Successful Berklee Alumni #34: Kyle Billings

Kyle Billings

Kyle Billings

 

Listen to the interview (approx. 50 min.) or download it.

 

Graduated in 2014 with a major in Music Business.  Principal Instrument:  guitar.

Position:  Product designer.  Currently working independently in the San Francisco area as a freelance contractor for multiple companies including POWr, financial, and biotech.

Overview:  Early in his last year as a Berklee student, Kyle started to go to meetings hosted by intelligent.ly Boston, a community for people involved in high-tech startups.  Between getting to know the people and some experience designing websites for other Berklee students, Kyle got a part-time  job building out a website for a company in Rhode Island “Fortunately my job was remote. I’d go there every Wednesday and get my weekly assignment.  I’d spend much of the week frantically looking at Code Academy and Stack Overflow to teach myself how to do what I was supposed to do.”
Upon graduation, Kyle moved to San Francisco for a promised job  which fell through.  However, Kyle immediately reached out a person from that Rhode Island company who was very well-connected.  He emailed his entire network, putting in the good word for Kyle.  Kyle immediately got 8 interviews in S.F. alone, one of which led to a job as as web designer with Gone.   Shortly after starting there, Kyle went beyond the parameters of his official job to suggest and help implement a major overhaul of their user interface, which led to their revenue more-than-doubling!  This got Kyle a promotion to Director of Product Design.  However, much of Gone was based on Argentina, and Kyle wanted to work with people more personally, so after around a year and a half he left to do contract work with local companies.

 

You can see Kyle’s LinkedIn profile here.

Choice quotes:  “Everyone at a company thinks in their own siloed ways:  marketers, founders, developers. etc.  My role is to take all the work & constraints that everyone has and mash them all together into a one package  that looks good, is branded, feels good to use, makes money, and meets business move forward.    I work with everyone’s motivations to put something together than everyone can be proud of.”

“I love how varied my job it.  I can do something that’s both technical but also human, personable, empathetic.  It’s valuable for me to learn as much as I can.  I do things that I enjoy and it’s also valuable for my position–I do a better job when I talk to people.  I do well at a job that’s so ME!”

“All these things I learned at Berklee in the context in music stayed with me and I can surprise people with my ability to be empathetic and big picture but also detail-oriented–which is exactly what music requires!”

“When I first started working in this field, I had ‘impostor syndrome’ initially and doubted myself, thinking I was getting away with faking it and didn’t know what I was doing.  It took a while to realize I was doing my job well.  One thing I wish Berklee would do is to get us to trust ourselves and know that we’ll do just fine in industries beyond music.”

 

See the full index of Successful Berklee Grads.

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