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Got my first job! Working at Amazon as a user experience researcher

Got my first job! Working at Amazon as a user experience researcher

Last December, Etinosa Oghogho graduated with a doctoral degree in public health from the Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work. Today, she’s a user experience researcher at Amazon.

August 13, 2021 at 12:00am

Name: Etinosa Oghogho

Hometown:  Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria

Degree/major: Ph.D. in Public Health, focusing on Health Promotion & Disease Prevention

Graduation date: Fall 2020

Where are you working? Title?
I am working at Amazon as a user experience (UX) researcher. UX focuses on improving customer experience. We ask questions like: How do we make sure our users get the right products? How do we design products that fit their needs?

This is your first job after receiving your doctoral degree. How did you get it?
I was searching for job opportunities on LinkedIn and came across this role. The job description matched my skills, and I applied through the company’s job portal. What followed were weeks of intensive interviews, a research assignment, and a presentation to determine if I met the needs of what they were looking for.

What was your greatest fear going into this job, and how did you face it or overcome it?
It’s been the switch from academia to the tech industry. Things are done differently in this industry. Although I’m still doing research, there are aspects I need to bring myself up to speed on. The lingo, for example, is different.

What I do is take it one day at a time. I’m still relatively new here – I started this past June – so I’m connecting with people and learning about their expectations of the role, what it’s like to work at the company, and just getting a better understanding of how things work.

What surprised you the most about your job?
The pace. It’s a very fast pace. In academia, we take our time to think and strategize. You have to work fast here.

What advice do you have for those beginning the job search process?
I would say take it one day at a time. Put in your best. Make sure your resume aligns with the job description. Prepare to the point that if you don’t get the opportunity, at least you know you did your best. Be patient. Be hopeful. Disappointment will come – it’s part of the process. But know that when the right opportunity comes, you’ll be grateful for it.

What does a day on the job look like?
Currently, I work remotely. I participate in meetings with my team members to update each other on what we are working on. I work on research, too, so I work on my study design, draft interview guides, recruit participants, conduct thematic analysis, etc.

How does your job connect back to your coursework?
My Ph.D. prepared me for this role. What I am doing right now is conducting end-to-end research; study design, recruiting, moderation, analysis, reporting etc. These are all things I did while in the Ph.D. program at Stempel College. My coursework on research methodologies and intervention studies were all very helpful in preparing me for my current role.

How was your transition from school to work? How do you balance your time?
Huge change because with a Ph.D. – it’s just different. You have your own goals and your own pace. At my job, I still use the same strategies I followed while working on my Ph.D. I break things down and prioritize. I plan ahead. For example, I’ll take a short mental review of what I did that day and what I need to do the next day.

What’s been the coolest thing about your job so far?
The flexibility. Right now, I work remotely because of the pandemic; so I enjoy the flexibility of working from home.

Did you have any mentors that helped you get to where you are today?
Dr. Jessy Dévieux, professor at Stempel College. She is amazing and a superstar mentor. She believed in me as a student and helped me navigate through my doctoral journey. Shoutout also to the Department of Health Promotion & Disease Prevention! All my professors were very nice and supportive. I am also grateful for my colleagues and the work we did together. I also have friends at the Epidemiology department who were very helpful.

Also, I wouldn’t be here without my family. My siblings are super supportive and cheer me on. My dad calls me “doctor” and has always believed in me, and celebrates my work. And my mom... she is my inspiration. I saw how she was able to go back to school even after having four children. She was working full time and needed to progress in her job and made a move to go back to school. This really inspired me.

In all, I am grateful to God for helping me thus far.