This article appears as part of the Most Diverse Tech Hub initiative, underwritten by the City of Philadelphia Department of Commerce. It was first published on project partner Campus Philly's website and is republished here with permission.
Nangia is a sophomore at Drexel University studying management information systems and business analytics. She is interested in pursuing a career in UX research or product management in the future and is excited to be working with Coded By Kids’ Draft Studios — the tech education nonprofit’s web development agency — as a UX/UI and project management intern.
Nangia enjoys all things creative, including design, decoration, dancing, singing and performing, and she loves traveling and exploring Philadelphia. Below, check out Campus Philly’s October interview with the college student about why she’s pursuing a tech career, how she stays current with the latest tech trends (hint: Tiktok and LinkedIn), and her advice for other young pros starting their careers.
What’s your connection to the Philadelphia region?
My connection to the Philly region is my university! Drexel University is in the heart of University City and has so much to offer in terms of places to eat, go, shop and explore.
When did you first realize you wanted to pursue a career in tech?
I was in 10th grade at a family party and I was talking to a family friend about what I wanted to do in the future. She told me that something called UX was up and coming and it was going to be the new field of the future. Around the time of the conversation, I had done a web development competition where I designed and created a website with my friend and we won the state level of that competition. That experience, along with this conversation, made me realize my love of UX, and in turn the tech industry.
Recently, my love of UX has turned into a love for product management. While talking with some other family friends and doing a research assistant job, I fell in love with UX research and product management. Now, I want to put my efforts there.
You recently completed the Tech and Innovation Internship at Coded By Kids. What was a favorite project that you worked on while interning there, or an impactful experience that really shaped your path forward?
My favorite project at the T&I Internship was definitely the startup project. We were able to fully create a product from start to finish and I was able to manage the whole process. My team and I created an app called Sol-Hair which was designed to help people with natural/curly hair find products, hair routines, and styles to suit their specific hair type. Our MVP was a personalized quiz before you entered the app in order to find out your hair type, your hair goals, and products that help you achieve that as well as ways to style your hair.
I enjoyed working on this project because I essentially went through all the roles and processes of a product manager for the first time and truly realized my love for it. I was able to oversee the ideation, validation, creation of the product from point A to point B. It just reinforced the fact that I want to pursue this career.
After you completed your internship, you were then hired to work part-time for Coded By Kids. Any tips or advice for interns looking to turn their internships into a job offer?
Personally, I think keeping in good relations with your manager or direct supervisor is so valuable, and using those one-on-one meetings wisely by asking questions about your projects, learning from your managers, and also just learning about your team and forming a relationship. You also want to ensure that the projects you do and the work you do is to the best of your ability, especially your final showcase project because this will show your manager if you are capable of working with them going forward.
Tell us about your role at Coded By Kids. What’s an interesting project you’re working on?
I am a UX/UI person for the product team we have here at Draft Studios. We have three teams: product, development and UX. In our product team, we have a validation person, a manager, and developer. I was the missing piece as the UX person.
My job is to take on the UX research part of creating a product and going through that validation process. I help create user personas and templates, find people in our target audience to interview, create interview questions and conduct those interviews, and then analyze and evaluate that data to help the team to come up with conclusions. Typically, interviews happen before, during, and after a product is being made. There are usability interviews that ask a user to use the mockup of a product to see what’s missing and what can be improved and there are validation interviews to see if the product is even a good idea.
Tech is always evolving, and there’s always something new to learn. How do you stay current with the latest tech trends?
My biggest sources are social media and LinkedIn. I follow a bunch of product managers and UX people on TikTok and LinkedIn (an unlikely duo, I know). I follow the hashtags #userexperience, #productmanager, and any variations of those phrases to help curate my feed to stay updated on opportunities out there and just the industry in general.
I have a couple certifications as well, two of which demonstrate that I know how to conduct research correctly and I had to do them in order to be allowed to take on a research assistant position. I also have the Google UX Certification. I mainly did this to help establish my portfolio and add case studies.
If you were to offer one piece of advice to a college student interested in pursuing a career in tech, what would it be?
I’d say that the tech industry is huge and so I’d first take it all in, and do research on what interests you within the industry and then figure out what path you need to take to get there.
I’d also say to be OK with your opinions and thoughts to change, because that’s what college is for. It’s for you to evolve and grow as a person, and that includes your career plans, too. I was so into UX design and now I want to be a product manager. Everything is constantly changing, and so being able to be comfortable with change and adapting with it will help you the most.
Knowledge is power!
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