Fellowship Experience: Naveen Sangu

Naveen Sangu is a freelance designer who’s currently a part of the 7th Cohort of the Product Design Fellowship.

Here’s his story.

“I had been working in the IT industry for over 7 years, when I decided to make the switch to the design space. I had a friend who was studying design, and through his encouragement, was able to pursue my own interest during the pandemic. I started off with reading books, watching YouTube tutorials or design podcasts. Still I felt like there was something lacking. I wanted a space where I could communicate with like-minded individuals.

It was around this time that I was looking for something different and more solid - and I came across ownpath on Twitter. I did my due diligence for 2-3 months before finally joining ownpath. Initially, my fear about choosing the wrong place came back into action, and I was worried it was a bad choice again. But then I saw people writing good things about ownpath and that the people working here were from reputed institutions and companies. This was going to be my last decision to attempt this route. Thankfully, I feel like I’ve finally made the right choice.

I’m currently involved in many projects and other freelance projects. Freelance work is quite hard, but it is fantastic in order to gain experience. You need to take initiative and make hard decisions. So I enjoy doing that. I’m also completing my Fellowship on the side. It’s been a very interesting journey so far.

During the fellowship, I figured out some gaps that needed strengthening after sessions with mentors. One of the most memorable sessions for me was Usability Testing by Mahima Chandak. Because I ended up using the concepts she taught us in my projects and freelance work. Sessions by other ownpath mentors were also very helpful in solidifying other shaky foundations. I was able to tap into the ownpath community, built my network, met so many of the mentors who became inspirations! Something I’ll always remember him saying that you should only take projects if you have the necessary expertise. It’s better to think ‘I’m an expert’, than ‘I’m an executor’.

One skill I think every designer should have is keeping your ego aside. If you get along with everyone and learn what you’re being taught, since design is such a collaborative effort, your results would surpass rather than if you just depended on yourself. In the design community, there’s an intellectual space to think, discuss and it’s great to be a part of it.

I can’t wait to see what the future holds!”

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