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Design & UX

Leah Mitchell, Product Designer at ezyVet

Dreams of becoming a Pokèmon trainer or perhaps a painter, to a job that would have blown the mind of her younger-self, Leah Mitchell shares some insight into the day-to-day of working as a Product Designer at ezyVet, her career journey to date and what she loves about her current role. Thanks for sharing your story. Leah.

Firstly, how would you explain to a 5 year old what you do?

I draw pictures with and for vets so they can take care of animals better.

“Computers and creating art were things I loved as a kid and, unbeknown to me, it was something I could do for a living in the future. That certainly would blow kid Leah’s little mind.”

Was working in tech something you dreamed about doing as a kid?

As a kid I had all the stereotypical dream jobs: a painter, fashion designer, singer in a rock band, and even a Pokèmon trainer. Something that came up later in life was working with computers. 

I was lucky enough to be exposed to them early in primary school. Computers and creating art were things I loved as a kid and, unbeknown to me, it was something I could do for a living in the future. That certainly would blow kid Leah’s little mind.

 

“There’s a sense of pride in seeing your work being used out in the wild and it’s one of the perks of the job.”

Tell us a little bit more about your career journey and ultimately about how you ended up working at ezyVet? 

I’ve always been a creative at heart, which meant design school was inevitable. It was while studying graphic design at Media Design School in Auckland that I learnt all about user experience design. 

I learnt that the “why” behind every design decision supports a user and an everyday problem they struggle with. This helped me through university, working on projects that aimed to solve these problems including an app that provided people with food allergies to dine safely across Auckland, and an online accessibility tool for colour-blind folks. 

The variety of work helped me move seamlessly into agency life, working on heaps of different problems at a time. I was able to meet with customers and watch them use an app I worked on for hundreds of hours. There’s a sense of pride in seeing your work being used out in the wild and it’s one of the perks of the job. 

After three years at an agency job, I found an advertised designer role at ezyVet online. They had never had a designer before so it was an opportunity for me to form a process and get ezyVet setup for success in the product space. 

I was the first of three original product team members who started back in the winter of 2019 and almost two years later, I’m in a product team of eleven people and are hiring our new designer this year. You could say it’s been one hell of a ride with a motley crew of passionate and talented people who have made working at ezyVet an incredible journey.

Can you share some more insight into what that transition was like? 

A lot of designers can get caught up in the agency versus product life. From my own experience, I’ve tended to pit them against each other and only look at the differences. I think transitioning from agency to product was quite an interesting challenge. 

You go from working on a handful of projects from different clients to working on a solo product for one client, the business. At ezyVet, we have an awesome group of dedicated customers that help us create the best features possible and keep us on our toes. 

I think it has been an awesome journey so far to learn how at the centre of both agency and product work is one thing: our customers.

“Tech let’s us have fun and socialise, bringing us closer to friends and family overseas during a worldwide pandemic. ”

What is it specifically that you like about working in tech relative to your past jobs? 

Since university I’ve always worked in the technology space so I really have nothing else to compare it to except for a little café in Remuera or a Cotton On over a brief summer. Tech is an awesome realm to work in because it’s used in practically every part of modern human life. 

We wouldn’t be the same without technology with how it helps us work more efficiently than ever and gives us access to huge amounts of information. Tech let’s us have fun and socialise, bringing us closer to friends and family overseas during a worldwide pandemic. 

In the design space, we can help solve everyday problems with technology and digital products, as well as the problems we are currently facing during this pandemic. Over at ezyVet, have been working on a handful of features to help clinics communicate with their clients remotely, without the need of face-to-face contact. 

It’s work like this that gives me a lot of pride in what I do as I know I’m helping keep people safe as well as enabling them to do their everyday jobs. It’s the tech industry that provides these life changing ways we can quickly adapt in an ever changing environment.

Do you have any advice for people considering tech as a career path and how they might get there quicker? 

It’s all about connections! Look around for companies that may be running internship programs for students or even just ask about shadowing sessions. It’s important to learn about the industry and how we work earlier on in your career journey. 

For designers specifically, there are plenty of groups out there that you can join. Both in-person or digital meetups provide heaps of opportunity to meet like minded individuals and learn heaps from the experts. It can be intimidating to meet new people but the first step is reaching out and asking for a chance.

What gets you excited about working at ezyVet?

It’s always the people for me. ezyVet is full of awesome and passionate people that love what they do and working on new features with them and our customers is something that I’m very proud of. There’s a lot of awesome potential to help the vet industry spend more quality time in our software so they can focus on the health and wellbeing of their patients.

“It’s a very fast-paced environment with a lot of moving parts so you have to be ready to not just be a small cog in the machine as every role at ezyVet has its part in making the company and the product move smoothly.”

Lastly, ezyVet continues to grow.  What kind of candidates do you think ezyVet is looking for in terms of experience, attitude and character?

Come in ready to work hard and learn a lot. It’s a very fast-paced environment with a lot of moving parts so you have to be ready to not just be a small cog in the machine as every role at ezyVet has its part in making the company and the product move smoothly. 

Get ready to collaborate with lots of different types of people from across the business and even get as lucky as I am to be friends with a lot of the people I work with today. At times, it definitely feels like one big family. Come with a positive attitude and be part of something great! We can’t wait to see what you have to offer.

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