Name: Pamela Adams
Return Path position: User Experience (UX) Designer
Career past life (What did you do?): I started my career as a television producer for numerous outlets including ABC News. I took a break from working to focus on starting a family. During this time, I focused my creativity in graphic design, working freelance in traditional methods and quickly transitioning into web development. I have a passion for new technologies. As an early adopter, I can be more effective for my clients to make them stand out as innovators. My graphic design work centered on leveraging Apple tools and software, which led to a position at Apple as a software trainer. Upon reflection at a pivotal moment in my life, I wanted to grow professionally and make a bigger impact on the development of new technologies. I returned to school to become a software engineer.
How long were you out of the workforce? I was outside of the professional workforce for 20 years. I chose to freelance because it provided the flexibility I needed, so I could be home for my kids after school and support their activities. I sought out education throughout this time to extend my skills and technology foundation.
Return Path role (What do you do each day?): I collaborate with product managers, software developers, and UX designers in an Agile environment to concept user-centered workflows and user interface components for new and existing product features in Return Path’s web tools. To do this, I need to put myself in the customer’s shoes, so I can discover ways to improve their experience and workflows to help them successfully achieve their goals and objectives.
Crossover (What skills from your past life do you use in your new position?): My understanding of design concepts and theory along with my more recent training in software engineering and Agile methodology helped prepare me for the UX designer role. I believe that engineering a user experience definitely requires an understanding of the software and how it’s made.
What does the Return to Work program mean to you? It means an opportunity for me to work with a user experience team learning on the job about all the different roles that a UX designer plays to contribute to software development.
What do you hope to get out of it? I’d like to fulfill my goal of becoming a UX designer. I want to increase my knowledge and experience by working with and learning from this elite group of UX veterans. I look forward to contributing to the well thought out and researched designs Return Path aims to create. And I’m already building my professional network in the field.
What advice would you give to future Returnees? My advice is to work as many hours as you can so that you can integrate into the team more quickly and fully. Working more hours offers you the opportunity to learn faster and to experience a more holistic view of your job.
Where did you hear about this program? I heard about the program through a job posting on Luke’s Circle (a local job posting service). I almost couldn’t believe my luck in finding it, because all of the internships I had seen in the tech world were for college students.