In honor of putting people first, we’re excited to announce the 3Ci Talent Spotlight Series. We’re shining a light on the talented individuals who found their dream jobs through 3Ci. By sharing these stories, we’ll give you a behind-the-scenes look at some of Atlanta’s most talented tech, creative, and digital professionals.

Meet Matt, an experienced UX designer who currently works as a Product Manager for a major home improvement supplies retailing company.

Tell us a bit about your background.
I grew up in Southern Utah and went to school at Utah State University. Initially, I studied computer science but ended up switching into graphic design with an emphasis on digital, dipping my toes into things like web design and development and 3D modeling.

What do you do now?
I’m a Product Manager and guide a team of designers and developers to solve problems for our in-store associates who fulfill the needs of our customers. We own a handful of applications that our associates use in-store, so on a day-to-day basis, we’re working with those applications as well as any other processes that might be put in place to make sure our associates can serve the needs of their customers as best they can.

As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I went through a handful of different phases, but I was a huge gaming nerd growing up. I seriously considered becoming a game designer.

What initially drew you to UX design?
It was probably being able to work with people. I liked that it wasn’t just a technology job where you’re building things for the sake of meeting some specs or getting some requirements knocked out. It was all about how to solve real problems. I really liked the idea of working with users and being a part of that co-creative process to build solutions that actually work for them.

When did you start working in your current position?
A few years ago, one of 3Ci’s recruiters reached out to me on LinkedIn about the position. At that time, I’d been living in Alabama for almost five years and was starting to feel a little too comfortable. I was looking for opportunities to extend my comfort zone a bit, so the timing was ideal. We had a few calls, I came to Atlanta for an interview, and joined 3Ci as a contractor working on the enterprise UX team as a Senior Enterprise UX Designer.

What is the greatest reward of your work?
I think the most rewarding part of what I do is seeing members of the team be successful and happy with what it is they’re trying to accomplish. I get to help our software developers do their jobs in the best way they can, remove their roadblocks, and empower them to solve a problem in a way that they think will work best. It’s those kinds of opportunities that really drew me to the field and it’s those moments that I continue to enjoy the most—watching other people be successful in whatever it is they’re trying to accomplish.

What about the greatest challenge?
A lot of the challenge comes from juggling a couple dozen or more priorities at any given time while also trying to maintain healthy relationships with everyone involved. A lot of what I’m doing involves maintaining and managing relationships between my team, our stakeholders, and the end users to make sure the work that’s being done is the right work. Working with people means working with a lot of emotions and idiosyncrasies. My job is to make sure everyone’s aligned, on the same page, and moving in the right direction.

In UX, we need to make sure we’re solving problems both for the business
and the end user together. It’s that kind of marriage that ends up creating something sustainable.”
– Matt, Product Manager

Any advice for all the UX job seekers out there?
When you’re pulling together your UX portfolio or resume, try to turn your work into a narrative. There’s a great example of this in a book called Communicating the New where the author shares an extensive case study around trying to teach children how to brush their own teeth. Whether you have experience in UX and product management or not, it all comes down to showing that you can solve problems for people. So if you can gather data points (who they were, what the problem was, how you did your research, how you designed a solution, and how you learned from what wasn’t working), you can turn that into a compelling story and make a compelling UX resume.

What qualities make a person successful in UX or product management?
I would say the soft skills within UX and product management are the hardest to find. I can teach people how to learn different tools and processes, but I can’t teach people how to have empathy, be insatiably curious about a particular problem space they’re working in, or be humble enough to take in new information and change their mental model around how something supposedly works. I think it’s attributes like that that allow people to come into this space and thrive.

“Soft skills allow you to find ways to make things work for the humans behind whatever the technologies or processes you’re involved with.”
– Matt, Product Manager

What do you like to do for fun in Atlanta?
I have a three-and-a-half-year-old, so when we do have time to go out and do something, we like to get out in nature. Sometimes we’ll walk a few miles down the Silver Comet trail, play on the river bank at the Chattahoochee, or take a short hike up Kennesaw Mountain.

Anything you’d like to share about your experience working with 3Ci?
My experience with 3Ci has been amazing. It was immediately clear to me that they weren’t just interested in getting me placed quickly and moving on to the next candidate. They really took the time to build a relationship that has lasted beyond my time with 3Ci. They really play the long game when it comes to building lasting relationships with their people, and I appreciate that.

Looking for your next career opportunity in tech, digital, or creative? Search open positions and apply today. We look forward to learning more about you and your professional journey.

Looking to land your dream UX design job with a Fortune 500 in Atlanta? From perfecting your portfolio to nailing the interview, here’s exactly what you need to know.  Click below to learn more!

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