An interview with Elizabeth Chesters and Omar Akhtar.

Right now, it feels like a lot of people are trying to kickstart their career in UX—whether that means starting out from scratch, or making the switch from another discipline (and no, I’m not just talking about dubious agencies rebranding their design teams by prefixing UX onto their job titles so they can bill you extra 😜).

Throw a rock at a UX meetup or event in your area (make it a soft rock, like the music of Bryan Adams, so you can sing Please Forgive Me afterwards), and chances are you’ll hit a person talking about how to get into UX, or progress within a career once you’ve got in.

Add to that the proliferation of UX training courses out there (we recommend checking out the damn excellent UX Club, School of UX or Sarah Doody’s YouTube Channel for starters), and you’ve got a swirly soup of UX career and education advice that, for newcomers to navigate, can feel like, well, walking through soup.

Always ones to extend metaphors unnecessarily, we decided to strain the soup (like draining the swamp, but less politically charged) to get a flavour for the chunks floating in the mix. Our dearly departed friend* Timi sat down with a couple of these chunks**, Elizabeth and Omar, to get their perspective on how to break into the industry, and how to continue to progress your career once you have. Audio below!

*not dead, just in a better place

**not an insult, just great people

ELIZABETH CHESTERS

Elizabeth is a UX consultant who transitioned into the industry from a development background. You can find her on Twitter @EChesters.

OMAR AKHTAR

Omar heads up the Digital and Technology Recruitment Team at Harvey Nash, and sees a helluva lot of UX-er CVs. @ElOmarAkhtar

 


Breaking Into UX

Timi: Today I have you lovely people with me, Elizabeth Chesters and Omar Akhtar. I’m gonna get you guys to introduce yourselves first…

Elizabeth: I’m Elizabeth Chesters, or online I’m just EChesters, which people have started calling me in person. I’m a UX Consultant. I’m here because I’ve just changed careers from being a developer. Yeah, I pretty much tweet everything about UX. So, even despite coming from a developer background, I always made sure that was part of my role throughout all of my developing jobs. And I finally made it last year into UX.

Omar: Hi. My name’s Omar. I head up the Digital and Technology Recruitment Team at Harvey Nash. My reason for coming here is that I do love UX. I do a lot of recruitment for UXers. And it spins very nicely with my background and out-of-work curriculum activities.  

Timi: Because you’re designing an app at the moment, aren’t you?

Omar: I’m building a digital community. Got my own health tech startup on the go outside of work. I was a musician before I got into recruitment, which I did full-time. 

Timi: I’m gonna go straight to the point of the tension. When it comes to breaking into UX, especially from other careers, what do you think is the biggest challenge? 

Elizabeth: Toughest thing I dealt with was probably my UX portfolio. Because I was a developer, and I only had little bits here and there, building a portfolio and trying to display projects from start to finish – it was just so all over the place. You can’t put on your CV how many books you’ve read. It doesn’t show what you can do. So I felt like I was very stuck in the theory of things, but I had nothing to prove it. I’ve spoken at conferences, spoken at meetups. People were listening to what I was saying, but when it would come to recruiters, having a job title like ‘Client Integration Engineer’ wasn’t helpful. I was still doing user experience, but because it wasn’t in my job title and I couldn’t put all that on my portfolio – it just wasn’t getting my foot in the door.

Omar: I completely understand the problems. I mean, I’ve got my own opinions on how a portfolio should look like. But I mean one thing I always ask people is, “How much do you actually enjoy UX?” I mean, “How passionate are you?” and “What books have you read? What meetups do you go to?” And that, for me, when I’m introducing someone who’s junior or trying to break into it. That’s what I sort of really push when I’m speaking to hiring managers who are looking for people with bits of UX experience or someone who they can mentor and show the ways.  

That’s the biggest difference, for me, with people who are successful at breaking in. Speaking to a good recruiter who actually understands your work, sort of understands all the systems that you use. You know, wireframes, prototypes, etc., etc. But then can really sift between someone who’s done a course and thinks they’re a UXer, and someone who really wants to get into it.

Timi: Who is really into it?

Omar: Someone who’s really passionate. And then, yeah, I completely understand that there’s a lot of problems with NDAs and you can’t show stuff in portfolios. But I have always said that the best portfolios I’ve seen, some of the stuff has not been live work. It’s been speculative work or personal projects. And that can put a lot of good context into what they’re doing, why they’re doing it, and what the solution is. So, yeah, there are ways around it.  

