Design University Program - worth relocation from Norway
7 Nov 2019

How strong can be the thirst for new knowledge? The one that is worth returning from Norway, connecting to classes from Iceland, going over 500 km every week from Lviv to Kyiv. All these things are about Design Boost Marathon, 3-months summer laboratory of UX-Designers. Its first graduation event took place in September. The number of applicants for this creative IT specialization exceeded expectations even of course coordinators, that is why next year in 2020 there will be one more selection to Design Lab in Kyiv. The most successful this year’s graduates already started their career at EPAM.

“My way to Design began after I had worked for 9 years in a completely different sphere” – tells us Ruslana Lebedieva, former translator and culturologist. – Before course at EPAM, over a year I spend learning basic aspects of graphic design, listened to courses on Udemy and Coursera, practiced on freelance projects. When I found out about UX Design, I realized – that is it! It is not just visual developments, this specialization implies combination of analytics, creativity and communication. During EPAM classes, I understood that based the level of intensity - self-education loses to the courses that are prepared by professionals who practice this skill in everyday work. Apart from that, our trainers and mentors were open to communication, you could always ask them for a piece of advice and receive feedback on completed tasks.

Educational program combined 5 modules: Requirements elicitation; Research; Composition; Design system; Product testing.

Iryna Shkarovska, Associate Director, author and coordinator of Design Lab from production, tells that the main aspect of the course was focused primarily on key skills and methodologies necessary for today’s designers. Also, a great deal of time was dedicated to soft skills. “We arranged work team meetings, taught how to present oneself and the project, to negotiate, to find win-win solutions and to compromise, to empathize. These skills are not less important for designer than technical ones” – shares Iryna and adds – “Our Lab can be described with three words: unity, performance, delivery”.

“Iryna inspired me – tells Ruslana Lebedieva, - despite the fact that she occupies high position with really tight schedule, she always found time to attend lectures, to share her personal experience, to be open and honest with students.”

Iryna’s colleagues also shared their experience. “Sometimes it was difficult to hold myself back and not to start doing some tasks instead of students, - remembers mentor and lecturer Olena Bukhonok, Experience Designer, - But it is extremely important for a mentor not to give specific instructions how to complete the task, but to guide the student, to show different directions and to give an opportunity to reach conclusions independently. We invested a lot of time and effort into our students. That is why motivation is important to us. Our listeners were different: of various specializations, life experience, even age. We had students from other cities and countries. But they were all extremely motivated. It is interesting to work with such people” – tells Olena.

“Different level of preparation in a group – is always a plus. I was happy to have an opportunity to learn and work in the team with high level professionals, - tells course graduate Anna Oseledko, - And though I currently do not work with EPAM, I am definitely planning to work in design sphere in future.”

Who are designers? These are the people with fantasy, they are open, creative, who have an ability to analyze a task from different perspectives, sometimes even an unexpected one,” – comments Lab Coordinator Mariia Basiuk.

What should students be ready for in the next Design Lab selections? Oleksandra Khan, Lab graduate, advises to take into consideration that the program is focused not only on technical aspects, but mostly on understanding how to choose correct approach, perform correct analysis, build a structure and interrelations. “Do not be silent, - emphasizes Oleksandra, - We asked questions all the time, even at the weekends, or late at night if we needed additional explanation – we were never rejected.”

There are no age limits in the Lab, as “searching for oneself” and “enjoyable profession” can last not one decade. Mariia Kuzmenko, graduate and Associate Experience Designer decided to change occupation at the age of 35, having a huge experience of working as media analyst. “Analytical skills, high level of English, desire and ability to work with huge amount of information – these factors helped me to pass successfully entrance tests. I also benefited from my previous cooperation with ToastMasters, where I taught public speaking. My current project is a chain of healthy food restaurants. I went to the restaurants, looked at the processes, communicated with management, because it is critically important for designers to understand business goals. As a result, now I have a website, where customized food can be ordered.”

Next selection to Design Lab is planned for summer 2020. So, you still have time to prepare for acquiring the most creative profession.