I grew up in Southern California and moved to the San Francisco Bay Area for college at UC Berkeley. I originally had intentions of being an engineer, but ultimately decided to pursue a more analytical degree in Environmental Economics. I started my technology career working in technology service with UC Berkeley's IT organization. I fixed laptops, desktops, printers, and troubleshooted network problems. I was pretty much Geeksquad for students and professors. I eventually managed the entire service organization and created new service offerings.

My experience in both service design and management led me to get my first job out of college at Oracle as a Program Manager for their Voice of the Customer Program. At Oracle, I learned a lot about various qualitative and quantitative research methods such as survey research, user interviews, contextual inquiry, experimentation, and analytics. 

Unaware that UX as a field existed and also unaware that I had been learning some of the skills relevant in UX, I stumbled upon Russ Unger's A Project Guide for UX Design and realized that the field of UX was just beginning to unfold. I was excited, but I could not find many resources or websites talking about it except for A List Apart and Boxes and Arrows. From there, I decided to leave Oracle and pursue investigating analytics and reached out to Kissmetrics. It was here that I was lucky enough to be mentored by some amazing people.

 

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Hiten Shah

Founder of Crazy Egg and Kissmetrics, expert in product development and growth marketing

 

Cindy Alvarez

Principle User Researcher at Microsoft, Former Director of UX at Yammer and author of Lean Customer Development

Through many failures, I was able to learn the ins and outs of UX, customer development, experimentation, and analytics. I had expectations of my career, but the reality was different.

Source: Partners4Prosperity

My career has gone through a bunch of different directions, but I couldn't be happier with what I learned along the way. I began at KISSmetrics as a support representative and learned users' problems firsthand. I then transitioned into a copywriter to improve my writing, which was really useful for communication and collaboration. After that, I rotated into a sales engineer role to see the challenges of onboarding, and then eventually settled into a design research position to help solve all those challenges by partnering with product and engineering.

I did a brief stint at a consumer hardware startup focused on education, but ultimately decided that design research was my main interest and continued improving my skills in research methods. I remembered that when I was starting out I couldn't find many resources on UX and design research so I started writing a lot of articles and blogging about UX and design research to share with my peers and others who wanted to break into the field. I felt really awesome when I learned that my writing had an impact and Entrepreneur Magazine picked up my article on how to get feedback for your app

Most recently as Director of Product at Kissmetrics, I mentored our product managers on design research, analytics, and learning about the user's journey. I've since then I've joined Helix, a consumer genetics company, to explore the intersection of design and science.

Feel free to reach out to me. I wish I had people to talk to earlier in my career!