Becoming a Digital Product Designer (UX/UI).

Redona Dida
8 min readApr 19, 2021

Hi, my name is Redona and I am a Digital Product Designer focused on strategy and growth. I was born in Albania (Tirana) in 1989, I lived in Germany as a child and then I moved to Italy where I spent most of my childhood.

How did I become a digital product designer?

The 90s — Me and Sailor Moon

Let’s go back with the story. At the age of 6, I was a fan of Sailor Moon, I don’t know if you know it but it was the most-watched anime in the 90s. Every day after school I used to draw all the characters of the anime.

At school, I was always interested in creative activities such as textile and cooking courses, singing, and theater. But at the same time, I was also very good at science subjects such as mathematics and physics. In Italy, we have different school addresses for high school and my parents wanted me to study languages.

Believe me, it was a struggle because at that time choosing an Arts High School meant not having a guaranteed job for the future.

I was also told: “Are you going to be a street artist “?

2004 — Arts high school

However, after a very long battle, I enrolled in the Arts High School by choosing the Architecture course. Even if architecture didn’t drive me crazy. I learned to draw and conduct research for my projects, I studied the history of Art and many other things. Great experience but I still didn’t have a clear vision of what I was going to do next.

Unfortunately, I was not born into a wealthy family. So I thought my career as a designer would end there. One day, I met my current husband who convinced me to continue my studies and find a solution to my problem. I got a seasonal job in a hotel where I was a waitress. I worked 12h a day. That sacrifice allowed me to pay my first college tuition.

2009 — Beginning of my Design journey

I was delighted, everything was new.

The university I had chosen to do was the Academy of Fine Arts with a specialization in Graphic Design. All the teachers were professionals who worked in the field of Visual Communication.

Unfortunately, at that time there were still no courses for web design. As a result, it was all very much focused on print and the product design.

I have always had the desire to help people especially those who lived in situations of poverty. At that time I decided to create a project to raise awareness about donating food to poverty-stricken children. After conducting some research, I created a guerrilla marketing campaign called HUNGER.

The image would have been inserted on the basis of a shopping basket, so when people put food inside the basket, they will decide whether to put something on the donation plate for 146 million children as well.

I had figured out what I wanted to do. Helping people through design.

The problem was that working for non-profit organizations would not have helped my financial situation. So it was just a dream.

2012 — Looking for the perfect job

Well after three years of university, I started looking for a job, and believe me it was really difficult. Luckily I found an internship in a web agency and there I started my first experience as a web designer.

I didn’t know anything about web design.

I worked for free for the first 3 months, I learned how to design for the web and mobile, I learned what bootstrap and responsive meant, I learned to understand the tech lingo.

I was only using one tool which was photoshop. At that time I worked closely with various developers and the content strategist. My job was to create beautiful layouts. (Which is now called UI Design).

I wasn’t happy because my job was to just make nice layouts, and nobody was listening to my feedback because I was only a junior designer. After 2 and a half years I decided to leave my job and also Italy because I wanted to have an experience abroad.

2015 — Persistence is key

I moved to Dubai, and for the first 4 months I worked for a web agency, it was really a toxic environment where there was no way to grow, I was working until 2 am for no reason.

I was stressed and tired so I decided to look for another job. At that time all job descriptions were looking for people with 5+ years of experience.

I was depressed because I was only having 2 and a half years of experience. I found this job offer in a startup still looking for people with 5+ or more years of experience… so frustrating but at some point, I told myself you know what I will apply for it because I have nothing to lose. Incredibly, after the application, they called me for an interview.

After the interview, the owner of the company told me “Redona, we liked you so much but we want to inform you that we are evaluating other 30 designers who have a little more experience than you.

And I thought ok, it’s over.

Coming back home I said to myself again “Redona do you want the job? So do your best to get it.

The same day I send an email to the CEO showing him some concepts of how I would help them. Nothing. No reply. So I started to doubt myself, that I actually was not worth it.

A week later…

I received an email from the company telling me that they had hired me! I could not believe it. I worked with them for 3 years, I grew a lot and took on a lot of responsibilities I took care of everything from brand identity to the website and app.

After the three-year contract, I decided to go back home (Italy) but before that, I was really curious to know why they hired me? My ex-boss replied that I was the only one out of 30 candidates to send him a proposal on how I would help them even though I had fewer years of experience… I showed him that I was proactive and that I really wanted the job. So he gave me the opportunity.

That was the time where I understood what it means to believe in yourself, and that if you want something in your life you have to be proactive and work hard.

2018 — Back to Italy…still looking for the perfect job

After 6 years of experience, I thought it was the right time to open my own agency. But it was a failure because I had no experience and didn’t know how to look for clients.

So I went back again to look for a job.

I found a position as a Senior Designer (UI/UX) and intern supervisor in a Digital agency. I mainly created content for various customers and social media, I also designed apps and websites and it was there that a friend of mine introduced me to the UX world recommending me to read Don Norman’s book “The Design of Everyday Things”.

I connected the dots and I thought, I’ve always wanted to help people! That was the moment where I finally understood what I wanted to do.

Since that day I have always been interested in how to create experiences in the field of digital product design but also in communications design.

2020 — The American Dream or Instagram Dream?

In 2020 I moved to the United States due to my husband’s job. I was hoping to start working here maybe in some tech company but unfortunately due to Covid-19, my documents are still pending.

Last year I was very disappointed and frustrated by this whole situation, so I decided to open an Instagram page just for fun, initially, I didn’t know how to post or what to communicate.

Then I realized that many people were posting educational content I thought, maybe if I post about my experience it could help people who have not had the possibility to study.

Since that day the community has grown to 45k. I have received many job offers, I am called to speak at different events, I have created an online presence, where I show my work and in the meantime, I help people.

My dream started to become true. Do you remember? Be proactive and do what you can to achieve your goals.

2021 — Working as a Growth Designer

I see my Instagram page as my product where I communicate with other Designers and non-Designers and showcase my expertise.

Because of this, a lot of people started noticing me, my friends as well. This is how I started to help my friend’s start-up in Dubai.

Basically, my job is to create product strategies to make the company perform, obviously always taking into consideration the user experience. In addition, we work with companies who are interested in growing their clients, where A/B tests, performance analysis, are carried out.

Wow… I hope you weren’t bored.

I wanted to share with you my career story so you can understand that it takes years to become a Digital Product Designer. I still feel that I have a lot to learn. Sometimes people ask me how they can become experienced like me. My answer is practice and never stop being curious.

I’m not against boot camps or courses (I did a UX professional course as well), they will definitely help you to understand the basics. But don’t be fooled by the 6-month transformation.

Be patient and give time to yourself to learn.

Thank you so much for reading my story I hope it was inspiring.



Redona Dida

I am a Digital Designer focused on strategy and growth.