From University to Work: Top Tips for Designers

News, POV

Transitioning from studies to the workforce can be challenging, but having the opportunity to meet industry experts for advice, inspiration, and feedback is crucial. That’s why Pilotfish project manager and industrial designer Jaime Ramírez Camarero will share his career journey and knowledge with students and PhD candidates at  Vrije Universiteit’s Women in STEM Symposium’s speed dating event on May 2.


Jaime studied product design & development engineering at Universitat Politècnica de Valencia (UPV), before completing his master’s at ELISAVA, Barcelona School of Design and Engineering. His first gig out of university was with Future Fit Engineering, which led him on a path to creating production-ready products across a variety of industries, and eventually to Pilotfish. 



What important lessons have you learnt from workplaces?


At my first job, Future Fit Engineering, I learnt to be a bridge between designer and engineer because I understood both worlds. I know designers are dreamers – but sometimes they dream too much – they can dream so much that their designs might not meet the cost expectations or be able to be manufactured.


And on the other hand, I know engineers will say ‘let’s just make a box with screws in it’. I can travel between two worlds and explain to the engineers that a box with screws won’t sell but also explain to designers that it needs to be practical for the real world.


At Pilotfish, I’ve learned a lot from Harm [Hogenbirk]. Not just about design, but also about how to talk, how to present and introduce an idea. That’s super important for a designer. You can have the best design ever, but if you can’t present and defend it and apply the design to the real product, you’re not going to get any work.


You’re speaking with students and PhD candidates. If you could re-wind the clock and be in their shoes, what advice would you give your younger self?


Do everything with an objective in mind and always have a goal. Then you can see the skills you need to get there. Once you see those skills, it’s just a matter of making the path and pushing yourself.


You’re going to find new skills, perspectives, and new paths. But follow what you want to follow. Don’t force yourself. Sometimes you find another path that you like even more.


What are your top three pieces of career advice for students making the transition from study to work?


  1. Surround yourself with people who have the same ambition as you. It helps a lot.
  2.  Don’t compare yourself with the people on the internet. That’s really difficult, I did it a lot. I think now I’m more in acceptance mode. I acknowledge the other abilities I have, so I can distance myself from the eye candy of instagram. I think nowadays people get super frustrated because there are a lot of inputs from the internet that make you feel super little compared to what you really are.
  3.  With your portfolio – be subtle, with not too much information. We spend 1-2 minutes at the first look of a portfolio, it has to be so simple and easy to understand. I see a lot of portfolios that go really deep. Mine is just nice eye candy pictures, small fast readable text, big numbers and facts. You want people to get engaged. To ask you, hey, what’s this? How did you design this? If you put it all out there, no one is going to ask you important questions. You’re losing the opportunity to speak to someone and influence them while you’re explaining your designs.


Curious to know more or work with Pilotfish?

Get in touch – info@pilotfish.eu

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