Getting Your Start in Tech w/ Branden Thornton

Now I already know a lot of you reading this are probably already in the tech space in some way, but is there another area of tech space you’ve always wanted to explore? Obviously, there’s no one “correct" pathway to get into tech, so today we’re talking about a more nontraditional one. I’m joined in this conversation by the always wonderful Branden Thornton, Senior Product Designer at Uber.

For the full rundown:

YouTube Link

For the highlight reel:

Let’s start things off by saying that no matter what you’re currently doing, there’s probably some tech-adjacent job or relevant skills you can apply. So to all the people out there who want to get into tech but feel like their job experience isn’t relevant, think again. Even if you’re just a kid working at Outback (looking at myself here), you’re not just dishing out bloomin’ onions, you’re putting networking and communication into everyday practice on the daily. And if you wanted to go the developer route, you’d have a leg up at any food-related tech companies because you understand the industry. What I’m trying to say here is don’t discount your experience. It’s all about your perspective and using what you’ve got to get to where you want to go.

You’d assume Branden’s tech origin story would follow the same path as lots of other people, but that’s not exactly the case. He actually went to school for PR and public policy, decided that wasn’t his path, and then went to the ole YouTube academy and learned how to be a designer. Much to the same tune, he was working at Apple when he got his first connection with a tech startup. What I’m saying here is that your path is just as valid even if it’s not the traditional one.

What do you know about design? In the words of Branden, functionality needs to come along with a great user experience. And on that same note— you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover… but if that cover is ugly you’re never going to pick it up in the first place. Once you get into the designer space, it branches off even further from there. So whether you’re interested in more of the user experience design side of things or more of the look and feel— there might just be the perfect role for you in this field.