait to dive into merging all her passions. Here, Jazmine tells her story:

You came to Flatiron School with an accounting background to dive deep into the creative field of UI/UX. These career paths appear to be opposite ends of the spectrum, how did you come to find design as a passion and decide to pursue it?

I already knew a good amount about graphic design from personal interest that began as a kid, and I had friends in creative industries who I often exchanged resources with for fun. When I sat down and reflected on what I wanted out of a career, I knew I wanted to use my creative skills more, but didn’t want to focus only on surface-level aesthetics because I enjoyed working with data and being analytical too. I was passionate about writing and filmmaking, so there was a human storytelling aspect that I needed. Lastly, I wanted to do something that could impact people and society in a positive way. I thought I’d have to create my own job with all these requirements, but I discovered UX and it checked all the boxes.

What surprised you about the UI/UX curriculum and what did you learn about yourself?

At first, I was pretty intimidated that the program would be up to 70 hours of work per week, but I enjoyed it so much that it didn’t feel much like work. I remember working 40 hour weeks at previous jobs and those felt like 70 heavy hours. At Flatiron School, I was challenged, but never really stressed. I also realized how invaluable it was to have a solid cohort and great teachers. They’re all so talented, and I miss them every day!

Tell us your approach to networking, something you admittedly in the past didn’t see as a personal strength.

Networking was a little easier this time around because I’m just starting out as a designer, always looking for advice or kinship, and passionate about my field. When I meet people, I just approach them as a human being. I ask everyone to tell me their story. People like talking about themselves and giving advice, and they’re usually pretty honored when someone seeks their input. On my end, I honestly enjoy hearing about everyone’s experiences and learning new things from them. I never expect to get anything out of it, except knowledge and basic human connection. It can be exhausting for an introvert, but if I try to meet at least one new person per Meetup or per week, it’s manageable and becomes easier with practice.

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After the program in Chicago, you decided to give yourself a 4 week job search in Los Angeles purchasing a one way ticket. You secured not 1, but 2 job offers! Tell us about the grit and commitment it took to achieve this kind of success.

I actually got one offer in LA and one offer in Chicago at the same time! In terms of going through the multiple rounds of interviewing and presentations, I think it’s all about preparation and organization. I never assumed I would get the offers, so I continued arranging coffee chats and going to Meetups. I trusted in the process and trusted that I’d end up where I needed to be. During career phase, a guest panelist said, “Everyone gets a job eventually.” That, plus knowing our instructors had faith in us as emerging designers, helped me maintain confidence during the whole job search

Where is your employment and what projects do you work on?

I’m working for Salesforce as the first designer for their Partner Experience team. My role is to help research and understand these partners within a very complex ecosystem, then build out ideas and potential design solutions that help improve their journey. At work I’ll be responsible for touching all aspects, from interviewing and testing, to quantitative analytics, to visual design and prototyping, even branding and communications.

We have some students in all our curriculums who are reluctant to network. What words of inspiration would you give them about the power of putting yourself in front of the technical community?

You owe it to yourself to share your story with other people, whether or not the result is a job or an interview. At the end of the day, networking is another learning opportunity, and it’s a two way street. People are curious and they understand where you’re coming from, because they all started somewhere.

Career coach Monica Bencze reflects on how Jazmine job search was so successful:

“Jazmine was a creative, tenacious, ambitious, and a no-nonsense job seeker who consistently networked throughout her job search. She set her goals and stuck to them-to move to LA from Chicago and land a role as a UX/UI designer. Through her hard work and perseverance she attained her goal-living/ working as a UX/UI designer in LA!”

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