Andrea Dávila graduated from the School of Information with a Master’s in Information Management and Systems in 2020. Prior to the I School, she completed a Bachelor of Science with Honors in Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Michigan and worked as a program representative at the UCLA Undergraduate Research Center for the Sciences, where she mentored underrepresented and first-generation students pursuing careers in STEM. She currently works as a UX writer at Wish, where she designs conversational, inclusive, and helpful user experiences.
Why did you choose the I School?
I was really impressed by the career services team at the I School, and that solidified my decision to come. I knew going into MIMS that I had so much to learn about getting a job in the tech industry, and that I was going to need a lot of help and advice to get there because all of this stuff was completely new to me. When I met the career services team I knew I was in good hands. Rebecca and Eva are so knowledgeable and approachable, and they not only help answer any questions you may have about searching for jobs, but they also proactively provide workshops and events that will give you tons of practical tips for crafting a resume, building your portfolio, getting your LinkedIn profile ready, applying, interviewing, negotiating, etc. Those things make a huge difference and will set you apart from other candidates.
What was the advantage of being at the I School?
So many things! The I School is of course in Berkeley, and it’s hard to beat that proximity to the heart of the tech industry. Going to school in the Bay Area meant that I could take classes during the day, and then go visit a company I was interested in or attend a professional meetup in San Francisco in the evening. We also got to have some incredible guest lectures from prominent people in the tech industry because they’re already right there in the Bay Area. These things were tremendously helpful for networking and learning about job opportunities. Another big advantage is the MIMS class size. It’s big enough that you get to learn from lots of talented minds and diverse perspectives in one place, but small enough that you still get that community feel and really get to know your cohort.
Do you have any advice to offer current MIMS?
Don’t be afraid to get off the beaten path if something is calling you, and remember that there are many, many different ways to build the career of your dreams (and if you don’t know what that is yet, that’s totally fine too). When I started MIMS I was focused on product design, but I eventually chose to pursue a UX writing career. I was the only person in my cohort to do that, and that felt a little scary at the time. I got an offer for a UX writing role after graduation, which was great, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I’ll be a UX writer forever, end of story. I’ve been in my current role for about 7 months, and I’ve gotten to work on a lot of impactful UX writing projects, and I’ve also gotten to do some product design work for my company.
With a MIMS education, you’ll gain a cross-functional skillset, and the people you work with will likely notice that about you and will want to use your skills and knowledge. So, my advice is to approach your career with a curious mindset. Think about what skills you enjoy using and developing, and move towards those things.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I am really grateful for the friendships I gained at the I School. The people I met there are some of my best friends today, and I still talk to several of them every day. We cheer each other on and lift each other up, and that's been super special to have.
Taking the plunge and deciding to go to grad school and pivot my career hasn’t always been an easy journey (because let’s face it, growth and change are uncomfortable). There were a lot of moments where I wondered if I was doing the right thing or doubting whether I would be successful in the end, but I think the thing that got me through was that I never felt alone. There was always someone at the I School to talk to about what I was feeling, and 9 times out of 10 their response was “yeah, me too.” I'm so, so glad I decided to come to the I School — best decision ever. The experience has not only completely transformed my career, but has left me with long-lasting friendships with some amazing people.