Gene Steratore
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Blog

My Journey to UX

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Moving to eCommerce

I started my professional career in the IT Department at DICK's Sporting Goods in 2013. I was fortunate enough to work with some amazing people and was given plenty of opportunities to be creative and help lead our team. In June of 2016 however, I changed course opting for a role in the eCommerce department. I wanted to expand my knowledge of our business and build new skills. It was a great chance to work with a previous manager whom I have the utmost respect for, and to be apart of something new.

New Team, New Dream

The team that I was working on was newly formed, which offered me the chance to help mold my own role and responsibility. My initial focus was mastering the day-to-day tasks of being an eCommerce Coordinator, such as running daily reports and maintaining relationships with over 100 vendors. Once I had these day-to-day tasks down, I enrolled in Microsoft Excel classes that DSG offered. I had never written a Macro in Excel prior to June 2016, but by July I had mastered them. I automated many processes on our team, some of which went from a 30 minute completion time to under 3 minutes. In August, I would attend a mandatory presentation that would change everything for me.

Introduction to UX

I remember vividly receiving a calendar invitation from our UX team and debating whether I would attend. I was busy with work, still relatively new in my role and wanted to get as much done as possible. Upon learning that the presentation was mandatory and that our entire team was going, I packed up my laptop and headed down to Auditorium A.

We had a small UX team at that time, I want to say maybe 4 or 5 team members, but the presentation made an enormous impact. I listened to designers and researchers speak about their jobs, what their responsibilities were and how their thought process worked. It was the first time in my life that I knew EXACTLY what I wanted to do. I fell in love with UX that day, and when the presentation commenced, I called my girlfriend (now wife) to tell her the good news.

What Happened Next

I talked about that presentation for the next month until I finally mustered up the courage to reach out to one of the researchers. We setup a lunch, I met some other team members and was recommended a Master's Program at my Alma Mater (Kent State University). Enrolling in this program was one of the best decisions of my life, as I have learned so much already. I started classes in Fall 2017 and have done very well. I never knew that school could be so exciting and enjoyable. There is a clarity that you experience when you truly want something and will do anything for it. I have had that feeling twice now. The first time, I asked the person who made me feel that way to marry me. This next time, I will become a UX Designer.

Gene Steratore