Featured Paiver: Hazel Jeon, UX Designer

Name: Hazel Jeon

Age: 26

Role: UX Designer

Company: Carvana

Connect: LinkedIn | Instagram

1. Tell us about your current job.

I currently work at a company called Carvana, which I like to call the “Amazon of Cars.” It revolutionizes the traditional car shopping experience. No sleazy salespeople, no negotiating, and no hidden fees. Customers do their entire shopping online, get their car delivered right to their door, and if it’s not to their liking, they can return the car within 7 days. No questions asked. It’s quite funny because as a designer, the biggest hurdle is not even the product itself, but that the customers are skeptical because the concept seems too good to be true.

2. What was your career path to becoming a UX Designer?

I don’t have a traditional design background and neither do many of the other UX Designers I’ve met along my journey. After graduating from UCLA in 2015, I worked at Uniqlo in their Manger Candidate Program, where I was thrust into the role of managing around 50 associates in the highest grossing flagship in the west coast. I quickly discovered that retail was not for me, but had no clear path of where I wanted to go. I’m a first generation (1.5) immigrant with a single mother who has limited knowledge of the current job market. I couldn’t rely on my parents to help guide me, so I did what a normal millennial would do. I searched the internet. Everyday after work, I would go on a mad rampage on LinkedIn, looking at 1st connections, 2nd connections, and 3rd connections, with blind faith that I was going to find a career that I could resonate with. I kept seeing people with jobs called, “User Experience Designer.” The more I researched, the more I gravitated towards it. However, I was riddled with too much self-doubt to declare that I was interested in the career. I barely knew how to even open Illustrator. Who was I to think I could do a design job? Then I found one, single person who had also majored in Psychology and was a UX Designer. I told myself that if she could do it, I could do it. I enrolled in General Assembly’s UX Design immersive, got a job a month out, and here I am today!

3. What kinds of skills/qualities do you need to be a UX Designer?

I think the word, “design,” really throws people off. It gives people the impression that I’m working in a nebulous cloud of colors and creativity. To really succeed in design though, you need to have both technical and creative skillsets. Ultimately, you are a problem solver for your users. Tune into the qualitative data. Who are your users? What’s their familiarity with technology? What are some use case scenarios of how they use your product? What is the root of the problem you are trying to solve once you understand who and what you are designing for? I spend a lot of time gathering qualitative and quantitative data, creating users flows, and designing in grey boxes (which we call wire-frames). Then, it’s time to work with visual design. I think Uber’s light feature, Beacon, is a great example of creating a solve after observing user behavior.

4. Salary range of a UX Designer

Salary Range in Los Angeles for a mid-level UX Design can range anywhere from $75,000 - $120,000. If you work for a top tech company in San Francisco, it can range anywhere from $100,000 - $160,000.

5. Favorite career or life advice

No one is passionate about their career all the time. You are going to have SO many moments of self-doubt where you are going to question whether you are right for this path. Most likely than not, these moments will not be points of self-realization. They’re probably stemming from a dip in self-confidence you need to persevere through. Let your wins carry you through the hardships and keep pushing.