Lily Li

Summary List Placement

Product design jobs in Silicon Valley are ultra competitive. People from all over the world try to break in, and I’ve personally seen how a single job listing brings in hundreds of applicants.

I had 2 years of product design experience under my belt, which consisted of tons of scrappy projects and learnings. I didn’t come from a “prestigious” school, or at least one recognized by Silicon Valley. I studied at Virginia Commonwealth University, a public arts university, and while it’s recognized by folks on the East Coast, no one in Silicon Valley has heard of it.

I bring up Ivy Leagues because typically, graduating from those schools with a computer science or software engineering-related degree is what opens doors. If I wanted to make the traditional leaps in my career, the best way was to “level up by pedigree” (I’ve heard this verbatim from executives) and I’d have to go back to school.

But I didn’t want to take out any more loans.

I realized that in order to further my career, I’d have to play the game differently.

The pandemic was the big moment that got me to start taking action. I already ran in-person product design workshops in San Francisco, but when the pandemic began, I had to run everything remote.

That got me thinking: instead of just building a local design community in San Francisco, why not take it global?

At first, I did simple speaking videos on YouTube and fun dance trends on TikTok. There was a huge demand for tech content, especially for product design specifically. I started to gain a large enough following, and it made me take content creation more seriously. I started posting daily on TikTok and Instagram, and weekly on YouTube.

I posted videos on how to pass product design interviews (like tutorials on how to whiteboard, a common challenge for design interviews) and shared the best advice I’ve learned throughout my professional career (like studying the interaction design book About Face).

Once the economy picked up near the end 2020, tech companies started hiring again and I knew I had to start interviewing at companies to keep myself sharp — not only to see what was out there, but because I was teaching this stuff to other designers as well. Through my tutorials and online workshops, I helped people land jobs at companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon, and startups around the world. 

I …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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I got a $215,000 job offer in product design during the pandemic with only 2 years of experience. Here’s how I did it — and why I ultimately turned it down.

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