Interview | Sabrina Couto | Ladies that UX Amsterdam

Ladies that UX Amsterdam

In this week’s post on the women of Ladies that UX, we hear from Sabrina of the Amsterdam chapter.

We’d love to hear about your journey into UX Sabrina…

I studied Graphic Design in Spain and, when I graduated, I started working as a freelancer doing all kinds of projects – designing brands, flyers, posters and websites. After a while, I realised that I prefer working on websites and digital experiences.

Two years ago I moved to Amsterdam with my boyfriend, and I decided to quit freelancing and to look for a job in UX/UI design. I did an internship at Bloomon and after that, I worked for 6 months in a startup in the logistics field. After this startup, I started working in my current company, Coolblue, where I’m a UX Designer, doing both user research and UI design.

I work in the customer service domain so I’m responsible for all the customer service pages on the website and also for an internal application that our customer service agents use to log the calls.

And what is it that you enjoy about working in UX?

For me, the most interesting part is understanding the user needs and pain points and in general the problem, and once this is clear, finding a solution for it.

In future, I want to become a UX Architect or UX Strategist, so right now, I’m focusing on the skills that I need to learn in order to achieve that. I would also like to give a talk at a local meetup, in order to practice this skill and be able to give a talk at a big conference at some point in my life.

“It’s so rewarding to hear stories of our members who found a job in UX thanks to Ladies that UX AMS”

Sabrina – Ladies that UX Amsterdam

So how did you come to be involved with Ladies that UX in Amsterdam?

When I moved to Amsterdam I wanted to meet new people in UX and make new friends so I started joining different meetups and groups. I found Ladies that UX very interesting and they were looking for volunteers so I decided to help out. I’ve been a co-organiser for a year and a half and right now I’m one of the chapter leads.

The best part is being able to help other women in tech – encouraging them to speak up more, give talks and in general, don’t give up. It’s so rewarding to hear stories of our members who gave their first talk at Ladies that UX AMS and now they speak at big conferences or stories about members who found a job in UX thanks to Ladies that UX AMS. For me, it was very beneficial. I’m working at Coolblue because I have a friend there who I met at a Ladies that UX event. She started working at Coolblue before me, and when I was looking for a job, she mentioned that at Coolblue they were looking for new UXers so, she recommend me to the hiring manager.

That’s ace! What other benefits have you got from going to Ladies that UX?

At my previous company, I was the only UXer so I had a lot of issues with management and the product owner not seeing the value of doing user research, so I was struggling a lot. At Ladies that UX, I always found a friend to have a coffee and chat about that. I started asking some questions in the leaders slack channel too and, with each question, there was always one woman that was happy to meet for a coffee and have a chat more in detail. So this way, I met members of Ladies that UX AMS and they helped me a lot. After 3 months I was able to conduct some user research and I was getting more support from the business

“We launched two Mentorship Programs. Our first edition last year, and this year the second edition saw 90 mentees matched with with mentors”

Sabrina – Ladies that UX Amsterdam

At Ladies that UX AMS, we also help women moving forward in their careers and achieve their goals. Plus, we created a family who supports each other. An example of this is our Mentorship Program. We launched two Mentorship Programs. Our first edition was last year and this year we launched the second edition where we matched 90 mentees with mentors based on their preferences and what they wanted to achieve.

Besides, we have partnerships with multiple conferences in UX, in Amsterdam and also in other countries. Recent examples are UX Strat in Amsterdam with 300 euros discount on the whole conference and WebExpo with a free ticket to the raffle.

It sounds like you’ve created an amazing community with your chapter! Why do you think the support of other women in the field is so important?

The support of other women is very important because not many men are aware of the lack of diversity that we have in tech. So it’s important to support each other and raise this issue to make more people aware of it.

“I think it’s very important to meet each other and to talk about our issues and struggles without fear”

Sabrina – Ladies that UX Amsterdam

I think it’s very important to meet each other and to talk about our issues and struggles without fear. Generally, we have the same issues and struggles at work, so we can really help each other by giving advice on what to do, or on how to solve that problem.

Also, whenever we have a vacancy at our companies, we can always recommend women that we know, so then we can make sure that hiring managers receive a mix of CVs, leading to more diverse teams.

What would you say to someone who’s thinking of coming to Ladies that UX, but hasn’t yet?

I would say to just come! Don’t think much about it. We’re a very welcoming community, full of UX enthusiasts so, you will find nice people to have a chat with, and learn something new. We always share our UX experiences with each other and we give support.

And how about someone thinking about volunteering?

I would always recommend reaching out to the co-organisers of your local chapter and asking proactively if they need any help. It’s important to bear in mind that is a commitment that takes time – we’re constantly talking to align on what to do for the next event, what to reply to partners. We also post on social media and reply to emails.

Lastly, what would you tell someone looking to get into UX?

I would advise them to learn as much as they can with online courses, books, looking at other designers, going to meetups, etc. And also, to work on side projects, find something that is interesting for you and that can be better and just do it! And of course, don’t give up! You’ll find your opportunity! There are plenty of jobs in tech.

And, don’t forget networking, in this industry is very important. Especially in small cities like Amsterdam!

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