One of the unique features of the CareerFoundry experience is our mentor community - we work with a wide variety of mentors in iOS development, web development, UX design and UI design, from all over the globe.

In order to increase the visibility of our wonderful mentors and give you the chance to get to know them even better, we have created Mentor Spotlights. In today’s spotlight, we introduce Tobias Treppman, a senior UX designer whose encouragement and confidence-boosting tips continue to help new UXers launch their careers. 

Read on to learn about his life-long love of design and tech, and how he believes in the value of UX design in community and social initiatives.

A natural born UXer

Though he is originally from Hagen, Germany, Tobias spent several years in the United States, where he also met his current wife. The two of them currently live with their three children here in Berlin. Tobias viewed UX as the perfect blend of technology and design, both of which he has always been passionate about.

“UX is not trying to convince people to buy an arbitrary solution, but tries to understand what people want and need in order to offer a relevant solution.”

He’s a UXer through and through; he started his first job in tech as a web designer at 15, and has been involved in the scene in one way or another ever since.

“I’ve always been fascinated by design and making software and websites. The UX process, based on human-centered design and design thinking methodologies offered a humble, yet effective approach that inspired me.”

Mentoring and online education

Besides mentoring for CareerFoundry, Tobias is a Senior UX Designer at Datameer, a company that seeks to make big data analytics easy for everyone.

“From ending world hunger, to solving complex business problems, to curing cancer, we believe that the world’s most challenging issues can be solved with data. That is why we are so deeply committed to lowering the barrier to entry and putting the power of big data analytics directly into the hands of those who know their data best.”

In terms of online education, Tobias has taken several classes himself, and finds it to be a great way to ‘keep leveling up.’ He acknowledges that learning online takes a good amount of initiative and dedication from the student,  but it’s definitely a great way to learn from world-class educators without having to travel or commute to a classroom.

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For Tobias, one quote really inspired him to try to become a good Mentor for new beginners: Be the person that you wish you had when you first started out.

“I’ve benefited so much from the generosity of other designers during my career and I would love to pay it forward.”

Like many of our Mentors, Tobias enjoys seeing the change and growth in his students as they move through the course. Additionally, he is consistently aware of the ‘two-way street’ of education - you also learn a lot from your students’ perspectives and ideas.

The biggest challenge for students, according to Tobias, is insecurity: “it can be daunting to enter a new field, especially if you’re a career changer.” To overcome this, he tries to help students to identify and adapt their skills from past jobs, experiences, and education and apply them to their new field. Having experience from a different background can even increase your value as a junior in the tech world. His main advice for anyone facing insecurity or hesitation is simply: “Just go for it. Stay curious, keep learning, and don’t worry about being perfect.”

Personal projects and the future of UX

Tobias’s personal projects are driven towards making a social impact. These include working with volunteer organisations and community churches. His goal is to apply lean startup and design thinking methodologies to non-profit groups to help them become more effective and sustainable, thus increasing the social impact.

Indeed, Tobias’s biggest achievement so far within UX has been to help designers, and people from all professions, understand what it means to be customer-centric and how to truly make that actionable. When asked what he is most excited about in the tech industry right now, his answer reflects his community involvement and push for UX across all industries:

“I’m excited about the fact that UX is maturing, that more and more companies are seeing it as a strategic asset and applying it with ever greater scope. I believe that UX does not just help make great web pages, but that it is also a great approach to business strategy.”

Are you curious about human behavior? Are you interested in emerging technologies? Sign up for our free, 7-day UX Design Short Course and learn a new UX design skill each day.