Here’s Why This Seasoned Designer Decided to Teach Key Skills Students Need to Excel in Tech
What would prompt a professional in the technology field with over fifteen years of experience to head back into the classroom to lead Web design at Touro College Graduate School of Technology (GST)? Several factors led to this major decision, according to professor Josh Baron.
“I started teaching for two primary reasons. First, I was having a hard time finding qualified candidates to hire that possessed both design and development skills. Additionally, I enjoy and get satisfaction from helping people succeed and saw teaching as an opportunity to help students get the skills needed to get good jobs in tech,” Josh said.
Life at Dell
Currently employed as a Senior Principal Product Designer at Dell, Josh was recruited by the company while still living in New York and is now based in Austin, Texas. One of the primary day to day responsibilities for the tech giant include working on a new and innovative design system, which includes all of the key Web components that go into a Dell software product such as a header, footer, banners and carousels.
“The design system is an inventory of different components with rules and guidelines for each one that is then inventoried in a library. Right now, I’m trying to inventory elements that are being used and then eventually when there is a redesign, we will have a group of components that we can adjust to make the lives of both developers and designers easier,” said Josh.
After the project is completed, if the business were to need a new page, the designer can lay it out through going directly to the inventory and use the drag and drop technique to create it. “In turn, this enables the designer to drill down and focus on the actual user experience, touted as the most efficient way to get customers to successfully complete their purchase, while developers can import the design and easily pull code to reduce the time it takes to create a new page,” Josh added.
Fostering Critical Skills at Touro
Prior to being employed by Dell, it was while working for Mastercard that Josh was involved in recruitment efforts to build out a new user experience team and after sitting through various interviews, he realized there was one common problem found-- it was difficult to pinpoint people with both design and development skillsets and that is what ultimately brought him to Touro.
“I am now working with design students who are enrolled in development classes. While I teach my course from across the country online, we focus on designing and building responsive websites through analyzing product design and a user-centered approach. Students are tasked with walking through the overall user experience; they interview users, find a problem, create a journey map and a hypothesis, and then experiment with different solutions and end up creating one,” Josh said.
Ultimately, this enables GST students to build a User Experience (UX) portfolio to leverage during job interviews upon graduation and also gain some front-end development knowledge, setting them apart from tons of competition in the growing tech industry. The other top skills that Josh also highlights in his class are communication, design and development techniques, flexibility and agility, and continuously keeping abreast of current trends.
“You always need to be learning and researching as technology changes every few months,” Josh concluded.