Designer Spotlight — Navigating UX with Guidewire

By Zeaj Zamoranos & Julia Nuguid

UW/UX Waterloo
8 min readFeb 26, 2024


The field of User Experience (UX) is welcoming to people from many different backgrounds, disciplines and interests. Whether you’re new to the field, a seasoned designer, or just trying to learn more about UX, the overwhelming amount of information can often feel daunting.

To help you navigate this dynamic environment, we wanted to share the journey of a UX Communications Analyst at Guidewire Software: Nika Moguilevskaia

UX Designer and Developer Nika Mgl
UX Designer and Developer Nika Moguilevskaia from Guidewire Software

✨ Finding the spark

What inspired you to go into UX?

I’m not exactly sure what sparked it, but I come from an arts background and went to a visual arts high school! When I entered my post-secondary education, I pursued a program in computer science at the University of Toronto. I did a lot of projects on the side since, at the time, I wanted to get into software development; and it was from my experiences that I learned I enjoyed web development!

As I honed my skills in coding and development, I realized that creating successful products went beyond just writing lines of code. I became interested in understanding the user experience (UX) and how it shapes the success of a product; and wanted to take a product from start to end and knew I needed to have a good understanding of UX to do this. I got a bit tired of coding, and my curiosity led me to transition from coding to focusing more on UX design. By my third year of university, I solidified more into the UX side of things.

What does UX mean to you?

Initially, I approached UX with the misconception that it solely revolved around design and crafting interfaces. However, I’ve come to understand that UX encompasses a far more holistic and even technical approach to design within technology. It’s a broad concept that extends beyond aesthetics and technology, focusing deeply on understanding how people interact with products and systems. Delving into UX has led me to explore various fields, including psychology, as I strive to comprehend the intricacies of human behavior and cognition. It’s fascinating to uncover how demographics, age, and individual experiences shape user perspectives, highlighting the importance of considering diverse perspectives in design.

🚀 The first steps

What was your first work experience like?

My first work experience was a project-based internship, where I worked on various projects including one for an online therapy group business and another focused on skill-based career building. It wasn’t the most formal work setting, but I got to learn a lot of things hands-on! For instance, in my work project I went from point A to C, and only later realized I missed point B and needed to address this in my work.

From my experience, I quickly learned the importance of guiding others through my work process and that sometimes you really need to hand-hold. It was important to do things like prototyping and creating annotations since some people won’t always be completely familiar with some tools you use. You might need to use creative solutions to ensure effective communication since others are more familiar with it.

What are some pieces of advice you’d like to share for new designers?

When starting out in UX, leverage websites that aggregate job listings to discover opportunities aligned with your interests and skills. During interviews, be authentic and true to yourself as employers value genuine individuals who can contribute positively to their teams. Consider exploring opportunities with lesser-known companies, as these experiences can often be more valuable, especially in the early stages of your career. Also, instead of chasing after prestigious titles, prioritize roles at smaller companies where you can gain hands-on experience and take on diverse responsibilities. Embrace the freedom of youth by taking risks, such as joining startups or trying new roles, as these experiences will broaden your skill set and expand your professional horizons. Lastly, remain open-minded about your career path and be flexible in adapting to new opportunities and challenges that come your way.

🧗‍♀️ Overcoming challenges

What has been your most difficult UX interview, and how did you prepare?

One of the most challenging UX interviews I encountered was with a bank for an internship position. The interview consisted of both technical and design components, which posed a significant challenge as I was primarily self-taught and less familiar with systems design. While I didn’t ultimately secure the position, the experience taught me valuable lessons. It’s important to remember that it’s okay not to have all the answers and to embrace vulnerability as a learning opportunity. Interviews like these underscore the importance of showcasing a willingness to learn and grow, rather than simply demonstrating technical prowess.

Preparation for such interviews should involve familiarizing oneself with common UX principles and practices, as well as being able to effectively communicate one’s thought process and problem-solving approach. Additionally, demonstrating enthusiasm for learning and a proactive attitude can make a strong impression on interviewers looking for candidates who are eager to grow and adapt in the field of UX design.

Have you ever encountered imposter syndrome in the field? If you have, how did you deal with it?