But I suppose as speaking to someone who’s seen a variety of CVs and portfolios, and can sift through the crap – the good people, the people who actually are passionate and do go to meetups, can talk all day about the books – I love that! 

Timi: Elizabeth, did you find when you did eventually get around these challenges, was the large piece of the puzzle just speculative work that helped you crossover?

Elizabeth: I think, for me, it was the networking. It was frustrating as well, because I was going to meetups. I volunteered building and doing UX for apps for refugees and field workers and stuff so I had some solid projects. But, for me, it was just being able to find a company like RedEye who actually took the time to listen to what I had to say.  

And I nailed my presentation. I spoke to a user, I got user quotes. I went through all the designs and stuff of what I would like. Research, A/B test, issues that I found. But a lot of the time, it was just phone calls. It was just like, “You don’t have enough experience.” The first time I interviewed at RedEye, they went through a company restructure so they said, “We can’t hire you at the moment.” But they did actually recommend me to another agency in London. After one phone call, despite being recommended, the guy was like, “You don’t have enough experience.” I was like, “And?” I’m nailing this. I’ve got a lot more than experience, and a lot of the passion in UX, as well. I’ve caused discussions and disruptions in the industry

Timi: You were on TV.

Elizabeth: I was on TV! See, I had the passion, I was talking about it, I was discussing it with people. I’m on a huge Slack group – Slack UX is over 8,000 members from all around the world. And that’s how I actually found someone who recommended where they were working, and that’s how I got the interview. I think sometimes when people say, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” that can actually make a difference.

Timi: Oh, wow. We have our first insight.

Omar: No, I really agree with that as well. It is who you know. Especially when breaking into this. There’s a lot of hard work and a slight element of luck involved. And I see some really, really good people. And you try to help, but there is a slight element of luck. I mean, yeah, you’ve got General Assembly at the moment churning out UXers.

Timi: Churn. That does not sound like a good word. How do you feel about that, Omar?

Omar: You see so many of the CVs and the portfolios, and they know the UX but they all look the same. And I was speaking to a startup out at one of the events. We interacted, and he was saying, “Now, we really look at General Assembly because we think they’re a really high caliber of UXers.” But he agreed with me on the same point that they all are the same. You get that one person who’s generally got that passion who hasn’t got a standard portfolio that they churn out, or that they say, “This is how it should look.” But he’s got additional stuff in, like personal projects, a personal insight. And he’s got more context in there as well so you can actually see a story.  

Timi: But I suppose from the point of view of a recruiter, as well, here’s the thing that is worth remembering is that you don’t want just good. Because this is your work, this is your pride. So you want someone who’s a step ahead, a cut above, with a bit more passion, a bit more, as you said, context. So, if you’re someone trying to break into UX, it’s not enough to just do the basics, and just follow the templates. You have to infuse some of your passion. You can’t fake it.

Omar: Yeah. After a while even if you’ve got no design or creative experience, you’ll get used to templates, portfolio templates. And I always say, “Lead with the best foot forward.” Always have one or two projects that you are the most passionate about or the best ones, the first thing we see. From a recruitment point of view, I see so many CVs, and sometimes, I’ll just look at the CV and go, “No. Not even bothering with the portfolio.” Once I’ve gotten to the portfolio, I wanna see the best piece of work. And then I can start to really sort of delve down, and look at it, give it context, why are they doing that.  

And I also want to see a journey as well. Because this is all the things that the clients want to sort of see. I mean, it’s difficult as well because every client has their own interpretation of what’s good, what’s bad, what they want to see. You’ve got to try to find congruency in what I believe is good with the amount of stuff that I see and what clients think is good.

Timi: Which qualities do you think put you in good stead from your previous role as a dev?

Elizabeth: I don’t think it’s that role specifically. I think the curiosity needs to be there, and I’ve always had that and the determination. So, I think from my last role, because I was doing everything UX outside of work, it was just making me more frustrated. So it made me more determined to say, “I’m gonna be in UX and I’m gonna be one of the best in UX.” That is one of my goals. I’ve got plans for a book. I’ve been doing a research project for two years. I am on this like Donkey Kong.

Timi: Was there nothing from a dev skill set or the soft skills, shall we say, that carried over or was useful in helping you break in?

