November 25, 2020
Hello my name is...

Jarell Alvarez

β€’ UI/UX Designer @ UI Avenue by day β˜€οΈ
β€’ Community Builder, Gamer, & D&D Specialist by night πŸŒ™

Favorite Emoji:
πŸ‘€
Current Color:
Sapphire
On the Playlist:
99% Percent Invisible
Go-to Food:
Chicken πŸ—

Hi Jarell, care to share a little bit about yourself?

Sourdough, cooking, Vancouver design community building, reading, streaming shows/movies, researching tech, video games, board games, birds, the sun, walking, podcasts and breathing.

Most likely you are going to find me on my computer planning my community events, connecting with designers in Vancouver or abroad, remote meetings with designers, playing D&D, planning out meals to cook, learning board games and enjoying his local community shops and spaces. I'm a huge advocate for story telling and any medium that will exemplify that.Usually I have a good fantasy novel in his left hand during skytrain (I highly suggest Name of the Wind)
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Can you tell us what you do as a UI/UXDesigner at UI Avenue?

I work part time with UI Avenue but I'm currently looking for work. Whenever I'm not designing, I'm working on building my Vancouver design slack community through 1:1 meetings, group AMA style meetings or future partnerships and collaborations.

Eventually my goal will be to throw events with guest speakers that highlight the amazing people in the tech community in Vancouver to strengthen our community, enrich our lives with each others knowledge and get more fantastic people jobs.
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How did you decide to pursue your specific career? What pivotal moments pushed you to where you are now?

It was never like a bolt of lightning, I believe it was a stroke of luck and some key moments that pushed me along this track. I was a very creative person in highschool but I lacked any drive or tools to push them further. I never understood the benefit of hard work or practice, I just saw amazing people near me doing things naturally.

It wasn't until my aunt from out of town came over one Christmas after not seeing her for years and told me about web development and I was intrigued. My dad has always recommended me to take BCIT, and from there I finally realized what I was missing. I found a craft that I loved and was actually good at, and with the help of reading Don't Make Me Think by Steve Kreug, I had a goal and sense of direction that I finally felt empowered to go on.

With community building, that's a lengthier story but it was all thanks to a cartoon show, observing the state of the world, need for community in Vancouver and the pandemic loneliness. Now we've grown to 170 people strong with recurring members and bi-weekly check in calls.
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What made you interested in UI/UX design?

This field struck me as a way to hone my creative brain into something that can actually help peoples lives for the better and solve real world problems. It's completely changed my mindset to serve others and to fix things that I couldn't do when I was younger and not as skilled or motivated.

There's always something to learn and there's so much room for growth in the industry since it's fairly new and increasingly complex as you go down the rabbit hole yet it's accessible and teachable for others.
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Any advice on how to stand out and get hired for those starting off?

"Seek to understand, not to be understood". It's a quote that I recently understood and hasn't left my brain. When you apply, network and get referrals to companies, you never know where the conversation will go but reaching out and saying "hi" and being genuinely interested in them can never do harm.

Start with people who are willing to help and start branching your network efforts there. Learn about their story, the paths they took and try to find ways you can help them. No matter how small your desires to help, people will feel your intentions and will come back to you tenfold.
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3 Character traits that would make someone excel in your field

Communication, flexibility, and passion
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Most difficult thing about your job?

Communication and aligning others. Not everyone is familiar with the entire design process and it can become tough when you're trying to justify why research is important.
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What would you like to say to your younger self?

Stop watching anime and pick up that skill you've been pushing off. Stop worrying about what others thing and focus on helping others instead. Silently work hard and eventually you'll reap the rewards.

Use YouTube and find other ways to unleash your creativity, or stick with the ones you really like and double down on those efforts. Hangout with more people outside of your bubble and gain a broader perspective in life.
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Best advice you've received/heard?

β€œYou can’t control other people’s actions, but you can control your reaction to them.”
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Any last thoughts, advice, or recommendations for someone who wants to learn more about UI/UX Design?

Enter fearlessly and inquisitively. Understand that you are a novice and things will fall into places later so trust the process. There's a bigger picture out there, so focus less on the little things and make sure your satisfying the bigger picture because remember, your job is to make your boss look good.

Remember to always bring questions in an interview, greet people with their first names and never work somewhere that isn't teaching you anything.

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