For sure. I don’t actually have formal training in UX, in terms of structured programs, courses, or bootcamps, and relying heavily on self-learning instead. Coming into a space with other designers, including those who did have formal training or studies, it’s easy to find yourself asking: am I doing this right?

For me, I felt like an imposter being in the tech space because UX is not really a technical position (sometimes UX is considered one, sometimes isn’t depending on your responsibilities). When you’re working with technical folks, people may say that your work is not valuable and not fully appreciate the importance of design. However, I believe that design is extremely important, and while it may be a bit difficult, finding fellow designers who can advocate for the value of design within the company is instrumental. Over time, I’ve witnessed a shift in the industry towards recognizing the paramount importance of human-centric design, reaffirming my belief in the value of contributions and abilities as a UX designer.

🎯 Getting the job

What was your journey to Guidewire like?

My journey with Guidewire began as an intern, where I assumed the role of a UX communications analyst with an internal team focused on IT. In this capacity, I primarily worked on enhancing the tools utilized by employees on a daily basis, although my responsibilities did not extend to product development. Working closely with various departments gave me more insight into the broader operations of the company, allowing me to observe and contribute to a holistic approach to designing tools. I also played a role in enablement initiatives, creating video demos for the tools I designed and assisting with tasks.

As a campus ambassador, I engaged with the wider community and reviewed UX tools to ensure they aligned with our objectives. Much of my work involved designing tools based on existing platforms and contributing to the development of an internal website that served as a centralized hub for company news, built upon an intra-net tool and enhanced with widgets to improve functionality and accessibility.

What has been your favourite work project so far?

One of my favourite projects involved integrating AI into the workplace! I’m working on a generative AI tool for our employees. This project was very interesting to me because it is going from the ground-up; which I think is rare in a corporate space since you’re hardly working on a tool yourself, you’re more so just working as a designer to upgrade or enhance existing tools.

I leverage AI more for the research side and not much for design. While AI has typically been more leveraged for research purposes rather than directly influencing design, I found Figma’s AI capabilities in FigJam really cool too!

What are your goals for the future?

One of my primary goals is to further engage with the campus ambassador team and expand outreach efforts to connect with more students. Additionally, I aim to explore and leverage the latest advancements in AI-driven design tools, particularly those integrated within platforms like Figma, to streamline and enhance my design processes. By staying informed about emerging tools and technologies, I hope to continuously improve my skills and contribute more effectively to the field of UX design.

🔑 Some parting advice for our readers

What are some UX lessons that you’ve learned?

One of the key lessons I’ve learned in UX is that much of the work involves improving existing tools rather than creating entirely new ones, which can sometimes limit the scope of changes that can be made. UX focuses more on understanding user behaviour instead of focusing solely on design aesthetics, as this ultimately drives the success of a product. Overcoming imposter syndrome has been a recurring challenge, but I’ve found that confidently advocating for the value of my design decisions in meetings has been essential in gaining recognition for my contributions. It’s also important to approach design from a business perspective, ensuring that your solutions align with organizational goals and objectives. Effectively communicating your design rationale and getting others to understand your point of view in your designs is key to garnering support for your ideas and driving positive outcomes in UX projects.

What are some resources for new designers that you recommend?

When I began my journey, I found valuable guidance from online Youtubers like Design A Lily, who shares a lot of intensive interview preparation content. Additionally, online classes are pretty cool too; particularly for those working in environments that prioritize design, since many workplaces offer education funds to support continued learning. Fortunately, there’s an abundance of resources available online, making it easier than ever for aspiring designers to access the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in this field.

💌 Conclusion

While stepping into the UX field can be filled with uncertainty, Nika’s journey illustrates how it can also be filled with learning and growth. Regardless of your skill level, take advantage of online resources and stay up to date on new UX tools and concepts. Beyond the technical side, being adaptable and proactive to change is just as important as a designer.

While there is certainly not one universal path to navigating UX, wherever you are on your journey, remember to not be afraid of taking risks and exploring opportunities outside of your comfort zone.



UW/UX Waterloo

UW/UX is a student organization committed to growing the user experience and product design community at the University of Waterloo.