UX researcher Diego Ardila ’22: Using Sociology skills in the workplace!
From school to work: Ardilla applied what he learned in his sociology classes to support product development team
My name is Diego Ardila, I am a senior sociology major and entrepreneurship minor. In the fall and winter quarters of this year, I had the opportunity to work as an associate researcher at UEGroup, a UX design and research firm in San Jose. During my time at UEGroup, I conducted both qualitative and quantitative research including surveys, interviews, usability studies, competitive analysis, and many other methods. I also gained experience analyzing survey data, analyzing interviews, generating study findings, creating recommendations for product development teams, and presenting study results directly to clients through presentations and research briefs.
During the process of finding this position, I used the projects I had done in the research methods classes as case studies (huge thank you to Dr. Di and Dr. Nichols for letting me bug them during this time with presentation reviews and interview prep questions). This allowed me to show UEGroup that I had experience doing research in an academic setting and that I could learn the methods required for an applied position.
After starting my position with the firm, I was very surprised! A lot of the methods we worked with were the same as those I learned in SOC 35, 118, and 120! I found myself thinking of the tips and tricks Dr. King gave us on interview moderation, the way Dr. Di showed us how to translate findings to be understandable for stakeholders, or what Dr. Nichols taught us on the different components of our research question and study design. It was an awesome opportunity to see what I had learned in the classroom directly apply to such a fun and impactful position. Fourteen research projects and 94 interviews later I can say I am very grateful to the department and all its professors who work so hard to make classes interactive and fun. Without all the projects I executed during my time in the sociology department I would not have had the opportunity to work in a position as cool as this one. To all sociology majors or minors, don’t be afraid to use your class projects as case studies or experience when applying to different roles because it is a very valuable experience. Also, don’t be shy to chat with professors for professional guidance, they are very knowledgeable!