As my last days at NASDAQ came to an end, I took time to reflect on my tenure there. The past 3 & half years were one of my most challenging times as a designer. Building products that solved complex problems within the financial world not only made me into a better designer but also allow me to strengthen my skills in research, time management & communication. Let me talk about the three main takeaways got from my time at NASDAQ.
1. Selling design in-house
Selling design and its value often happens when you’re a freelance or working at agency but that was not the case, especially at NASDAQ. User Experience was treated like a dark art because very few within the company understood the process. Most thought that the only responsibility designers had was creating pretty UI. We had to educate others on why user research, prototyping and testing was important in the product design process. Understanding the why & who is as important as what & how. Educating others helped us build rapport within the company and gave us a seat at the table.
2. Having patience like a Buddhist monk
Before NASDAQ, all the other companies I worked for were very small in size. Things happened very quickly and it was easy to gather momentum when working on projects. But at NASDAQ, it was a different story. Between dealing with firewalls, network security & bureaucracy that came with working at a big company, the process of getting things done took longer than usual. I used to get frustrated with the slow pace & process but I soon realized this was a good way for me to increase my patience and get better at time management. Navigating through these obstacles was part of job and being patience (and resourceful) was the only way to get things done.
3. Playing Well with others
I could say in my past jobs, I had a good relationship with most of the people I worked with without any major conflicts. But, that was not the case at NASDAQ. It was very competitive between businesses, departments, teams and colleagues. Trying to deal with office politics sometimes made it hard to get work done but sometimes that is the price for working in a corporation. You might not like the people you work with but you are paid to get results. Putting your differences aside to get the job is to me a sign of being an adult & a professional(wow! I sound like an adult).
With that said, I had a pleasure building enterprise software with some of the most talented people in the industry. I accepted this job over three years ago to take a step out of my comfort zone and go into an industry that was unfamiliar to me. But as my time at NASDAQ ends, I’m excited to start a new chapter in my career.