Cheryl Platz

Cheryl Platz

Senior Designer


Microsoft

Milestones

My road in life took a while to figure out.
I decided I was drawn to technology.
Then I saw Randy Pausch give a talk about interaction design and I realized it was a calling.
Then I found a way to get into the HCI double major at CMU.
Then I got a job offer in HCI but had it rescinded due to the recession after 9/11.
Then I pursued a career in entertainment technology for 4 years as a game producer and designer.
Then I returned to HCI/interaction design in 2007 once I needed an intellectual change.
Keep following my journey

Education

High School
Bachelor
Computer Science
Carnegie Mellon University
Bachelor
Human Computer Interaction
Carnegie Mellon University

Career

Senior Designer

I reduce complex problems into simple solutions that make people more efficient at work.

Career Roadmap

Roadmap
My work combines:
My work combines:
Technology
Design
Accomplishing Goals

Day to Day

When things are going well, my day is a balance: - Meeting with partner teams and deconstructing their needs into problems my team can solve - Providing guidance and inspiration to other teams who need our design patterns to solve a problem - Working hands-on with designs, experimenting with alternate information architectures and visual treatments - Participating in or reviewing the results of research with our customers.

Skills & Qualities Beyond School

To be a successful senior-level designer, you must be capable of dealing with uncertainty. Many of the big problems that need solving are not well-defined, and rarely do people approach you with a clear plan for how to solve them. In particular, background in improvisational theater has given me an edge in dealing with uncertainty, with yes-anding problems, in empathizing with difficult colleagues, and with changing my perspective to find new solutions to particularly difficult challenges.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for middle school students

Exercise your brain by looking around you for technology that doesn't work well or frustrates you. How might you change it to improve your own experience or the experience of others? Try starting with your microwave or an email account. What would you make better?

Recommended Education

My career is related to what I studied. I'd recommend the path I took:

undergrad
Bachelor
Computer Science
undergrad
Bachelor
Human Computer Interaction

Hurdles

The Noise I Shed

From Society in General:

"You can't switch careers, people won't appreciate your diverse experience."

Challenges I Overcame

Physical Issues