Jordan Singer

Jordan Singer

Product Designer at Square

Designer for Cash App at Square. I build my ideas.

14 action items

Know when it’s valuable to learn to code as a designer

    • Learning to code as a designer is invaluable. I chose to study computer science in college because it really changes the way you think. You begin to approach problem solving in new and abstract ways. I vividly remember a professor of mine repetitively saying "computer scientists are the best abstractionists in the world." Code can be intimidating, but it certainly doesn't hurt to learn. Applying a computer science mindset to design ultimately made me a better designer, and learning to code can do the same for you.

    • Start with the basics

      There are incredible resources and communities around code, particularly for beginners. Build up your fundamentals before diving into something like iOS or web development right away.

    • Find a focus

      This focus was web development for myself. I found that building web apps was the lowest barrier to entry to get my work out there. For example, you can start by learning HTML and CSS, and then you can see how those skills lend very well to a framework like Ruby on Rails. Now you're on your way to building a full stack web app.... See more

    • Learn by doing

      There's no experience like experience. You can sit and watch educational videos all day long, but until you're on the front lines implementing what you've learned, that's when the concepts truly start clicking.

    • Combine your skills

      As a designer, you're probably used to having to hand off your designs to a developer to be implemented. This time around, take a shot at doing both yourself. You'll find bliss in having complete control.

    • Coding is a superpower

      You'll start to realize how powerful the ability to build things from scratch and impacting the lives of others is. There isn't anything quite like it. You can do some amazing things.

Get involved with the design community at your school

    • Discovering people that you're similar to and organizations that you're interested in are great ways to get involved with the design community at your school.

    • Find a club or an organization in need of design help

      Uncovering the branding and design needs of clubs and organizations on campus is key. Find someone in need, and lead the way for design. That's what I did with a campus organization and a collegiate hackathon, and it paid off major dividends. You'll find lots of exposure and learn a ton when designing the marketing posters, swag, website, you name it.... See more

    • Attend meetups and events centered around your interests

      A great way to get involved in the design community at your school is to discover those who are already a part of it. Attending meetups and events at or around school is the pathway to meeting new and like-minded people, and can lead to uncovering amazing opportunities.... See more

Find data when you have little-to-no users

    • Having little-to-no users is a fantastic opportunity to do some research. A small user base doesn't mean that the data isn't out there, it just means that you need to do some digging. Finding what you're looking for is oftentimes much easier than you might expect.

    • Look for inspiration

      Does something else exist that is similar to what you're working on? Look into what they do, try to understand why they make the decisions that they make. You can most likely derive some of their hidden data through their actions.

    • Find trends

      Trends are always present in new things that are coming out. Get a sense of the trends that you find continually, and see if there's a common pattern. It's common that trends popping up in a lot of different places are the result of lots of research.... See more

    • Reach out

      If you don't find what you're looking for, there are always people that are happy to help. Reach out to someone who's doing something similar to you, and see what you can find out from them.

Transition from an engineer to a designer

    • It can often seem that design and engineering are two separate worlds. When you think of a product as a whole, engineers are ultimately the ones who follow specifications and implement a design in code. As an engineer, this serves as your opportunity to pay special attention to design details, understand why design decisions are made, and learn during your implementation as you mesh these worlds together.

    • Pay attention to detail

      As you implement a design in code, it's your job to follow the specification as closely as you can. The details that you might think to be overkill can end up being truly meaningful for the product's experience. Take this time to admire the details and appreciate the designer's perspective. You'll gain an appreciation for the little things.... See more

    • Understand why design decisions are made

      Don't just implement an animation for the sake of animation. Ask the designer why the choice was made. There's sure to be a reason behind these kinds of decisions that add to the user experience or improve a flow.

    • Do your side projects

      This can be pivotal. While making the leap from engineering to design, it can be easy to write some code to get an idea of yours up and running. But, the design and experience may not be satisfactory. Use what you've learned from inspiration and implementing previous designs. Don't settle for anything less than what you'd be proud of sharing with the world.... See more

    • Just do it

      You know what looks good. Practice makes perfect. Envision redesigning a site, drawing a logo, or building a brand. You've got the engineering chops to know what you can and can't do in a design. Use that to your advantage as you flex your creative muscles.... See more