Unlike most students, when Nina Mehta wanted to gain publication design experience she didn't just sign up for a class. Instead, Mehta gained first-hand experience and with the help of fellow journalism students created Indiana University's first magazine, INSIDE.
Mehta's go-getter attitude led her to change career courses and go back to school to gain a master's degree in human-computer interaction (HCI) from the IU School of Informatics and Computing.
"I wanted to do something more than design page layouts and graphics. Something bigger," Mehta said. "After I did some soul-searching, I figured out what I wanted to do and realized that there's an entire HCI industry open, and a master's degree from IU could help me get there."
In May 2013, Mehta landed her current position as product designer at Pivotal Labs, a full service development consulting company. She works with design software and code to bring a client's product vision to market. As Pivotal Labs stands at the forefront of agile development Mehta must not only be able to develop and design software, but be knowledgeable of future trends in technology.
Although Mehta now spends her days need-finding with product managers and solving problems with developers, her journalism degree hasn't gone to waste.
""I use my journalism degree every hour. Journalism taught me how to ask why, check my sources and communicate my ideas," stated Mehta. "Having professional skills on how to ask questions and translate the answers into meaning is extremely powerful."
She hopes that students in varying degree programs interested in information technology mold their interest to benefit their field where there's a need for technological improvement.
"Start working on what you care about now," Mehta said. "Try on lots of hats and don't settle for less."
When interviewing candidates, Pivotal Labs rarely looks at the degree of the candidate, but the work they've done speaks volumes Mehta explained.
Nonetheless, Mehta sees her journalism degree as an adjunct to her HCI skills. "Technical education is often only attentive to functionality and linear thinking, but my journalism degree gave me the ability to look at problems from a birds-eye view and know how to ask why before we ever talk about what," Mehta said.
As technology has evidently altered the field of journalism, Mehta demonstrates that journalistic skills can beneficially transform how designers meet users' technology needs.