Timothy McKenna

Timothy McKenna

Carlisle, Pennsylvania Director of UX | NIC's PA Interactive Joined over 5 years ago

  • 32 stories
  • 138 comments
  • 214 upvotes
  • Posted to What are the most important things you need to know about a company before applying for a remote design position with them?, Jun 17, 2019

    Easy question to ask....somewhat loaded answer.

    For me, there is a series of checks that any company that I would apply to would need to pass, regardless if it's 100% remote or an in-office job. I'll save my remote specific ones for the end.

    1) Industry: I have to work in certain industries. Define good things? I focus more on industries that impact people for the better like higher education, GovTech, healthcare, etc. For me personally, sports entertainment, gambling, tobacco, pharmaceuticals, auto industry, and some fintech companies don't appeal to me. Since I work mainly in product and user experience, I don't think I would ever go back to marketing and advertising. I worked for a year and some change at one of the large student loan servicers in the US and never again.

    2) Company mission: I want to work at a company that sustainable in its growth and roadmap and focuses on employees.

    3) Pay + Benefits: If I don't see a salary range listed, I ask. Most listings I look at list a lot of a company's benefits, but I do a lot of research on salary and what I want to be making. If I can't get at least a range, I won't go any further in the conversation. Every company has a range and sharing that range I believe is the first step in trust. I personally don't need an unlimited vacation. I don't want to be on call though. I need good healthcare coverage, I don't care about catered lunches. I care about retirement plans, not a pet-friendly office.

    4) Work culture and job fit: I am pretty blunt in my interviews about culture and responsibilities. If a job description says that a particular role is going to be integral in setting up processes and defining our design principles, great! I'll grill the interviewer about it and to make they actually mean that instead of just saying it. I look up company reviews, employees reviews, and determine what questions I need to ask because if the company is growing steadily each year and it has a strong product, I want to make sure the company culture and the role they want to fit is supportive to continue that growth.

    5) If I see any company put a job listing with the following in the job title, I won't apply. Rockstar, Guru, Master, Wizard, Sherpa, Killer, Amazing and anything else similar.

    6) Remote Specific: I want to make sure that timezone overlap isn't going to be an issue. I tend to only look for roles that are based in the USA because it'll be less of an issue with health insurance, retirement plans, etc...unless they are a multinational corporation. I don't really care too much about tools but I do ask and discuss their stack (I work on a PC, so I don't use Sketch or Framer) but generally, I don't worry too much about tools. I do ask about how they check in and get work done.

    This isn't a complete list of checks, but they are some of the big ones. I spend a lot of time in the interview process to learn as much as I can.

    4 points
  • Posted to Adobe warns Creative Cloud users with older apps of legal problems, May 14, 2019

    Affinity Designer and Photo (and eventually Publisher) handle all my needs that Adobe traditionally used to...but I cut the cord with Adobe a little over two years ago.

    1 point
  • Posted to Designers who are 40 plus, how are you..., in reply to andreis . , Apr 11, 2019

    I don't actually work for government (meaning I am not a government employee). I work for a company that only does work for state government, so it's a private company with a singular client if you will...but I can speak layoffs/ageism with my counterparts in government.

    If you are unionized, it's harder to get laid off. If you aren't part of a union, you're just as likely to get laid off when government agency budgets are slashed.

    Ageism though...government is slow...and when you have been part of the state government and kept your nose clean, you can stick around for 30 some years, collect your state pension. I have found that ageism actually affects more younger employees. Government can be entrenched, bureaucratic, and monolithic...so if you are young with aspirations of making huge strides....you're going to have a bad time. Older employees don't want to change anything as it could affect their pension and younger employees tend to get pushed out...so when the older employees retire..there is a huge vacuum where skilled people are needed, but not many want to work because of the culture/legacy. This has been my typical observation, but each state and state agency is different.

    1 point
  • Posted to Designers who are 40 plus, how are you..., Apr 10, 2019

    I'm 34 and I have been working in the industry for 13 years at this point. I currently am a design director for a tech company that works solely for state government. I have had a pretty varied career from practitioner to manager in a variety of fields from publishing, academia, healthcare, technology, financial services, and marketing. For me, I want to continue to move up in management roles and take on more strategic/business/leadership functions as I feel that I have the most impact. I'll be honest, I am not the greatest designer...but I feel like I am pretty good at working with designers. I feel best working with and learning from my team...and I try to give them all of the support, resources, and confidence to do the best work they can.

    While I'd love to do this forever...I'm building a safety net retirement plan that hopefully ease a lot of financial considerations in the future. I have a 401k and a Roth IRA that I have been contributing to since I started (parents raised me to always save as a mantra that a company pays you, from that paycheck...pay yourself first, then do your bills, etc). I have bought a house a few years ago and the value continues to raise. So financially, if I wanted to, I could retire at 67 pretty comfortably if all things currently stay the same with savings and whatnot.

    Ideally, I'd like to transition into a consultant later in my career like Jose Coronado. But who knows? Half of the fun for me is seeing what opportunities arise for me to learn and grow and marry that knowledge back to design.

    2 points
  • Posted to Best places for UI/UX job openings?, Jan 30, 2019

    In my experience I have had the best outcomes with these sources..

    LinkedIn Even for remote jobs too

    Indeed

    Ziprecruiter

    I constantly check out these as well...

    Designer News Jobs literally in the navbar.

    WeWorkRemotely

    Dribbble Jobs

    This is a new one (too me at least)...

    RMTWRK

    That covers the main job board sites I check out, but often I look at the careers page of companies I like such as Automattic, Buffer, InVision, Zapier, 10up, Big Cartel, Valve, Wizards, and others. Sometimes they put on a job listing on a board, most times though they don't...guess it depends on the urgency of the need. Certain Slack groups I am part of include a jobs channel as well.

    0 points
  • Posted to What book are you reading now?, Jan 30, 2019

    Discussing Design re-reading with my team right now. Excellent book.

    0 points
  • Posted to Figma introduces PDF exports, Dec 11, 2018

    I've already utilized the .pdf export for a government agency that still only uses IE11. (since IE isn't supported by Figma). Figma made the export process very easy to export all of the screens, then I just relinked areas in the .pdf doc to mimic the prototype. Figma is great....but damn...US government agencies need to update from IE.

    0 points
  • Posted to New information architecture and UX/UI redesign for a big electricity and gas supplier company, Oct 03, 2018

    Great work Laszlo!

    1 point
  • Posted to Atlassian and InVision announce partnership, in reply to John Smith , Sep 05, 2018

    I am also curious about this possibility. While I do not use InVision products, it would be worrisome should Atlassian scoop them up and homogenize their product offering to sit inside their current suite of tools.

    0 points
  • Posted to Affinity Publisher Beta download, Aug 30, 2018

    I am so excited to try this out!

    1 point
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