Elizabeth: For my role as a consultant, it has been really helpful. So, I remember in my first or second week that I was told to do an expert review on a retail website. And I got told, “Oh, you don’t do the payment confirmation page because we never get to see that. We, obviously, don’t put payment through just to review a thing.” But because I used to do payment processing stuff, I knew about dummy data of Visa cards. So I actually tried to put a payment through with a fake card, and it went through. So I said screenshot everything. And I just put it onto a shared drive and I felt like some UXer with dev superpowers. 

But, saying that, being a developer always hasn’t been great. So, I remember interviewing for somewhere, and they said, “Oh, you’re too much of a developer.” And I’ll be the first to admit my design skills are lacking in terms of aesthetics and stuff but I can do feasible wireframes because of my development background. So I had to learn how to sell being a developer as a superpower with UX rather than just going ahead and saying, “I’m a developer.”  

But now I’m in UX, I don’t feel like I have to overcompensate so much. So I do say, “I am still a developer, and my job role does not define me. I learned React and Ruby at home. I built my portfolio from scratch. It’s all open source. And I am a developer, and I am UXer. That is allowed.”

Omar: It’s such an expansive area, design and UX. People in UX are not sure how to define certain aspects of it. I had a roundtable, “The Future of UX,” and I had quite a few UXers and we were talking about various problems, but we started off with, “What is UX?” And put up these Post-It notes. Yeah, there’s a lot of congruency with collaboration and putting certain people first. But a table surrounded by a herd of UXers, we couldn’t come up or couldn’t agree on a defined definition, you know, “This is 100% what UX is.” And that’s the problem. It’s such an expansive area, such an expansive niche with so many people coming from different aspects that it’s tough.  

Timi: Is there anything that you think can work in a candidate’s favour from carrying over skills from their previous jobs?

Omar: I’m probably lucky with the fact that the people that I work with, when they are looking for entry-level people, it is more the softer skills and the passion that they look for. And, again, I’m sorry to say the word again, but it’s so expansive a concept – ‘passion.’ But that’s what they look for. They look for people who have got some skills, but want to be taught, want to learn. And I think on just hearing your sorts of stories and Elizabeth’s story that I’m very lucky with the people I work with. Whenever they’re looking, they say, “Look, I want someone who goes to meetups, who takes time out of their day to learn new concepts.” They want people who go out of their way to learn. Would you go to a doctor that doesn’t keep up to date with new techniques and new medicines? No, you wouldn’t. Or a lawyer. So why in design, where there’s so many new things happening, would you not do that? That’s a question I ask to mid-weights and seniors when I speak to them for the bigger roles.

You can get some great developers, but if they can’t translate what they’re trying to do to the stakeholders then that greatness can be lost. So the softer skills are just as important. Being able to have congruency with what you’re trying to do, what the company or the stakeholders are trying to do, trying to amalgamate it.

You could be the best person, but if you can’t translate, if you can’t interpret or show someone what you’re doing. Why you’re doing it, and how it coincides with the bigger picture, well, you’re gonna be lost.

Elizabeth: I prefer the research part, so, doing a portfolio in research and trying to explain the thought process can be hard. I’ve seen designers who also suffer the same thing.  

And that stereotype, I just feel probably bit me in the butt when I’m trying to get my foot in the door. It’s like, “Oh, you’re a Client Integration Engineer.” And I’m like, “Yeah.” “You don’t work with people.” And I’m like, “Client is literally in the job title name. I deal with people.”

Omar: I see this so often. This individual has great experience, but just an awful CV. When you speak to him, he really knows his stuff about UX, and he’s really passionate. And he wants to write a book, and points you in the direction of his blog, which is fantastic. But, his CV looks terrible. If it wasn’t for the fact that despite seeing similar CVs a few times. I actually wanna to speak to him because, you know, he looks half decent. And I was like, “Look, I’m happy to help you with your CV because it’s the best foot forward.” If someone’s scanning through loads of CVs and they saw that, they wouldn’t think, “Okay, let me speak to him.” But he refused to. He said, “No, it’s fine. It’s just a foot in the door.” But if your foot is not getting to that door, it’s not a foot in the door. You’re not even out of your house.

Human nature also plays a big part in the recruitment process as well. Hiring managers and even recruiters can just have a single thing that they just decide that they don’t like. And they’ll just mark that file down and think, “No.” And that, again, can be a problem with breaking into UX. That hiring managers or someone will just highlight something or have some sort of a predisposition about what the problem is before talking to someone. And there’s no going back from that. Human nature plays a massive part in this as well.  

That is recruitment. I mean, the biggest thing about recruitment is there’s no science to it because people are people.

