Staff Spotlight: Usha Rajbhandari
We sat down with Pax developer, Usha Rajbhandari, to discuss her background, some of her favorite Pax projects, and advice for aspiring designers. Read on to learn more about Usha and the work she does here at Pax.
1. Could you tell us about your background and how you broke into the design world?
After I graduated high school, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do so I went to school and I studied design. I worked for another company based in Evanston. I had met somebody who shared an office space with Stephan [Pax’s principal designer]. He’s like “Oh, Stephan, you have [to] hire this person [Usha].” That’s how I started in design and how I began working with Stephan. Part of all of that was also my transition from designing to doing development. When I first started working at Pax, I did a little bit of design, but now it’s only development.
2. What do you do as a developer at Pax?
The bulk of my work is going to be coding, but developers often do a lot more. So, I’m usually fairly involved in the requirement elicitation process. Stephan usually handles tasks like client interviews, and we take all of this information to get an idea of what the specs are going to be. I help with that. I help with setting up mundane workflows like dev-ops [and] systems administration. Basically, I do a lot of technical things and sometimes not very technical things too. I might work on a wireframe or help with documentation that has to do with the definition of the project in addition to doing the technical implementation of the project.
3. What is your favorite part of being a developer?
I like solving problems and I like working on elements of a project where you can see the impact of what you’ve done immediately. It’s gratifying to work on a project and feel like you’re contributing, making it real. And parameters change, so it’s cool to work on something where you feel like it’s always new and interesting, and you’re always learning another trick. You’re kind of on the cutting edge of web dev all [of] the time.
4. Have you had a favorite project you’ve worked on or one you’re working on currently that you’re excited about?
Am I supposed to answer “all of the projects”? No, I’m kidding. Some projects are definitely better than others. I would say I generally like projects where I get to stretch a skill or learn something. We’re working on the redesign of the Morgante Wilson website right now and that’s a bit of a departure for us because we’re working a lot more on separating the front end and implementing an API connected to the Craft CMS back end. That would be one example. In other cases, I’ve worked on other parts of the process. A few years ago we started a project with the Baha’i National Center, I think, called the GSLA. A lot of the work that I did for that project had to do with competitors’ analysis, wireframing, and discovery or specs. So it was interesting to create those functional requirements because that was something I hadn’t done before.
5. Do you have any advice for someone who is trying to break into the design world?
That’s a good question. I think the best advice that I have is just to do work and show it to people. Do a lot of work, show it to people, get feedback, and try to improve. I think [that], a lot of times, in the creative process it’s hard to know when to stop working on something. People can be perfectionists and at a certain point, you get diminishing returns. Don’t wait; just show the work. This is something I think applies if you’re going to work on a painting or write a song or create anything. It’s best to just keep doing [more things] rather than really invest yourself into one thing and work on it forever and ever … and never show it to anybody! Just keep iterating and keep showing people what you’re doing so that you can get feedback and improve on that [because you will–Ed].
Writer / Content Development & Marketing Intern
Miriam is an undergraduate at Northwestern University pursuing a degree in Communication Studies with a focus in Integrated Marketing Communications and Design Innovation. She is passionate about learning about people and finding new ways to problem-solve.
Have a project in mind?
Let’s chat about what we can do for you. We look forward to reading your emails, receiving your calls, and meeting you in person over a steaming cup of espresso.