At Exadel, we have been dedicated to hiring and supporting women who pursue STEM careers from day one. Currently, 39 percent of our employees are women and we truly believe that diversity improves the way tech companies do business. To recognize the amazing stories, innovation, and contributions of the women in STEM jobs at Exadel, we decided to sit down with some of them to better understand their journeys and get their advice.
First, we talked to Lindsay McGuire, Director of User Experience.
What inspired you to pursue a career in STEM?
I actually have a degree in Fine Arts. I knew I wanted a career that would allow me to visually communicate thoughts and ideas, and I thought that would translate into mostly print collateral for marketing.
My first job after college was working for a small woman-owned company that was, not only making print collateral for clients, but was also starting to get into building websites for its clients. I remember watching my boss teach herself how to build websites (this was sill the “table era”) and thought, “Hey, maybe I can do this!” So, I took on the next web design project and with her guidance taught myself how to design for the Web. Then, I turned that into an actual, fully functioning website.
It was one of the hardest transitions I’ve ever had to make, going from print to web. However, it was one of my most satisfying accomplishments. And, it’s what shifted my career path.
How do you use agile development in your daily work?
What I like about the agile method in UX/UI design is the fact that we don’t have to rely on theory as much as we used to with other methods. We can get our designs in front of users more quickly to find out what is actually working and what isn’t.
Also, working closely with developers and involving them in design conversations throughout the entire project is a huge benefit! The developers can understand the designers intent as they are developing and even offer suggestions to the designers on how to make things better. When I am working on a project and have direct communication with the developers I am able to solve problems much more quickly.
How would you describe your experience in the STEM field?
I am constantly learning. I’ve had the opportunity to work with many different clients in multiple industries and of all sizes. I learn about them, how their business works, how people use their products, what is working for them, and help fix what isn’t. I get to research and brainstorm ways to solve their problems. Then I get to actually solve those problems through design and front-end development while working closely with the back-end development team. Never a dull moment!
What has motivated you to stay on this career path?
My main motivation is that I love learning new things and finding new ways to be helpful to coworkers and clients. This is the essence of being a UX designer—solving problems and making people’s lives easier and more enjoyable.
What is your advice to women who are looking to start a career in STEM?
Make friends with people in the field, find a mentor, and maybe try an internship or two. Also, get involved—there are a number of different events almost everywhere (even online).
What challenges or roadblocks have you faced along the way, and how did you overcome them?
Balancing my career and having a family with two young children. That was it. I put my traditional career on pause for four years so I could take the time I needed when my second child was born.
It was scary. However, during that time I started freelancing and this provided many opportunities for me to learn so much. After my kiddos were a little older and I had decided to go back to working full time, I was able to provide even more value as an employee because of this experience.
Lindsay offers an excellent example of someone who transitioned into a STEM career as the marketing industry experienced digital transformation. Her willingness to learn something new and embrace technology is what eventually led her to current role as a leader in UX/UI design.
It’s an exciting time to be a part of Exadel. We encourage women looking for careers in STEM to check out our job listings and apply: https://exadel.com/about/careers/