Timi: I’m just gonna wrap this up with a nice negative question. What is the costliest mistake you think newbies make when trying to break in? And how can they avoid this mistake? 

Elizabeth: I think just not believing in it. So, I think when I started out, it was like, “Oh, so what do you do?” I would be at a UX meetup and say, “Oh, I’m a developer, but I’m really trying to get into UX.” And it’s just like, “No.” And I’ve told this to other people. You have to believe in yourself. You have to tell the people that you’re a UXer or they’re not going to believe you. And you have to want that because it is not easy changing careers. You have to go for it 100%. And I think not believing in it, and not learning how to sell themselves, and, I suppose, just being half-assed. You can’t skimp on UX.

Timi: Gotta be whole-ass.

Elizabeth: Yeah. You gotta be one whole assed. If you’re a QA, you’re a UXer with QA skills. You’re a developer, you’re a UXer with developer skills. You have to sell that. You have to learn to sell yourself. You are the package. And I think that’s the costliest mistake. You can’t half-ass UX.  

And I think that’s also an issue inside the industry as well because it’s now, all of a sudden, important if you’re not a senior. You know businesses are looking for someone with all this experience because they know that they can’t skimp on UX. And then entry-level people aren’t really getting that experience or their foot in the door because they need someone with all of the knowledge.

Timi: I see. So it’s a a double-edged sword.

OmarI think another problem is just thinking that because it’s the buzzword and because there are so many jobs out there that jobs will come to them. People have to put in the work and they have to put a shift in. They actually have to be decent people to get on with as well. The amount of times I’ve spoken to people who look all right but there’s just a sheer arrogance to the way they approach everything. That they think they deserve something. It’s the people who will put in the time, and the effort, and realize that it is gonna be hard, but with a bit of luck, you’ll hopefully get them to think you’ve done a phenomenal job. But, yeah, the arrogance. The arrogance of people. 

Progressing your UX career


Timi: Which qualities most effectively aid career progression in UX, do you think? Are they different from the qualities you need when you break in or is it more of the same?

Omar: I personally think it’s more of the same. You would hope that there’s been a development in their portfolio, and their experience as well. Once people have broken into it, you want someone who’s been at a place for a decent amount of time. Where they could have been mentored and worked on good projects.  

And then following on from that, the question that I always ask is, “And what was your involvement in the projects?” Because this is something that gets noticed straight away by decent recruiters and hiring managers. When you speak to them, they’ll say, “Well, this is what we did,” and “We did this.” But it’s not about what “we” did. I want to know what you did. And that, for me, is something that I look at when people get two, three years’ experience. And that’s a big mistake that they make. They talk about the team. Although UX is all about collaboration and working with other people, that’s the biggest mistake that people make. Talking about “we” instead of “I.” I want to know what your involvement was. What did you do. What were problems that you solved, and how, why, etc.

Timi: Elizabeth, now that you’re working in UX, have your goals have shifted a bit in terms of where you’re applying the most effort and where you’re trying to develop?

Elizabeth: I think I’m trying to… I don’t know because I’m now just getting into research and I’m finally getting an experience of actually putting the theory into practice. That’s pretty much one of my goals.

But, in terms of growing, I think I’m having to learn to let go of the overcompensating and being more collaborative. I’ve learned to take the lead on personal projects and stuff like that. So taking the lead for me wasn’t the problem and neither was the collaborating. But I suppose accepting feedback and coming to terms with the fact that your theory is going to be challenged. And user testing does that with me every time.  

Timi: Does it shock you every time, or are you used to it now?

Elizabeth: I think it depends on the research and some things you wholeheartedly believe. I did some international research in Mumbai. I sat down with this guy in Starbucks, and I asked him about the models on Zara. And he was like, “Oh, I don’t know how I would react if I saw Indian models depicting clothing. Because when I buy into Zara, I want to feel international and buy into the international community.” I found that really, really intriguing.

So even just little bits like that can flip everything. And, to me, you would want your whole system and agents to be Indian on an Indian website, or your models to be Indian so that you can relate to someone. And this one guy just comes along and just basically shits on all your theories. You need to learn how to deal with that. I love the book “Doorbells, Danger, and Dead Batteries” by Steve Portigal because he’s made me feel so human. 

So I think this is allowing me to adapt, and learn, and be able to make mistakes, and still feel like I’m a doing a good job. Because the imposter syndrome – when you’ve changed career and you feel like you’ve had to overcompensate for such a long time – can have a huge effect on you. Just your mental stability. 

