Intro to Bridge’s Product Design Program

Evelyn Zepeda
Oct 15, 2018 · 7 min read
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Cohort 1 — Product Design Program

This year I was pleased to be chosen as one of the 12 students for Bridge School’s Product Design Strategy cohort 1. The course was incredible, and so I’m writing this post for anyone interested in learning more about the program and my experience during the 11 weeks.

What is Bridge?

Bridge is a not-for-profit organization with the goal of removing barriers in the technology industry by supporting women, agender and non-binary professionals scale-up their skills and enhance their confidence.

Currently, they offer two programs, one in Software Development and another in Product Design. The programs are free of charge and are guided by passionate volunteers in the industry who are eager to help others achieve better outcomes in their careers.

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Bridge instructors and TAs — Design Program

The Program

Classes ran twice a week from 6 pm to 9 pm for 11 weeks. Early in the program, we were introduced to a design problem to work on during the length of the course. As the topic was broad each student was able to focus on a subtopic of their interest.

Typically, the first part of the class was focused on short lectures exploring methods, fundamentals and effective frameworks to guide our projects. The majority of most classes were used for group exercises to practice what we learnt earlier in the class. After the exercises, we had to present our work to the class. This approach helped with building our confidence and being open to other team members’ thoughts.

At the end of each class, as part of a quick retro, we wrote on sticky notes and discussed what we liked and what could be improved for a next class.

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In-class activities

What you can expect from the Program

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Feedback, public speaking and team activities

My Application to Bridge

After taking several continuing studies courses and an immersive full-time bootcamp, I was looking for another program to keep scaling-up my skills as a UX & Product Designer. In March 2018, I found a post about Bridge’s Product Design Program on a Slack channel that had the focus I was looking for.

When applying to the cohort, I had to submit my resume and answer some questions about why I wanted to enroll, accept the commitments required for a successful completion of the program and affirm I am either a woman, agender or non-binary professional.

On April 16th, I received an email with exciting news, I passed to the second round! At this time I had one week to submit a design challenge. I read it many times to make sure I was providing all the requirements asked. And, on April 30th, received another email with even more exciting news, I was accepted in Bridge’s Product Design Program!

On the first day of class, besides introducing ourselves with fun ice-breakers, we did an exercise on students’ goals and outcomes. This approach is not only a good UX practice to learn about the users but also was used to shape the program to our needs.

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Application process

Takeaways from lectures

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Pitching and facilitating
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Lectures
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In-class activities

Final thoughts

Bridge Design Program was more than classes and lectures. It was an experience to collaborate with other talented fellow designers in order to improve, learn and grow as professionals and individuals. The level of knowledge every designer had in a specific session was always respected and used as an opportunity to help and learn from each other.

Although some classes were about known topics, the approach given by the instructors provided useful insights on how to dive deeper on the methodologies to take the most advantage of the tools used during each step of the process. The program has strong bases on books, articles, methods, frameworks, common tools and personal experiences from highly trained professionals.

What I liked the most of the course was the focus on learning with hands-on team exercises and instructors/TAs engaged 100% of the time helping with guidance during the activities. Thank you to everyone who made this cohort possible.

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Students, instructors, TAs and speakers

To learn more about the programs, how to apply or becoming a sponsor please visit https://bridgeschool.io/

About the author. Hi, I’m Evelyn, a UX & Product Designer with a background in Environmental Engineering, Human Resources and Business Administration. I’m currently open to job opportunities and looking forward to applying the skills learnt to guide problems into better user-centred solutions. If you’re interested to learn more about me, please visit my portfolio www.enylazs.com

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