The best career path can be found by experimenting

Robert Salmi, HiQ's Designer, found his career path in user interface design by experimenting and acquiring knowledge relentlessly.

In the early stages of his studies, Robert did not know what user interface design was, let alone that it would develop into his future profession.

In middle school and high school, Robert enjoyed woodworking and photography but did not yet see a clear direction for his future career. When his friend told him that in 2014 he was applying to the Stadi vocational college to become a printing production assistant, Robert also thought that the field might be to his liking.

"I had no idea what I wanted to do for a living, but photography and Photoshop had fascinated me for a long time. At school, I learned about layout design and did an internship at an advertising agency, where I designed, among other things, posters for Tavastia's concerts."

After graduating from vocational college, Robert was able to use his skills in an internship with Lidl's marketing team. Social media channels and ad production became familiar when Robert was involved in producing a weekly advertising magazine. In his spare time, Robert learned HTML code and began to think about how his visual and technical skills could be combined.

The idea inspired Robert to soon apply to Metropolia's digital design line to learn coding. Robert started his studies in the autumn of 2018.

"At Metropolia, I focused on front-end design studies, and in addition, took the React Fullstack course. Then I was primarily looking for an internship where I could do something related to coding. I applied to a total of 40 companies, a few of which offered internships related to user interface (UI) design. I got a position from the employment pension company Varma."

Robert started his internship by planning the documentation contents of the design system, which turned out to be interesting. Slowly, the essence of user interface design began to truly interest Robert. It wasn't just about aesthetics: websites should also be accessible and easy to use for their target group.

"I didn't know anything about user interface design when I started at Varma: not even if I liked the field. At school, I had focused more on coding studies, so I read a lot about work-related practices online. I noticed that the understanding of code is really useful in problem solving and supports my visual skills."

Robert worked as Varma's user interface designer for over two years, during which time he also graduated from Metropolia. Thanks to the recommendation of the team manager, Robert applied to HiQ as a designer at the end of 2022. The company seemed interesting and Robert felt welcome right from the interview stage.

"At HiQ, we invest in homeliness and networking with colleagues. Self-study is important, but the organization and its professionals support your own development significantly. I get to work with developers, and I constantly get new perspectives from, for example, the meetings organized by the frontend competency lead," says Robert.

Robert appreciates the versatile experience he has accumulated, because you can learn from everything. He is looking forward to what new developments in the field will bring.

"I've been thinking about whether the industry will change soon and what it will bring with it for me. Not long ago, when I was doing completely different things: social media and design jobs. At the moment, I feel that I could do user interface design for the ongoing future.”

Robert thinks that he is a great example of the fact that the most suitable career path can be formed by experimenting without a ready-made direction. However, you can't reach your goals for free.

"One of my strengths is certainly persistence. I can keep banging my head against the wall and dig for information and learn things on my own. When there is something that interests you, you can do it. What fascinates me the most about this job is the constant development and the fact that the services we develop have a direct impact on tens of thousands of people."

Thank you for reading Robert’s story! Hope you enjoyed it. This article is a part of the #HiQPeople series, which showcases hiqers' life stories & personas beyond the job titles.

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