Ashrith Shetty, a student in the University of Maryland College of Information Studies (UMD iSchool) Masters of Science in Human-Computer Interaction (HCIM) program, class of 2020, began his human-computer interaction (HCI) journey years prior as a software engineer in Bangalore, India. While developing software for Android apps, Ashrith was exposed for the first time to design teams and UX/UI design methods. The more he discovered about the user-focused side of technology development, the more he was fascinated.
Ashrith made a choice to pivot in his career path and refocus on HCI, working for three years as a self-taught UX designer before applying to the UMD iSchool’s HCIM program to further advance his career. He was impressed by the program’s prestigious reputation as home to the HCIL, one of the oldest and most respected HCI labs in the world, and by the program’s project-based curriculum. In the HCIM program, students apply their learning to semester-long projects that provide them with opportunities for mentorship by award winning faculty, real-world experience, and portfolio building.
One of Ashrith’s favorite courses was “Data Visualization,” where he learned about making data accessible to users. The resulting course project was not only published on Towards Data Science (towardsdatascience.com), but it also helped him get his current internship with Adobe. In his internship, he works on features for their product design tool, Adobe XD. Ashrith says, “This is exciting and challenging because our users are all designers. And, of course, the opportunity to work with some amazingly talented designers is the biggest perk of all.”
During his time at the iSchool, Ashrith has also honed important workplace skills, such as promoting new ideas, critical observation, working with teams, and in particular, being resilient and determined. He says, “Whether you’re looking for an internship or job, iterating for the 20th time on your design, or trying to get that impossible bit of code to work, be patient and persistent in your efforts – sooner or later it all works out.”