How they did it: Daniel Abayomi, Product Designer, Facebook

Daniel Abayomi

Daniel Abayomi, a prolific product Designer began his journey by sketching items on Pinterest, today he has grown to become Product designer with Facebook and in tis interview he shares his story with us. Happy Reading!

Please introduce yourself.
Hello, I’m Daniel Abayomi. I’ve been in design for the past four years and counting. However, before becoming a designer, I worked as a frontend engineer. I actually have three years of frontend engineering expertise, but I didn’t see myself doing that in the long term. That was the driving force behind my decision to change careers. When it comes to range, I believe I have earned my bragging rights due to my diverse experience in the Fintech, Healthcare, Hospitality, Blockchain, Education, and Automobile Industries. Just kidding, no bragging here.

Can you detail your journey into technology?
My journey into tech started with frontend development in 2017. I worked with a small team as a front-end developer. In my free time, I would spend hours on Pinterest sketching furniture, shoes, lights, and other items. I didn’t have any experience with design at the time. While surfing Twitter one weekend in 2018, I came upon a Slack channel for designers and decided to join. I developed a strong interest in user interface design. A fellow designer helped me get started by sharing a couple of resources. I practiced a lot. I would look at other designers’ work I admired and try to replicate them. I would dissect a design and try to understand why the designer chose to design a certain way the product was designed. I was very curious. That curiosity has greatly shaped how I approach design. I began freelancing on the side and taking on pro bono projects for friends as well just so that I can gain more experience but it hasn’t always been rosy. I’ve had at least 200 rejections in my career. Things have also worked out quite well; I consulted for several foreign organizations, and shortly before the end of 2021, I was offered a job with Facebook.

Do you face any challenges in this industry? How do you deal with them?
Everything wasn’t perfect, of course. There were times when I experienced mental blocks and had to work with tight deadlines, and I didn’t have time to “retreat and regroup”. When this happens, I try to get external inspiration from things that are not directly related to screens. I look at art works, or listen to music, sometimes podcasts. Most times, I just go for a drive. It’s also challenging to be at the helm of design decisions that will affect thousands of people. Working with people from different cultures and backgrounds has been educational but is often very challenging too. Time Zone differences can be stressful too. What I do when I newly join a company is to socially research my team members and the company culture in general. You know the saying, when in Rome act like the romans? It is very applicable to the work environment.

What soft skills are most important for young tech entrepreneurs?
Curiosity is the first soft skill that springs to my mind. Curiosity allows you to consider problems from several angles; nonetheless, it’s critical not to get stuck in a rut. This leads me to the next soft skill: design with an open mind. This means exploring alternative possibilities instead of sticking with the first possible solution. Learning how to communicate effectively is an important skill to acquire. You’ll be interacting with other designers, stakeholders, business leaders, and users a lot. Harness empathy, empathy will help you identify and comprehend problems if you use it effectively. Concentrate on improving your problem-solving skills, and the solution will fall into place.

What would you say is the best advice you’ve received?
In chaos, there is opportunity. Most major career accelerations happen when someone steps into a mess and makes a difference. I’ve had a knack for putting in my best in everything I do.

What would you do differently if you had to do this over again?
I’d go to the university and major in design. From the start, I’d prioritize personal branding.

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