“I can’t emphasise it enough – the importance of lifelong learning”
Starting Out in Design
It was quite a journey before Hadi Muhsin decided to pursue UX (user experience) design as a career, landing a job at Ninja Van as a Product Designer.
As a self-described Sony fanboy when he was younger, he was “that kid” who used to browse through Sony’s annual catalogue which would be delivered to his house. Even as a child, he admired the idea behind bridging design and functionality (though, he admits, probably not in those words).
However, it wasn’t until Hadi was in university that he was able to envision the career he has now in UX. He originally studied Visual Communication and Media Design in Singapore Polytechnic because it was a natural choice, having done Art in secondary school. In fact, he even furthered his studies in Communication Design at Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT), Glasgow School of Art. But something was about to change.
Through emphasis on rigorous research conventionally taught in universities, Hadi began to see design as the process that it is, beyond just the finalised graphics.
From Graphic Design to UX
During his summer break, he challenged himself to take up an internship outside his comfort zone, in an industry that was not directly design-related. Hadi became a design intern in an innovation engineering company for 3 months, where he got to witness the product development process and decision-making that goes into integrating engineering and product design. At the time, his company was also exploring UX even though the field wasn’t as established as it is today. Coming full circle, this exposure reignited his childhood interest in product design and he saw that he could contribute his creativity in his work through UX design.
Graduating in June 2019 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Design, Hadi had two options if he wanted to work in UX: Either try to get a general design-related position and learn UX on the job, or enrol in a course to learn more about UX first. He went with the latter option and completed the 10-week User Experience Design Immersive Programme from General Assembly (GA) in Dec 2019. In Feb 2020, he was hired as a Product Designer at Ninja Van.
“I learned a lot about myself and how I viewed my career.”
Growth and Lifelong learning
He describes the 8-month period between graduating from university and getting a job as an uncomfortable, but reflective process. He learned a lot about himself and refined the way he viewed his future career. He also credits the career coaches at GA who helped him significantly in this aspect.
In his current job, Hadi aims for growth. He hopes to grow his knowledge and skills about UX and grow with his company as they grow bigger too. His ultimate career goal is to help people fulfil their essential needs in life through design. When asked about how he sees himself in his career in 10 years’ time, Hadi says he hopes he’ll be fulfilled, contributing to society through his career goal in whatever industry he ends up in.
Hadi’s experiences in the academic and professional worlds taught him the importance of lifelong learning: “I can’t emphasise it enough!” he exclaims. He is referring to the willingness and openness to gain experiences, not just skills or knowledge. He quotes a senior colleague, “As much as we strive for success, we should also celebrate failure.” The fact that we learn much more from failure than success speaks volumes to him.
To the fresh graduates, Hadi has the following advice:
Identify your career goal as early on as possible. Unfortunately, as we go through the motions of daily life – like the common routine of getting through school – we just experience and learn things without thinking about the intention behind it and what you really want to experience or learn. So, define your goal early, but allow for adaptability. If there’s one thing Covid-19 taught us, it’s that not everything goes to plan. This goal will then serve as your compass during decision-making about your career, and ensure you find fulfilment in whatever you do.
Reflect on your experiences. Rejection is never failure, it’s a learning experience – perhaps it was because of the way you wrote your resume, the way you presented yourself, the way you answered a difficult question during the interview. Reflect, learn, and strive on.
To new hires, Hadi extends his congratulations, encourages you to persevere in the face of obstacles and reminds us all to always stay humble.
Here at CareerSocius, we hope to empower individuals to find a job they love. We would love to be part of your journey.
Tag us at @careersocius on Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn and share your first job experiences with us ☺️