Omar: UX is ever-evolving and changing as new things happen in the world, it evolves, it changes. And you’ll meet one user who completely rips to shred what you thought was the overall outcome. Again, that’s why it’s such an exciting space, because it’s evolving all the time. And it evolves through innovation, and really cool things that are happening, and cool designs. Really, I cannot reiterate how great a space it is.

TimiWhich qualities do you think would hamper a career in UX? If you hold onto a certain behaviour, either from another discipline or in your personality, will it get in the way?

Omar: People not wanting to evolve, and learn and change with the times. Some senior UXers that I spoke to, they get very very irate about how certain jobs go to certain types of individuals over them. But they’ve been, more or less, doing the same thing for the last 110 years. And, yes, they have evolved a bit but not to the point where they can see the whole game to holistically look at UX. I think it’s that. I mean, what’s the old quote? “It’s not the strongest or the most intelligent that survives, it’s the one that’s most adaptable to change.”

That’s the thing with UX. It’s the people who do well who are the people who can change and amalgamate other aspects of other areas within what they do. Because the people at the top, they want people who are well rounded. Who can get on with people, who can do design, who can do this, do that and it’s like jack-of-all-trades. 

Timi: Is there a limit, though? You can’t stretch forever.

Omar: Yeah. It’s also a point of what you want to do, and what people want to do. Some people are just happy to be working on wireframes. Some people just want to do research, and they’re happy to just go and do some modules, HDIs, psychology, etc. and just do that. And that’s what they enjoy. But the one thing that, I think, hampers people moving forward is just not expanding, and increasing that knowledgebase, and, again, not evolving.  

Elizabeth: Yeah. I think that really hampers people. I think that’s the one thing I’ve heard distinguishes between someone being a junior and being a senior. And, again, just embracing the change and just accepting that it’s just you’re working with people. Shit happens. And your design is not the best in the world. Sorry.  

Omar: I mean, I’ve designed. I understand how people can get quite precious about it. And, you know, it’s your little baby. And you don’t want anyone to say your little baby is ugly. Some people’s babies are ugly, though, and they do need to be told.

Timi: Each of us is actually technically in some kind of popularly-defined minority group. So, to this question, do you think it has an effect? Because I see it all the time, articles about being black, or an ethnic minority, or a woman, or whatever is holding back from a career in tech. What do you guys think? Speak honestly, please. I’ll start with you, Elizabeth, because you look more uncomfortable about it.

Elizabeth: So, my boyfriend and I worked in the same place, and we’re both outspoken, both northern, to put it bluntly. I know my time there was not as great. I was considered to be aggressive. I was considered to be anything but what a UXer is supposed to be, I suppose. It didn’t really end well. But for my boyfriend it went the complete opposite. So, he got promoted. He got everything. And I’m just like, “Hello?” Just because it’s a woman who’s outspoken. I don’t know if that was a factor in it, but I felt like we’re really similar. So I got the bad end of the stick and he got the great end. 

Omar: One reason that I think it’s not as bad in UX is that it’s creative. It’s open-minded. Anything which is spurred by imagination, has a creative element to it, where people are inclusive. So, from that side, it lends itself nicely to inclusion and diversity more than other areas.  

But, yes, there are still problems. We’re very luck at Harvey Nash. Like, we’ve got a fantastic lady there, Carol Rosati, who’s received an OBE for her work on diversity on her roundtables on diversity. They’re just so interesting. But it’s not a simple thing which can be solved overnight.

You can’t go in and do a talk on why you need to be diverse, and all of a sudden, you’re going to get a handful of people of colour and women in there. It’s not just in the workplace. These are all bigger issues which stem from school.  

And then it’s a whole complete cultural change, a mind frame change. Yes, it is a lot more difficult for women to get to certain levels. And, yeah, I suppose you have to be better than the men. You have to be more shrewd. Because if I was aggressive and you were aggressive, they’d just see me as boisterous, but you’d be aggressive. And it’s a lot more difficult. Why should that have to be the way? Unfortunately, these are the cards that we’ve played with.  

To just take it out of UX, one of my sisters, she’s really, really high up in the banking world. Her company, they always hire someone on massive wages to look at the diversity issues, And it’s the same problem. It’s like, yeah, they’ll leave after a year or two years because you can’t change a culture overnight. One person coming into the company is not going to change anything. 

