Lessons Learned: Needfinding

Last week, our team decided to design for people who are in the process of changing their career paths. We realized that it is common these days for people to completely switch their field of work and that it can be a very stressful process. We weren’t completely sure yet whether we should focus on people who are already in a professional field, people in college wanting to switch majors, or high school students who are about to make that big decision of what their major should be. For our initial set of interviews, we reached out to people within the school or in our own personal network that we knew had switched their majors or careers at some point in their lives.

A few of the people we found told us that they already knew what they wanted to do before coming to CCA, either because of the research they did about what fields were out there, or because it was something they were interested in since they were little. However, mostly everyone else we talked to were people who had switched. There were two who were already working professionals and decided to pursue something that they were more passionate about. A few students told us they had decided on taking a new major after their first year because they were influenced by some other classes and internships they had taken and discovered other interests that they had.

During our synthesis, we saw that there was a common thread between all the interviewees of doing some hands-on exploration and the influence the other people around them had. Financial issues was also a big factor for some people, whether it was because of the concern of whether their chosen field would provide enough income, or the cost of transferring schools and switching classes. It was also nice to hear about some of the ways people had come around to discovering the field they were interested in. A few of them mentioned internships and classes that they had taken, but others talked about just watching others working and understanding the actual work that goes behind creating something.

Our hypothesis going in was that people develop interests they might have never known they had by watching other people work in that field, which can ignite the passion within themselves. We felt that it had been validated after the interviews we did, because most of their stories involved them going in and trying something, and realizing it was something they wanted to explore further. However, because we only talked to people who were currently in college (or working with college students) we decided to try and reach out to both high school students and professionals who are considering changing their path.