A thriving career. Creative exposure. And an opportunity to grow and learn. Who doesn’t want to check these goals off their list? While some spend years figuring out how to strike a perfect balance, others are fortunate enough to find their true calling early on.
“Thankfully, I was the lucky one,” says Parul Gupta, Product Designer at BYJU’S. “While I can’t really say that it has been an easy journey, I wholeheartedly believe that jumping into product designing from software engineering was the right move for me.”
The BYJUite, who graduated with a BTech in Computer Science, has spent the last six years since college, exploring different options. This includes working as a senior system engineer at an MNC for almost two years, and some exposure in the startup ecosystem. Through all this, if there’s one thing that has really become apparent, it’s her bent for creativity. (And the need to explore this in a more professional capacity).
Delving into design, reading up about UX/UI, and learning more about this niche field helped me further with taking the plunge
Parul’s interest in design first took root in 2019, when she decided to start a blog after her solo trip to Gokarna, a beach-studded town in Karnataka. She would spend hours developing her own website and coming up with ideas to document her travel experiences. This experience of building something from the ground up started to excite her. So much so that she decided to take the leap and quit her job at the MNC in the hopes of following a new career path that tied more closely with her creative side.
“Making the switch was as exhilarating as it was challenging. I knew that if I wanted to transition into product designing, I needed the expertise to prove that I deserved it. So I went on to learn as much as I could. I started attending meetup sessions in Bangalore and reading about UX/UI design. It was exciting because I got a picture of what the day-to-day life of a UX designer looks like,” she quips.
After interning at a startup for almost a year, Parul landed a job at BYJU’S in December 2019. Her role at BYJU’S entails helping craft learning experiences for children by designing online learning, tutoring and schooling platforms.
“I was enamoured,” says the self-taught designer, taking a dive into her new role. “As part of the designing team, I was able to stay within the tech space and still flourish without boundaries in an artistic sense. My gut incessantly nudged me telling me it was the better fit.
What started as a team of 15 – when Parul had joined BYJU’S – has now expanded into a 52-member team. “Since I became a part of the team, it’s been exciting and there have been a lot of learning opportunities. I’m now able to leverage my strengths around creative thinking and problem-solving. I’m inspired by my team as everybody is specialised in something and I can learn so much from each one of them,” she explains.
As designers, Parul and her team are always exploring ways to make products more appealing and interesting for children. “I got to work on some exciting projects and I was given the support I needed at every step along the way. I was fortunate to have worked on projects like the BYJU’S Classes,” she adds.
While teamwork has always been crucial for Parul, she believes that the pandemic and remote work has only strengthened the bond. It has led people to go beyond the professional to help out their colleagues. Sharing an incident, Parul says that her team has always supported her, especially when she was going through a tough time.
“My family tested positive for COVID-19 a month ago. It was a tough time for me. My parents were hospitalised and I remember how my team would regularly check up on me. Everybody was empathetic, and when I returned to work, I was given ample time to catch up on things I had missed,” she recalls.
And this team spirit is what keeps her motivated in these unique times. Talking of an important skill every designer must possess, Parul insists that if you want to be successful, you need to collaborate with others in the product designing process. “Collaborating with your team is your opportunity to share what you’ve learned with different people whose skills complement your own,” she quips.
And what does she recommend for aspiring UX designers contemplating a similar move to take on a new career? Her response is pretty simple: do not overthink!
“Never think that you can’t do something because you didn’t take a course or you don’t know how to do it. Before joining BYJU’S, I didn’t have a degree in design, and I had only 10 months of experience, but that did not deter me from pursuing my passion. If you want something enough, do what you need to do to get it,” advises Parul.
Damini is passionate about photography and travelling. She is happy to have her camera in hand to click random pictures. Always searching for answers about the chaos around her, she spends most of her time reading and learning new things. She also loves listening to music but is a pathetic singer herself. From being a journalism student to working with several media houses, she hopes to keep narrating compelling stories all her life. Write to her at [email protected] or [email protected]
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