This month, meet Eunjung Cho, a UX designer at Knowre, an education technology startup company.
Q: Could you start us off by introducing yourself?
A: I have been working for Knowre as a UX designer since December 2018. Knowre, an education technology startup company specialized for math education, was born from an after-school math tutoring academy in South Korea and has grown into an education technology provider in the United States and South Korea.
At Knowre, I plan and develop UX design to provide supplementary mathematical education software for U.S. public schools in need of personalized learning experience. This software can be utilized by students in elementary to high school.
Q: Can you speak about your past career in South Korea and your journey after moving to the U.S.?
A: I worked as an interaction designer and UX designer at large Internet companies and a startup. When I moved to the Bay Area, I decided to focus on caring for my two children for a couple of years. During that time, I actively volunteered at my children’s schools as an art docent and library helper. However, it took longer than I had planned to return to the paid workforce. While I was job searching, I worked as a solo UX designer and iOS developer and successfully launched 2 iOS apps.
Q: What was the biggest challenge you faced during the job search process?
A: I was passive about meeting with new people and building connections here in the U.S. Even though I knew that it was very hard to find a job without networking, I was not able to push myself to make more personal connections. Thus, I simply submitted my resume to companies’ websites but did not receive any responses. Whenever I felt demotivated and nonproductive, I focused my energy on developing my portfolio or doing work other than job searching in order to keep myself from getting burned out. I continuously repeated this process for almost 1 year.
Q: Could you talk about your experience with Simple Steps? How has Simple Steps supported you?
A: I was lucky to discover Simple Steps, as it connected me with mentors who gave me sincere and valuable feedback. I also participated in the WordPress study group provided by Simple Steps to upgrade my portfolio. It was a wonderful experience to study and learn with like-minded people and get support from the study group facilitator. While I was a member of the Startup small group, we had monthly meetups and shared our experiences and constructive feedback with each other. I was encouraged to move forward and take small steps out of my comfort zone through these activities.
Q: Do you have any advice to share with women looking to pursue their career aspirations?
A: First of all, I suggest setting small goals rather than one big goal so that you don’t get disappointed and give up quickly. In addition, I encourage you to believe that persistence and firmly believing in yourself will pay off. Finding and securing a job depends on a lot of factors that are out of my control, and it takes much longer than you would expect to get a job that perfectly fits with your skills and desires. Therefore, it is important to keep trying and pushing through challenges with perseverance. Even though you may not be able to plant and reap what you sow in the same season, your efforts will come to fruition in the future.
Second, I volunteered a lot for my children’s schools to gain confidence in my English. As I believed that I would be able to help kindergarten students, I mustered my courage and actively supported a language art class. This helped me reduce my fear of speaking in English. I did not start volunteering at school for any specific purposes. Surprisingly, my volunteer contributed greatly to interviews with companies in the education field. I encourage other moms to take advantage of the opportunities that are around you, especially by volunteering in your community.