I started my career at FanDuel as a QA Software Tester in 2015. However, I began my product design journey after realising how much I admired the product designers I was working so closely with. The nature of FanDuel is that you work very closely with all parts of the business so I could see first hand the work they produced and the methods they used — these appealed to my creative side, more so than my QA role did.
Making the leap
I knew I wanted to make the leap from Software Tester to product designer, but I didn’t quite know how. I reached out to my colleagues in the UX & Design team for help. I asked what I needed to do in order to be a part of their team.
I have college qualifications for Art and Design but I knew my product design skills and knowledge lacked some of the core fundamentals needed. So I dusted off my portfolio and set to work. The team suggested books, articles and other resources. I practised redesigning apps, I attended design conferences, I engaged in side projects such as DailyUI and was given a Team Treehouse licence in order to aid my learning.
I was also able to make the most of FanDuel’s company-wide 10% time. Every second Friday everyone is given a day for learning and development, and I took this opportunity while still working in the QA team to design and ship an app for our local animal charity with a team of engineers. This allowed me to learn how to work with stakeholders and engineers as a designer, as well as be part of our design critique process. The end result was hugely rewarding and it was a steep learning process. The charity was very pleased with having a new app, they even used it to show what animals they had available at events. This is a way of using it we hadn’t even considered! The app was well used and received by the public too, and we even had a lovely heartwarming story written for it for the EDCH’s blog.
Getting the job
Eventually, the team gave me a task to do, in which I had to pick an app that I use regularly and improve one flow or feature within it.
I have a background in video games and an obsession with cats so naturally, I picked the game Neko Atumse for iOS. This made for a really fun project however, on reflection this was not what was needed. I chose to redesign the game menu which didn’t show off my knowledge of native patterns or even a good use of UI design.
The team didn’t have enough to be confident I was ready to take on a product design role. I was pretty crushed. But I took the feedback on board and worked closely with my colleagues in the UX and design team, working to hone my skills further.
FanDuel was encouraging and helping me to make this career change, it was just a case of continuing to learn and the team having the capacity to train me to a level where I would be an independent product designer.
A new career
I spent any spare time I had getting to know tools and processes and then… I was told the team wanted to offer me a Junior Product Designer role, during which I would follow a training program aimed at helping me develop my skills and increase my knowledge and build my new career in the team.
I started my first day with a new notebook my mum bought me for the occasion. I began my new journey incredibly excited. At the beginning, I struggled with making the switch in my head from a free reign art student to one that was capable of harnessing my creativity into product design, something that is much more polished and precise. It required a lot of concentration and focus. Neither of which are my strongest points!
To help me focus and develop my skills I was taken through a 6 month mentorship program. I was given a detailed brief to complete every two weeks which aligned with our sprint cycle. During these two weeks I would regularly catch up with mentors and be given feedback on how to improve my product design skills as well as my working processes and soft skills. There was a lot of work to do, but I was given the help I needed at every step along the way. After an intense six months I was ready to join one of our product delivery workstreams as a product designer. This gave me hands-on experience in helping design and deliver features across multiple FanDuel products. Fast forward two years I’m now the sole product designer on a stream.
Looking to the future, I am really excited to continue progressing my career as a product designer at FanDuel. I started my journey on the product design career path framework and now know what steps I need to take in order to continue growing as a Junior Product Designer and into a Product Designer.