Bucharest 🇷🇴

Daniel Birsan

Memorisely Student

Hi, I’m Daniel! Passionate about combining design, accessibility and business. If I'm not working, I'm on my bike around the park or experimenting new recipes in the kitchen!
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Where are you from and/or where are you based as a Memorisely student?

I was born and raised in Austria to Romanian parents, then moved back and forth between my small hometown in Austria and Bucharest, Romania for a few times. My last stop before finally settling down in Bucharest was in Boston, USA for my graduate degree and working for a startup.

Left: Bucharest; Top-Right: Teufenbach, Austria; Bottom-Right: Boston, MA

What inspired you to pursue UX/UI and become a designer?

It was a gradual descent into the depths of UX/UI. Jokes aside, when I started as a Product Manager, as we didn’t have too many people I had to take on a lot of jobs from the very start - including creating low fidelity mockups for the product. I did some research on how to do that, but was pushed for time to complete it and did it by intuition.

During my downtimes I would keep on reading and learning how to move my mockups into high fidelity and quickly found a plethora of tools that would give me easy ways to prototype so I can ensure that the development team needs to be the least amount creative with their ways (which they asked me to!).

Fairly soon I realized that the prototyping aspect of my job was the most joyful part and I would take my colleague’s work on prototyping as I was so keen on improving myself, design by design.

In the meantime I’ve discovered Figma and the Instagram community around UX/UI, and found Zander’s account to be super insightful and fun to try features in Figma I wasn’t using before (I hear “whack shift-a” in the back of my mind), and decided that I want to combine my business education and product background with the passion for design I’ve discovered and got myself a little early birthday present - signing up for Memorisely!

Which Bootcamp did you choose to enroll in, and why?

I signed up to the UX/UI bootcamp with Zander starting August 29th since I thought it would be the best way to deep dive into the industry and I just loved the structure built around it.

My birthday is on August 30th (I’m turning 30 folks!) and I couldn’t be more excited to get started!

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What will a typical day look like for you as a student?

During the week, I like to wake up early in the cooler hours (Bucharest gets over 40°C/105F during the summer, so it can be really hot during the day) to go for a bike ride to start the day. When I get home, I prep next day’s cold brew, turn up some Music, shower and get ready for the day.

During the day, I usually take the time to cook a meal for my fiancé and I - it’s so much better than takeout or delivered food and so worth it! While studying, working or reading, I’ll play some low key drum and bass of lofi hip hop to keep me focused. My energy keeps to lull in the after-lunch time so I’ll use the cold brew i made the day before and prepare a nice cold brew tonic (with reusable metal straws - save the turtles!) and plenty of ice to push me through that lull. In the evenings I usually wind down by watching a show and reading a book.

I’ll sometimes stop by a coffee shop next to home on my way home from the bike ride to enjoy a cold brew tonic!

What is your current workspace setup?

My fiancé and I have been working from home since the early pandemic. Moving 2 apartments into one can be challenging, y’all! After it was done, this is my current setup! Does it show I’m an Apple fanboy? I love this space with a passion, as it gives me my own little corner of solitude to get deep work and focus on the task at hand.

On the iPad i was reading “Creative Confidence” by Tom & David Kelley (Thanks for the recommendation, Memorisely!)

Also on the left you can see my essential oil vaporizer (to make things smell nice) and my Cold Brew Tonic (half consumed) as I was writing this blog post!

What tunes do you listen to while designing?

It’s either lofi hip hop (great 24/7 channel on youtube linked below) or a drum and bass playlist (also linked below on Apple Music).

I prefer to listen to Drum 'n' Bass in the earlier part of the day to keep me alert and focused while I enjoy listening to lofi hip hop in the afternoon and evening hours as they have a more chill vibe and are very relaxing!

Share three pieces of advice for fellow and/or future students?

  1. Be curious and don’t be afraid to ask questions when you don’t know! People have an easier time communicating with someone who will be straight about things they do not understand or need additional information on. This is part of the feedback I’ve received early on in my career that baffled me - people prefer not asking questions for the fear of not appearing knowledgeable - but how are you going to get that knowledge if not by asking questions?
  2. Be genuine - I have worked in sales and have been on the receiving end of some sales pitches as well as on the presenting end. Genuine, human interaction always trump anything written in any books (How to win friends and influence people, i’m looking at you) - as people have a natural “BS Radar”. If you’re genuinely yourself, no one will ever second guess your motives in interaction.
  3. Have fun! I haven’t been in any work environment where I wasn’t having fun as part of the job - even when it can get super stressful. A short moment of laughter or 2 minute delay from the topic never hurt anybody if it brings energy into the mix. A good mix of focus and fun is in my opinion the best way to collaborate with anybody.

Thanks for reading my story!

Bucharest 🇷🇴

Daniel Birsan

Memorisely Student

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