Making the Switch: From Mechanical Engineer to Product Designer @ Fyle
Hi everyone, Mihir here. I am a Product Design Intern at Fyle, where I make technology useful, usable, and beautiful for people. I understand that making a career switch can be a challenging decision. However, it can also be a rewarding experience that opens up new opportunities and allows you to pursue your passions.
In this blog, I will demonstrate how I transitioned from being a mechanical engineer to a UI/UX designer, ultimately securing an incredible product design internship at Fyle.
Why I switched my career?
I graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering during the pandemic and was fortunate enough to land a job at a reputable organization in my area. I worked there for almost a year but was unable to find fulfillment in my job. I've always been a creative person with an enthusiasm for technology.
While working on my engineering project, I came across the idea of design as a problem-solving tool. To learn more about it, I started to learn and practice design from scratch and soon realized my interest in it. Before making the decision, I did a lot of research, understood the pros and cons, and then acted accordingly.
Key Practices for Success
Well within the field of UX design, there is a diverse range of avenues available for individuals to transition and establish themselves professionally. Here are a few practices that have been particularly effective for me.
01. Nurturing a Foundation in UX Design
One of the first thing I did was to acquire knowledge in UX design. I read articles and blogs for beginners and watched related content on YouTube.
I decided to gain a solid foundation in the field and thought a well-structured program would be the most efficient for me. I joined the Google UX Design Specialization by Coursera. My course instructors were current employees at Google, and they explained the principles and best practices of UX they follow in detail.
02. Acquiring relevant skills
After getting a basic understanding, I started improving my skills through concept projects, I was passionate about.
Throughout my course, I worked on three concept projects. For these projects, I conducted user research, brainstormed, designed user flows, created wireframes, and then turned those wireframes into final designs throughout various iterations.
As a beginner, concept projects are a great way to develop and improve your skills.
03. Creating a portfolio
The next step in my journey was to create a portfolio. A portfolio is an essential tool for a UX designer. It showcases your skills, knowledge, and work to potential employers and clients.
There are multiple ways to create an online portfolio. You can create a portfolio website or use established public platforms to showcase your work. One such commonly used platform is Behance. I created my portfolio by uploading the case studies I created for my concept projects. Please feel free to check out my portfolio and let me know your thoughts/feedback about my work.
04. Networking with other UX designers
Even though I'm mentioning this as step four, networking is something that I did all the time as it was and still is very crucial for me. I connected with other designers to learn new things, get inspiration from their work, and get feedback on my work.
I mainly used LinkedIn and Behance for it. Another way you can network is to attend field-related events or volunteer to work on UX design projects to gain experience and meet other professionals in the field.
05. Applying for job opportunities
Finally, after completing my portfolio, I started looking for job openings. For this, I mainly applied online on websites such as LinkedIn, Behance, Internshala, and a few others.
From my personal experience, I believe a career switch from Mechanical Engineering to UX design is possible with dedication, hard work, and willingness to learn. By gaining knowledge, learning skills, building a portfolio, and networking with other designers, one can successfully transition to a career in UX design and find fulfillment in a new field.
I came to know about Fyle from the Internshala job posting. The post itself was very neat & it had all the essential details mentioned clearly. Upon doing some research I was impressed by the way they maintained their presence & showcased their amazing culture.
To give you a quick insight into what Fyle does? Fyle is an innovative expense management and employee reimbursement platform that revolutionizes the way organizations handle their financial processes. With its user-friendly interface and powerful features, such as Visa & Mastercard real-time feed & integration with other accounting software, Fyle simplifies expense tracking, automates reimbursement workflows, and provides valuable insights into spending patterns, ultimately helping businesses save time, improve compliance, and optimize their financial operations.
Application & Interview Experience
I applied for the role on Internshala by sharing my portfolio and a few other details. I received a reply from Yitzhak Sir from Fyle on the same day. This was an impressive feat considering there were more than 350 applicants. I received a design exercise with a deadline of 4 days.
Design Exercise & My Solution
The design exercise document I received was very well prepared. It had a clear brief, a list of requirements with expected deliverables, and it even mentioned the assumptions I was free to make to get to the solution.
A quick info about my task was to design a homepage and tracker page for a product that allows users to automatically keep track of the type of exercise they are doing, the number of reps and sets, and the time interval.
With the problem statement clear in my mind, I started to work on the exercise. During the initial brainstorming, I explored a few solutions on paper and then decided on the one which fulfilled all the requirements.
A lot of times, recruiters are interested in how you got to your solution and the rationale behind it. Hence, I decided to prepare a quick presentation explaining the rationale behind my solutions and designs.
After waiting for two days, Yitzhak, from the People Success team from Fyle reached out to me to let me know that I had been shortlisted for the official interview process. I received a document explaining the upcoming interview rounds, what to expect, and what is expected from me in those rounds.
Now, you may be wondering what People's Success is, same as I did at the time. I learned that in Fyle people aren't referred to or treated as resources. The term 'HR' is looked down upon. Instead, the People Success team, headed by Yitzhak sir, handles everything people-related, from recruitment to onboarding, wellness, engagement, and more.
Round I: Hiring Manager Interview
In this round, I met the Product Design Manager, Swapnaranjita Nayak. We discussed my design process and fundamentals. During the interview, I explained the reasoning and designs of the exercise solution. I even got the opportunity to present one of my case studies from my portfolio. In the end, Swapna also cleared a few doubts I had regarding the role. Overall, this round was an excellent round for me.
Round II: Video Interview
In this round, I was interviewed by Swapna Nayak and Senior Designer at Fyle, Aditi Saini. This round was a live whiteboarding challenge. This was my first whiteboarding interview session, thus I prepared for it thoroughly. I carefully listened to the brief, asked related questions all the time, and kept communicating my thoughts with them. This way, I was able to demonstrate my design process seamlessly. Even though towards the end, I went slightly over the time limit, I was able to demonstrate my skills and process effectively and cleared the round with a lot of new learnings.
Bonus: A few months into my internship, during a Fylejam session, I discovered that the timer set by Aditi during the whiteboarding challenge caused applicants to feel slightly anxious, which prevented them from performing to their fullest potential.
Round III: Cultural Fit
In this round, I met the co-founder of Fyle, Yashwanth Madhusudan Sir. This was a less formal round comparatively. In this round, Yash sir explained the culture at Fyle in-depth and what is expected of us. This was a new experience for me, and I liked this round.
After completing all the rounds, I had to wait one week to know the result. On a chill, Monday morning, Yitzhak contacted me and informed me that I was selected.
I was super happy and excited. In the following week, Yitzhak shared the offer letter and helped me with a seamless onboarding procedure at Fyle once I joined.
Overall, my interview experience with Fyle was one of the best I ever had. I’m grateful for this opportunity and happy to be part of Fyle.
Thank you for making it so far. I hope my experience inspires you to pursue your passion and make a successful career switch. Stay curious, be creative & keep learning.