Work Life: How Tere moved from Architecture to designing world class digital products.
Work Life is a new Cadana series that talks to people that have successfully created a career path for themselves across various industries.
New episodes will drop every month and we’ll explore working through the lens of people who are figuring it out day by day.
Tere Sagay is a trained architect turned Product Designer who has helped top tech companies like Kuda and Paystack design their digital products. In this edition of Work Life, she tells us how she moved from an Architecture major to a world class tech sis.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be an artist - this was heavily influenced by my dad who is an artist.
Ah, that’s interesting. What changed?
You know that we value certain professions over others in Nigeria, so I wasn’t able to follow my dad’s footsteps. My dream became architecture when I was in Senior Secondary School.
Hm, what a journey. What do you do now for work?
I am a product designer, I design digital products.
That’s not very far-fetched from your childhood dream of being an artist though.
Yes, I know. The binding force between my passion for art, architecture and product design is my desire to be creative and get paid for what I create and that’s exactly what I’m doing now.
Securing the bag, I love to see it. Tell me more.
My transition from architecture to product design was quite interesting. It was in my 2nd year of my architecture undergraduate I first understood what design was. I wasn’t meant to just generate creative ideas, I was a designer - and that meant every design decision I made needed to be solving something. If what I created wasn’t a solution to a particular problem/need, then I wasn’t really designing - I was creating art.
Which was what you wanted to do as a child, no?
Well yes, but as I grew older, my desire to solve needs developed, so you could say I practically evolved/grew from wanting to be an artist into becoming a designer.
The transition from architecture to digital product design was a move within design. The former dealt with the design of physical spaces and the latter was the design of digital spaces.
Wow, I feel like I just got schooled. LOL. What was that transition like?
I was able to embrace the transition because I maintained my mindset as a designer. I only needed to change my tools. And learning the new tools wasn’t a difficult task because I needed to do that as an architect anyway, so that I can keep up with cutting-edge industry trends.
You make it sound like it was a walk in the park. Was it?
Not really, tbh. Mostly because switching contexts and relearning industry jargon took a few months to get used to but I was determined to.
I get that. Are you happy with the way things panned out?
Yup. I would make the decision earlier if I could go back in time.
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