We always have these digital transformation projects that happen. When are they most successful? When it’s from the top-bottom or when it’s from the bottom-up? If it’s from the bottom-up, you’re not gonna get the stakeholders, the shareholders involved, If it’s from the top coming down, you’re more likely going to get that because you know the people at the bubble bought into this. But it doesn’t always work like that. You know, there’s no sort of formula to it. Again, it’s just a narrative, which I think there’s gonna be issues for a generation.

Timi: Do you think that that whole issue would benefit more from initiatives to just foster that inclusion?

Omar: It’s a big topic, but old statistics, any statistics you want to ever look at just prove the fact that the more inclusive, the more women who sit on the board, the more successful, the more sustainable, the better that you are prepared. Because women have different skills than men, which they think in a more rational way. As we all know how men think. It’s amazing because all research statistics point to a better workplace with these environments. But it’s getting rid of that “lad” culture, isn’t it? Well, you see that in London, don’t you? Lad culture, “You’re a lad. Go bounce.”

Timi: It’s not as bad in UX, I think, because UX attracts…I think it attracts people of a certain kind of interest.

Omar: But that’s the great thing. It’s creative. 

Omar: People like that are more likely to be inclusive. The one thing that fascist dictators always do is that they always stop film and they always stop the arts.  

Elizabeth: When I did my code club in third year of uni, there was actually more girls in the code club. And there was none of this expectation that it was the boys. And, you know, more of the boys dropped out than girls. And, actually, one of the best students in the class was a girl.

Omar: That’s really good to hear. That’s really good, considering how it was like back in the day…

Elizabeth: But what’s changing? When I did a similar teaching day event at a school in Blackburn with work, it was an all-girls schools and they just… I don’t know if it just wasn’t their thing but the attitude was completely different. 

Omar: Don’t you think that it also has to do with the teachers as well?

Elizabeth: Yeah, my teacher had a huge impact on me. Because I did computer in college, not just uni. And I’d just sit in protest until he’d helped me fix my code.

Timi: What do you think will solve it, then? Do you think it’s more of the same kind of stuff that you’ve been doing, Elizabeth? Like, you know, extracurricular stuff? Or is it just a thing whereby we’re moving in the right direction, we just keep moving?  

Elizabeth: I think it is having a huge impact. So, Code First: Girls and schools like 23 Code Street, they really do help empower the women to have the conversations with the guys. And, you know, predominantly at the moment, most developers are men. And just to be able to go over and have that rapport and break through the stereotypes and to have that empowerment.

Omar: And the more obstacles you overcome, probably the better. Because you’ll be better than all the other people who don’t have to overcome the obstacles, the lads, the guys. You’ll be stronger, and tougher, more intelligent for it.  

Timi: This is true. So I’m assuming you think it’s the same for ethnic minorities? I don’t wanna delve into that. But I just noticed we focused on women, and I meant in general.

Elizabeth: I hate the fact that diversity in tech always turns into women in tech. 

Timi: Do you think it’s because you’re a woman? Because I feel that way about Black people. It’s like I’m more sensitive to it. I feel like it boils down to that. 

Elizabeth: Possibly. I don’t know. Like, if you have the same thing, then, I mean, I don’t get that. Like, with Black people in tech but it just… But you just get automatically involved in this argument that I just personally can’t be arsed dealing with.

Timi: I’m with you. High five again.

Elizabeth: I mean it’s just rammed down your throat. I do Code First: Girls because they’re a great initiative. It happens to be a women’s thing. I put off going to things like Ladies at UX for years because I just didn’t understand why they needed the safe space for women. And I personally just didn’t like it and just… But that’s not something that they ram down your throat. It happens to be a safe space where women happen to go.

And my perspective changed after actually speaking at Ladies At UX first. But I’m tired of the argument. And it’s like diversity is not just women, it is everything. And having a diverse team has a huge impact. I can see the massive benefits in how to build user experiences for people who may not be from this country and happen to be here. That actually happens. People immigrate. It has a huge effect.

Timi: We don’t have to reduce every woman, or ethnic minority, or every conversation to those things.

Omar: Why don’t we just talk about how great they are?

Timi: Exactly.

Omar: But this is the era that we’re living in. This is the world that we live in. Where, you know, if you’re not white, blue-eyed, middle class, it’s tougher. So, yes, we should celebrate, but we should also remember that, you know, it’s their skills first.

Elizabeth: Yeah.

Omar: Everything else second, third. It’s their skills and who they are as a person, that should be the important aspect of what you look at.