Meet the Experts: Natalia UX Design Lead

Over the next two weeks two major awards ceremonies will celebrate many of the talented women working in the technology industry; the Women in IT Awards and FDM Everywoman in Technology Awards.

We work daily with a huge number of inspirational women in the technology sector; many of whom mentor Apps for Good students as part of our Expert programme.

As part of the celebration for females achieving great things in the technology industry, we interviewed one of our female Experts to find out more about her journey with technology and her motivations for being involved with the Apps for Good Expert community.

Huge thank you to Natalia Paraeva who is UX Design Lead at Thomson Reuters for giving us an insight into your career:

1.What or who inspired you to pursue a career in tech?

I always liked maths. My mum bought me a “Fun math and logic puzzles” book and I realised that math was fun! Love for math lead me to a degree in Computer Science. I also really liked art, but my parents said it could be hard to make money with the Art degree. That was more than 20 years ago in Russia, so hopefully things have changed since then.
But eventually I think I found the best of two worlds. As I see it, Design is where Computer Science and Art meet.

2.What do you most enjoy about your job?

I improve people’s life through Technology. Fifty years ago it was awesome if you had a landline phone. Now latest news, TV episodes and even a taxi are in your pocket. But it doesn’t mean it’s easy for people to use.

The challenge I enjoy the most is solving the problems for different people with different personalities, lifestyle, eyesight, who are and are not tech savvy.

And sometimes the most simple solution works for a 80 year old granny and a teenager and everyone in between. Isn’t it incredible?

The iPad is one of those examples for me. When Steve Jobs announced it, I have to admit I wasn’t impressed. I didn’t see the point of having a big phone. Or a poorer version of a laptop. But now I see my toddler use one and my mum who is 72 this year. And it’s incredible that both of them love the iPad and find way more easier to use than any of the above.

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3.How did you hear about the Apps for Good Expert community and why did you want to join?

I heard about the Apps for Good from the boss of my boss – Bob Schukai. He was very passionate about the subject; I saw it as an incredible opportunity to have. My life might have been very different if I had this chance when I was growing up.

It really makes you think about so many different sides of business. You look for a problem to solve, then you think how to solve it, how to build it. And then how to promote it. You’ll think about whether this would make money or be popular. An amazing exercise to really understand how business works. And lots of friendly experts to help you on the way.

4.What are the benefits of young people to speaking to real-world professionals from tech and business?

It’s the best way to learn what’s out there. Who could you be. Or not to be What areas make you tick. Is it Marketing? Or maybe you’re fascinated by complex technical problems? Or maybe you want to talk to customers and understand their problems? UX research. Visual Design? So many possibilities and you can get a real sneak peak into what this involves.

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Want to know more about The Expert programme?

It is an opportunity for student teams delivering the Apps for Good course to get advice and mentoring from real world Experts from business and tech. Apps for Good Experts get the chance to hear the students app ideas, share their skills and knowledge and get loads of energy, inspiration and new perspectives in return!

Experts meet with the students remotely over Google Hangout or Skype in one hour sessions and help them move from problem to prototype in a wide range of areas of expertise mapped to the course, including idea screening, technical and data feasibility through to marketing, prototyping and coding.

In 2016/17, Expert sessions were delivered to over 3200 students across the UK through our Apps for Good dashboard.

https://www.appsforgood.org/public/get-involved/become-an-expert

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