Canada 🇨🇦
unmute
#82

Ali Angco

UX Teacher at Memorisely

Hi, I’m Ali! I traded my Neurobiology degree for Figma, and never looked back. Today, I’m a Product Designer at Neo Financial by day and a UX/UI teacher at Memorisely 🧠
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Where are you from? Where are you based?

I’m currently in Toronto, Canada where I’m surrounded by a bustlin’ city, diverse food options (yum) and the Toronto Raptors.

What led you to Memorisely, and how did you land a spot on the team?

I was itching for something new in 2022. I had been mentoring so many aspiring UX designers and I saw how badly they all wanted to learn UX. I realized that all my mentoring and pep talks could only do so much. I wish I had the time to teach them UX.

Then one day, I saw that Memorisely was hiring online teachers. I had been following Zander for while on Instagram. I gave it a shot and here I am!

What does a typical day look like for you?

I’m out of bed around 5:15 AM. That’s because I start the day with a gym session. I had always been a morning person and working out in the morning has tremendously helped with my mood and energy levels. When those endorphins are running through my body after lifting heavy weights – I feel unstoppable. Lately I’ve been working on my barbell overhead presses and sumo deadlifts.

Once that’s all done, I do some morning reflection. I reflect on the Bible readings for the day and journal about what I’m grateful for and my hopes for the day.

I actually work at a different timezone. My team is located in Calgary but I live in Toronto so there’s a 2 hour time difference for me. I use this early time to go for a walk around my neighbourhood and listen to an audiobook.

By the time I get back from my walk, it’s time to log in and start. A big chunk of my day is spent at work. I stay connected with my coworkers through Slack, Google Meet, and the occasional Figma cursor wave. After work, I usually cook dinner with my Mum and catch up with my Dad and brother.

The most exciting part of your day-to-day at Memorisely?

I love being part of the behind-the-scenes at Memorisely. The team is such a powerhouse and getting updates on our successes and upcoming milestones gets me excited.

How previous experience impacted you and prepared you for this role? Personally? Professionally?

An important chapter in my career was attending a UX Bootcamp.  I’m a Bootcamp Baby and I always want to give back to the community somehow. I owe a lot of my UX growth to my bootcamp because it gave me the confidence I needed during my career transition.

When I finished my bootcamp, my instructor asked me to stay as a Teaching Assistant while I searched for my first UX job. I actually really enjoyed helping students and providing feedback to improve their projects. Unfortunately, I stopped teaching when I found a job.

But I always had an itch to teach. I would hold small workshops for communities interested in learning Figma. I’m excited to teach more often now that I’m at Memorisely!

Care to share your work space setup?

My workspace is still in-progress. I’ll be moving soon so bare with the chaos. I got my monitor, keyboard, mouse, Macbook Pro, Sony headphones, and my iPad. My iPad has my digital planner!

And your go-to or "must have" apps?

I have to have Spotify, Notion, and my digital journal

Learn UX/UI live →

Share your "can't live without" productivity tip or hack?

Go for a walk!

I started going for lots of walks because of my personal trainer. He wants me to get 14k steps a day. I thought he was nuts. But then I started incorporating at least one 45 min walk a day and it helped me mentally, not just physically.

Famous figures like Henry David Thoreau and Abraham Lincoln were known to take long walks as a way to detach from work. It was said that during their walks, they would discover their most brilliant ideas.

Those guys are right. I started implementing walks as a way to get away from my desk. Usually I’m listening to an audiobook/podcast. But there have been instances where I wanna work out some of my thoughts. So I go on a walk in silence, feel restored, then I get an occasional eureka moment for a design problem.


What (digital or physical) product recently blew your socks off?

I recently got laser surgery and my goodness it was the best thing I had ever done. I can’t believe I can see everything now!


Name one thing you recently learned that surprised you.

Being outdoors helps with the health of your eyesight! Light is made up of many colors and the violet rays help with stabilizing your eyes. But make sure you wear some sunglasses to protect your self from the harmful UVA/UVB rays.


What's it like working in a small, remote start-up environment?

When people ask me this, I always start by asking “Would you rather have a small piece of a big pie or a big piece of a small pie?”

Personally, I want a big piece of a small pie and working at a startup is an opportunity where I get to see the whole business and influence a change across the board. Startups are fast and exciting and I love getting to see the impact of my work right away rather than waiting years for it to come into fruition.


What's your best advice for overcoming challenges, like impostor syndrome, in the workplace?

I’m actually facing this right now since I’m starting at a new company. I’ve been getting some morning scaries when I think about what feedback or correction I might get. To get over this, I remind myself that no one knows everything.

We’re all just here to learn and improve ourselves. So when there are moments when I worry about not being good enough to be a designer, I remind myself that I am here to learn and it’s a chance to be a better designer.


What's your favorite thing to do outside of the virtual office?

I love trying new restaurants, especially when I can do it with my team. I’ve been lucky to find coworkers who are total foodies. Our team lunches or after work hangouts are times when I discover something new.

But when I’m on my own, I really treasure times when I get to try new recipes or read some books. I also like to draw portraits when I feel like being creative. Here’s a piece of my godson!

What tunes do you listen to while working?

I listen to a lot of R&B, K-pop, Afropop, and Kanye. I think Kanye has been my top Spotify artist for at least 3 years now? It’s always a toss up between him and Beyonce. Here’s a playlist I typically play when I wanna get excited for work:

Three pieces of advice for breaking into the UX/UI Design field?

  1. Start slow and listen to UX podcasts to see if you are truly interested
  2. I tell lots of students to listen to podcasts like Design Details, By Design, or New Layer to test out if they are interested in design discussions. If you can stand listening to strangers geek out about design for at least 40 mins, then that could be a sign that UX is for you!
  3. Download Figma and try copying the UI of your favorite app.
  4. The goal isn’t to get it pixel perfect or to build your layers perfectly. Just see if you enjoy creating UI. This is a good test to see if you’ll enjoy the UI parts of the design process.
  5. Follow your interests and have fun with it!
  6. When I graduated from my bootcamp, I thought I had to be a certain way to be in UX. I thought that I had to be the best prototyper and wireframer while being a the most empathetic UX researcher. It turns out those weren’t mandatory and nor were they my favorite parts of the process. Personally, I enjoy user flows, wireframing, and high fidelity mockups. I’ve learned to let go of other my subpar skills and leverage the skills of my teammates.

Thanks for reading my story!

Canada 🇨🇦

Ali Angco

UX Teacher at Memorisely

Fancy a coffee?

I'd love to grab a coffee and chat about
Memorisely
Transitioning from science to UX
Working at startups
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