Kate Syuma - Growing a product design career you will love


Interested in climbing the ranks in your current company but wondering where to start? Listen to this episode with Kate Syuma where we discuss how to organize your career path for continued growth and what to do if you get tired of your job! Listen to the full episode for advice on transitioning into a leadership role and a behind-the-scenes look at what it's like to work at a rapidly growing company!

🎯 Take charge of your career path!

Reflect on your current role versus where you want to be every quarter. Determine the actions you need to take to move you in the right direction, and don’t wait for anyone else to give you an opportunity you have not asked for!

💡 Keep your job fresh in your own way!

Find the tasks and activities that energize you and determine ways to incorporate them into your daily tasks. Ask for new projects that will allow you to work with new teams and stakeholders while allowing you to broaden your skillset. Start doing the tasks required for your next promotion to show your manager you are ready to level up!

Growing a product design career you will love

In episode 40 of The Product Design Podcast, Seth Coelen interviews Kate Syuma, Head of Growth Design at Miro. Over the last five years at Miro, Kate has grown from an IC Product Designer to a Product Design Lead and up to her current role. Her insights on career growth and keeping things fresh as your career progress are fantastic!

During our chat, Kate shares how to organize your career path and grow as a designer while not getting tired of your job. We also talk about how she set herself up to land her first job and then be discovered by Miro. Kate’s approach to growth will help you no matter where you are in your career path right now!

Kate Syuma & Seth Coelen on The Product Design Podcast

Kate’s journey into product design

Kate initially went to university for an IT specialty where she was coding and programming, but she quickly realized that this was not what she wanted to do. She began thinking through her future career path and decided to combine her love of fine art with her interest in doing something digital. Kate began working as a graphic designer and created illustrations for postcards sold in a small local store in her city.

After some time, she decided she would like to learn more about UI and UX, so she invested in a MacBook, installed Sketch, and learned how to use that tool. Kate soon began freelancing and then worked at an agency that created mobile apps and worked as a UI/UX designer. After a short time, she was contacted by Miro and asked to interview. Although she did not feel ready and thought she needed at least a year or two of experience at the agency, she decided to try the test home task from Miro. She recalls not knowing how to do the task but choosing to do it anyway. She then had her interview and quickly received an offer to join Miro on her birthday!

How to organize your career growth

Kate has quickly worked her way up the ranks at Miro with her constant focus on growth and career strategy. During our chat, she shares advice on how she has been able to stay on course to achieve her career goals while ensuring that she is always heading in a direction that interests her. Take a step back, think through these steps, and take action on the direction you set to constantly keep your career path in line with your aspirations!

💭 Reflect on your career every quarter.

Taking time to reflect on where you are on your career path and where you want to go is very powerful. Ask yourself questions like: What am I currently doing? What do I want to do next? What do I really enjoy doing, and am I actually getting to do that day-to-day in my current role? Are there flow moments in my current role, and how do they make me feel? If something is missing, make a note of that.

💡 Reset your course to align with what you want next.

Now that you are aware of anything you may want to change about your path forward in your career, make a plan. What do you want to do in 6 months, 12 months, and beyond? What do you need to do in the short term to hit those goals? What books can you read to learn more? What education or experience do you need to gain? Lay out the plan and start taking small steps forward.

👉 Pro Tip:

Share your goals with your manager so they are aware and can keep that in mind as new business opportunities are presented. You never know when there could be a chance for you to grow in the direction you had hoped, and your manager can help you move in that direction.

“Reflection moments with yourself are very powerful. Asking yourself what am I doing here, what are my flow moments, what do I want to do next, what do I really like doing, and from that, you can renavigate.”

📢 Treat your career as a design project.

As designers, we can design our career path to change it when needed. Kate read the book Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans, which dives into how you can apply design thinking to your life. If, at any point, your interests change, it is ok to step back and redesign your direction again!

How to avoid getting tired of your job

Chances are you have encountered stale moments along your career path. Whether you are tired because you have been doing the same thing for years or you get bored quickly and constantly need new challenges, finding ways to keep things fresh over your long career journey is imperative. Kate gave us fantastic advice on how she has been able to stay interested in her work and how she takes the lead to ensure it stays exciting and engaging for her!

⚡️ Find your energizers!

When we are aware of the work we are interested in, we can find different ways to incorporate that type of work into our day. Learning new things tied to your interests will keep things fresh, so you don't get bored!

🎯 New tasks or projects can keep things interesting!

Be open to new opportunities to help you grow. If things are getting a bit boring for you, ask if there is another project you can get involved in at work. You may be able to find excitement in working with a new team or stakeholders or a new scope. Leading with a growth mindset and being open to new opportunities will keep your job exciting and interesting.

🔥 Start doing the job you want next!

When you know you are starting to outgrow your current role, but need to gain more experience to progress to the next level, just start doing the job you want next. This will give you relevant experience and build your confidence while showing your manager that you are capable and ready to level up!

Kate Syuma from Miro
“Thinking about leveling up in your career, the very simple thing to do is just do the job that you want to do next. Just start doing it today and integrate parts of it with some baby steps.”

Thank you so much, Kate!

We had a fantastic time chatting with Kate about approaching career growth while keeping your day-to-day work exciting and interesting. Her tips and advice will help you tailor your approach to your specific needs and aspirations for your career. We are thankful that Kate shared so much actionable and specific knowledge to consider as we move through our career journeys.

Listen to the complete episode on The Product Design Podcast, which includes more about moving into leadership and what it is like working at Miro. Don't forget to follow Kate on LinkedIn, Medium, and her website to see what she is up to! If you are interested in a job at Miro, check the open role links below!

Where to find Kate

Open roles at Miro:

Other mentioned links:

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