Zoya Sood ’21 has always enjoyed creating through tech, staying informed on the latest trends, and staying connected with people, so earning a degree in Information, Technology, and Informatics (ITI) at SC&I made good sense. As an ITI major, she developed the skills and mindset needed to solve problems working at the intersection of people and machines. Zoya’s user interface/user experience (UI/UX) internship helped her gain a UX design internship at The Real Deal, a New York-based media company. She shared reflections of her undergrad experience with SC&I.
SC&I: What made you pursue an ITI degree, and what was your favorite class?
ZS: Switching my major from pre-med to ITI provided me with several opportunities. I was able to take IT classes and decide which stream within this major was the best for me, something I couldn’t do in my previous major. My favorite ITI class was Human-Computer Interaction with Chris Palle. I was striving to be a UX designer, and that class really helped me start my journey.
SC&I: What advice would you give your younger self about figuring out what aspect of the IT & Informatics profession to pursue?
ZS: Having taken a longer route in figuring out which career I wanted to pursue, I’d want my younger self to focus on what I liked and was good at. Finding my passion for UX design took me a long time for several reasons. I wish I talked to more people in the IT field, especially the more creative fields such as web design and UI/UX.
SC&I: What is the best piece of career advice you’ve received?
ZS: The best advice about my career that I have received is to build my foundation and focus on my craft. At the beginning of my senior year, I was so focused on getting a full-time job by the time I graduated that I didn’t care about the road I needed to pave to get there. Over the last year, because I started to focus more on where I am, rather than stress out over where I wanted to be, I was able to work on projects and my fellowship, create strong relationships with my mentors, and build a solid network and foundation for myself.
SC&I: How did you secure an internship, and what work did you do?
ZS: I gained valuable experience in an internship for UI/UX design. I worked closely with the head of product and was part of an app development project.
SC&I: Please share some details about your Rutgers I-Corps™ experience.
ZS: Being a Rutgers I-Corps fellow brought me out of my comfort zone. This experience taught me to work collaboratively with professionals from different fields and share my opinions and ideas with people I initially found intimidating.
SC&I: Your career is off to a great start. What can you tell us about what you’re doing?
ZS: During my internship, I was part of a UX team highlighting the importance and necessity of inclusive design in UX. After completing the internship and graduating, I sought out work to gain credibility in the UX field. My goal is to land a full-time role as a UX designer, and I’m still working towards it!