Teacher’s Tech Tour: Session II — UX/UI + Product Learnings

Jessica Lin
Photo by Aleks Dorohovich on Unsplash

We recently hosted another Teacher’s Tech Tour, based off the success from our session last year.

This session, we hosted two professors from the New Media major at LaGuardia Community College, who met with 3 people who currently work at startups from Work-Bench’s enterprise startup community, within UX/UI and Product roles.

I thought I’d share some of the top questions and points brought up from our discussion.

We focused on 3 key areas:

  • How these folks got into tech
  • What tools they are currently using
  • Key competencies they are looking for when they hire

Especially for any other educators or professors who’d like — we’re happy to share more and open source our knowledge and have it go further.

Our next iteration is to test a few experiments: whether it be code reviews with startups, opportunities for folks in tech to help review and critique students’ projects and capstones, and offer some real work projects that can be applied to coursework.

Notes for UX/UI + Product

The Transition from Graphic Design to HCI / User Experience

UX/UI — Red flag if this is all they show

  • Only show interfaces, but not user interaction
  • It’s important to show the process → how they got to a product
  • Showing the research → why did they design something the way they did
  • Show iterations, thought process, quantitative and qualitative
  • Doing research with representative users
  • They can use https://peek.usertesting.com/ to get some testing samples

UX + UI Tools:

Getting a Job in Product/UX + UI

  • Something that helped some of these folks in get a job: look at job descriptions of people who got the job, their LinkedIns, and their portfolios
  • See how they present themselves, both visual designers and product designers

Product Management Interviews and/or Design Homework Assignments

  • How would you design an alarm clock? An ATM machine?
  • How would you design an alarm clock for someone who is blind?
  • Accessibility a key and interesting challenge; low vision, in the sunlight

Practice the Interview

  • What are common interview questions for those trying to get into UX/UI and product?
  • Can we collate these from students into a living doc or Github that can be shared and accessed?

Product Analytics Tools

  • Google Analytics: www.analytics.google.com
  • Mixpanel: https://mixpanel.com/
  • Event tracking tools: recording what people do when they get to your site
  • Can put a tracker on a button on your site and infer — what % of your users go to a particular page
  • Diagnose problems and opportunities, evaluate changes, and do analysis


  • So many languages now: HMTL CSS Javascript
  • Right now — such an emphasis on Javascript
  • HTML/CSS is best intro, but Javascript is like the romance language
  • Relevance of PHP? Lesser so
  • Some of backend on PHP…harder to recruit people because they want to work on cool new stuff
  • Now there are backend servers that run on Javascript that are secure
  • How to build your own site onto Amazon: more modern. (This could be a better alternative to CPanel)
  • May cost $ to build
  • A few cents a few hours per computing — there are educational licenses…
  • Check out tutorials

The Future of Web Design Agencies?

  • So many students want to start a web design agency
  • But things have changed so much
  • People also don’t build websites off scratch anymore
  • Bootstrap, Wordpress, Squarespace
  • Web design does not necessarily feel like a growing market

How does someone show to you that shows they are a creative thinker in interview process and how important is one’s portfolio?

  • Expect to see a good sense of design
  • Something you can tell immediately
  • Unique life experiences — seeing what they decided to put as their summary — storytelling is very important
  • Would love to see people building different projects on Github — tried building your own game, framework

How do you stay on top of top design trends?

  • Stay on top of competitors
  • Can check out Dribble — but have to be careful
  • Design things that represent the kind of work you want to do
  • Fake the work that you want to actually work on

Curriculum Considerations

  • Revamping curriculum to maybe be less web heavy, and push creativity more
  • Perhaps mobile design and development, ARKit, sound, etc.
  • Allow for students in project work to use whatever tools they wish — this will allow them to stay current and experiment with new tools and platforms

If this piece resonated with you, please consider sharing or click “❤︎” and help spread the word.

Whether you are an educator or employer — we’d love to hear your feedback, perspectives and insights, as we look to do more of these sessions and potentially at scale. http://www.teachertechtour.com. Notes from our first Teacher’s Tech Tour session can be found here.

A big thank you to Professors Jeremy Couillard and Sarada Rauch; Andrew Childs of Clubhouse, Chris Calmeyn of Scout, and Julian Norton of Agolo.

Jessica Lin

Written by

co-founder & VC @Work_Bench | GED educator | rethinking work

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