Meet Anjana Jhajhria, the UI/UX design lead at Sarvika Technologies. Her career story is an inspiration to many, especially for girls coming from a background where education is still considered an unnecessary expense. From being a trained medical attendant to leading the UI/UX team in a software development company, Anjana has many sage words of advice to share with all. Mayur Ghiya in conversation with the artist. Read ahead.
How we (Sarvika) train our UI/UX designers. At Sarvika we sometimes hire freshers, and the process starts with giving them design documents to study and read. It helps us identify the field, UI or UX, that is perfect for them and based on that, a mentor is allotted. The mentors take it upon themselves to train and help the freshers grow into professionals.
- What made you choose UI/UX design as a career option? Was it a conscious decision or it happened by chance?I’d say it was a mix of both. Not many know that I am a trained medical attendant as I did my post-graduation in medical caregiving / nursing. But I was not happy.I came from a small town where higher education for girls (post-graduation, Ph.D., etc.) was not given any importance. By the time I finished high school, all I wanted to do was study further but due to lack of guidance, I enrolled in the medical degree because all my friends (girls of course) were doing the same. Few months into the course, I knew this career path was not for me. I couldn’t leave the degree halfway as too much money was already invested and my parents would not agree to leaving. As soon I completed both my post-grad, I closed doors to the medical line.My sister was my guide to the world of UI/UX design. She studied my interest and recommended that I try this. After a short training and much hard work at home for self-training, I joined my first company as a fresher and was lucky to have a mentor who invested time to teach me, and had the patience to introduce me to the basics of this field. I haven’t looked back since then.
- A huge part of a UI/UX designer’s job role is to collaborate with developers. Did the collaboration/communication ever intimidate you? If yes, how did you overcome it?Design and development are two sides of the same coin; one can’t survive without the other. Yes, I have been part of companies where developers were treated as the almighty and that created friction, because in any disagreements, designers had to bow down to the developer’s way. But never in my life I felt intimidated.In matters, where I knew as a designer that the developer is wrong, I didn’t argue much. Rather, I simply connected with the project manager who used to listen to both sides and come out with a solution.
- What is the biggest challenge of your job and how do you tackle it?I feel that it is all in your mindset, if you think something cannot be done, you will never be able to do it. In 2020, the biggest challenge for me was to learn a new programming language. One of Sarvika’s most ambitious projects demanded that I build UI/UX components using React.js and MaterialUI. I was nervous because neither I and nor anyone in my team knew how to work on this language. I was given a few days to explore and acquaint myself with it (thankfully!), and within this time I studied enough to be able to start working on the basics. As of right now, the project is live and running smoothly.I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Dushyant (Senior Web Developer) for motivating and guiding me throughout the process of learning the language. With such a team by your side, you can actually achieve anything.
- What’s the most common myth people have about a UI/UX designer?There are many but the most common ones (and the funniest!) are:
- Anyone can design.
- UI and UX are the same thing.
- What will you say to a fresher entering the world of UI/UX design? Any tips for them to explore and grow in their career.Find a mentor; someone with knowledge and experience to guide you in the field. A mentor can either be a person or an online course. Another thing is to always keep yourself in-sync with the latest development trends of the industry. I personally rely on websites like CSSMania, LearnUI.Design, Justinmind, etc. to source my information. If you don’t have a real mentor to turn to, take the help of legit online courses. We are in a digital age and now with a pandemic in the picture, everything is available on the internet, make the most of it.
- What is the best thing about your job as UI/UX lead at Sarvika Technologies?
Team Management. Undoubtedly, being a team lead has helped me become a better manager. Earlier I used to work alone on projects assigned to me; now I am aware of all the projects that are on the floor and who is working on what project. Every third Friday, I schedule a team-wide meeting to exchange information about current UI/UX design trends, what is new out there for everyone, if anyone is feeling bored or creatively blocked, do we need to purchase any upcoming design tools, do we need an official training, and similar things.
This job has inculcated in me people and management skills. I thank Sarvika Technologies for that. J