Hi there. My name is Zach Bachiri. I’m a first year Master of Design candidate at Carnegie Mellon. This post is going to be a brief introduction to all things me, written for Molly Steenson’s Interaction and Service Design Concepts course. If you’re finding your way to this post from somewhere else, welcome.
Where am I coming from?
I’m originally from Melrose, MA, a suburb just north of Boston. I can basically sum up my childhood by saying that I played a lot of soccer. I ended up staying in the Boston area for college and went to Northeastern University. After stumbling my way through a year of the computer engineering program, I decided hardware wasn’t for me. I wanted to build software, s0 I switched into the computer science program. After stumbling through 2 years and 2 co-ops of the computer science program, I decided building software wasn’t for me.
Design had been on my radar for a while but I hadn’t considered it as a career. I went through small crisis freshman year when I almost switched into the architecture program, but that was about as far as I got. When I was a developer, I was furious that I was building things but didn’t have a say in the larger questions about what we were building, or if we were even building the right thing. That was my entryway into design as a real path forward for me. Design was a chance to figure out what the “thing” was.
After my second co-op I switched into the combined Computer Science and Interactive Media program at Northeastern and joined Scout, the student-run design studio. Finally I felt like I was in the right place. At Scout I started something called Scout Labs, which was where I really started to discover the type of work I hoped to be doing. We got together a group of interdisciplinary students and worked on social issues in the Boston area through the lens of human-centered design. I realized design wasn’t just the craft of making a poster or an app, but could be a framework for approaching some really interesting, high-level problems.
After graduating I worked at three different internships before coming to Carnegie Mellon. First at SMAKK in Brooklyn, then at Intrepid in Cambridge, and finally at SYPartners in Manhattan. Rather than taking a full-time position, I figured doing internships was an opportunity to get a variety of real-world practice under my belt before committing to anything. I had the chance to work on websites, native apps, branding, print materials, and everything in between. Though I felt as if I still wasn’t doing the higher altitude design work I hoped to. So midway through my second internship I applied to the Carnegie Mellon M.Des. program. I only applied to this program, since it was the only one I believed was worth dedicating 2 years of my time (and a boat load of money). It struck the right balance for me between conceptual and practical, while having an inspiring world view of design as a vehicle for social change. And here I am today.
Where am I going?
Wow, tough questions Zach.
Really though, I’m not sure. I know the type of work I would like to be doing. I want to doing research-based design in the social innovation space, but I’m not quite yet sure of the specifics (like where, in what context, or what medium). A big reason why I’m at Carnegie Mellon is to figure out some of those things. One inkling I do have about my long term career is that I won’t be a “Designer” forever, but I’ll always be “designing”. I imagine after practicing for a while I will tackle some things outside of the traditional idea of design practice. Maybe I’ll start a social enterprise, maybe I’ll go be a photographer full-time, maybe I’ll join the circus. But that’s very much speculative, so don’t hold me to it.
Okay that’s all the important stuff, so here are a few fun things.
I’m really into street photography. In Boston and New York I would pretty much spend every weekend walking around photographing. Pittsburgh is a lot less dense though, so I’ll have to figure something out.
So go ahead and follow me on Instagram.
I also play a few instruments (drums, guitar, viola, a bit of piano) and am in a band named Yohannes.