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Meet Niko: From the Classroom to UX

At Code for Sf, our members come from all different technical backgrounds. Some have known from the beginning they wanted to pursue a career in technology, while others found their passion a little later. Niko falls into that latter group. Before he became the UX wizard he is today, Niko worked in education, specifically, non-traditional education such as outdoor science programs or teaching English in Japan.

When he returned from Japan, Niko was ready to start a new career and was drawn to the User Experience field. He went back to school at night and got a certificate in UX Design through the UC Berkeley extension program. It was here where he first learned of Code for San Francisco. With certificate in hand and new free time in the evenings, Niko joined his first ever civic-tech project.

Working with the brigade helped Niko put his newly learned skills to use. Niko still remembers his early days in the brigade. “It was intimidating at first to step into a room where you don’t know where to go or who to ask for help. Everyone was so friendly though, I quickly found my way,” Niko recalls. As a veteran member now, “I try to pay that forward. Whatever you can or want to do, there is a place for you.”

By working with the brigade, Niko was able to apply his new certificate and sharpen his skills. He soon became one of the most sought after UX designers on the brigade, working on projects like Intentional Walk and Twablr and most recently leading the design on the Pandemic Dashboard (PanDa). It even led him to his new role as a UX designer for the start up, Likemindedly. Fellow brigade member, Isaac Martin, started Likemindedly and was looking for top talent to help get the project moving, and Niko was a perfect fit.

“Code for SF has been a great way to meet people and make great connections. Especially during COVID, this is one of the few venues that has kept its spirit alive. There are still new people coming in! It’s fun when I meet someone and 2 months go by and suddenly they are contributing a lot to the project and growing as an engineer/UX designer”

About the author: Julie Wiederhold is a software engineer by day and storyteller/collaborator with Code for San Francisco by night.

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