Before I continue I feel I should give a little bit of background info. As I said in step one, I began my college career pursuing a degree in interior architecture. Early in my studies I discovered that a career in architecture wasn't for me, but I do see that time as formative.
I discovered that I really enjoy problem solving. I like to step back, look at a problem, and see how it can be creatively addressed. (Lately this has been through the lens of technology.) I discovered that I am a person that cares about the details. I like things neat and organized. (My wife and I have a running joke of how “OCD” an action we take is. As in, I rearrange the silverware drawer to have small forks to the left of the large forks: OCD-7.) Ultimately I discovered that I care about design; thoughtful, clean, pleasing, good design. (I realize this is a pretty huge and ambiguous statement but at this point I’m going to leave it at that. I know I’ll dive into this deeper in future posts.)
I discovered that I thrive in a collaborative environment. During my time in school and through talking to practicing architects I learned that the architecture career is typically an isolated one and not steeped in collaboration. (My most enjoyable work has been at organizations centered around the principle of collaboration, where each team member brings value to the work the organization as a whole.)
For a brief time I pursued a few different career types; facilities management, audio-engineering, and public radio/journalism but none of these seemed to fit.
Luckily during this time of not knowing what I wanted to do, I was working at my community church discovering the impact of creating great experiences. I was able to engage people and grow relationships. I discovered that I care about people. At it’s most basic level I learned the importance of hospitality, a quality I think I crucial in user experience design.
Looking back I can see how these experiences have set the foundation for my pursuit of a UX career.