Sofia Lacerda

Sofia Lacerda

Profile

Time in tech 19 years
Current role Creative Director & Product Designer @ Enjoythis
Place of origin Porto

Tell us more about you:

Early years and where you came from?

I was born and raised in Foz do Douro in Porto, right by the sea. One of my earliest memories is from when I was a toddler and my dad was carrying a new computer into our living room, our first computer. I was on the sofa holding on to my milk bottle. I find it funny that I remember that.

When I was 18 I moved to London to study Media and Communication. 17 years later and I’m still here.

How were you introduced to the world of the Portuguese tech industry?

I think I was one of the first people at school to have the internet. I remember having to explain to my friends what the internet was. I started having a play with development and built a fan site for my favourite band. When I was 16 (and still at school) I got a part time job developing websites for Porto’s Science University, there were hardly any web developers then.  That’s how it all began.

Walk me through your work and what you are doing now in the tech industry.

After I finished university I freelanced and worked at various advertising agencies in London. I then founded a digital studio called Enjoythis which I ran for 8 years. We worked with startups and also collaborated with some of the best agencies in the world, designing and building apps for some big brands such as Umbro, Diesel, Sony and Bacardi. In 2015 Enjoythis was nominated for Agency of The Year and Developer Site of the Year for Awwwards.

After so many years doing mainly websites I felt it was time for a change, so over the past two years I’ve been switching my focus to product design. I’ve been working with a company called Pilot, a technology concept lab specialising in R&D, product incubation and long-term envisioning.

I do a lot of UX Model concepts as well as UI/Design. Recently I’ve been involved in projects for Spotify, Delta Airlines, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Skype and Microsoft.

Last year I also led the whole re-design of Antidate, an app that connects singles and places.

What part of what you do, you love the most?

I love it when I’m part of a project that people appreciate. Getting the good feedback is feels great but not in an ego centric way, it just feels like all the hard work was worthwhile.

How do you think that your background and knowledge impact the way you approach your work in the Portuguese tech industry?

I always try to push things further, to make the design fresher and forward thinking, clean and user centred.

What advice do you have for young women that want to get into tech and don’t know where to start?

I can give advice to those that want to work in the design field. The best thing is to start having a play with design and showcasing your work. Make up your own project, even it’s just a concept. Or make a project for someone who has an idea but doesn’t know how to execute it. Design and build your own website. I assume that if someone wants to do design it means they’ve already used some design software and enjoy it, but if not there are lots of tutorials online. Get involved in design communities such as Dribbble (dribbble.com), it’s a great platform.

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Walk me through a day in your life as a Portuguese woman in tech.

My perfect work day is to wake up around 7am and before getting ready to leave I spend 1 to 2 hours reading the news and blogs, writing down all the things I have to do or working on my own projects. If my minds feels too busy I sometimes meditate. I like to have that time in the morning for myself before starting the actual work. It takes me 15min to walk to my studio which is super nice. I can work whichever hours I want but I do tend to stick to 9 to 6 with the occasional late night. There’s a great yoga studio right next to my co-work so I’ve been doing quite a bit of yoga either at lunch time or after work. I try to avoid my laptop and my phone in the evenings but it’s hard.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Paula Scher who is a designer I admire once said “It took me a few seconds to draw it, but it took me 34 years to learn how to draw it in a few seconds.”

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

Quite a lot but here are the essentials:

One notepad (and pen) to make lists of things to do and another notepad to sketch UX ideas. TextEdit for Mac. Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and Sketch for designing. Flinto and Marvel for prototyping. Trello and Slack for team collaboration. Hangouts for video calls. Google Docs, Sheets and lately also Google Keep. Last year I exchanged my iPhone with a Google Pixel phone and I love it. I use Pinterest a lot mainly for home decor and cooking ideas but also for graphic design inspiration.

Links that you want to share?

Last year I launched a project called JO&SO (joandso.com) with my sister which is a handpicked collection of the cool places to stay in Portugal. I’ve been travelling a lot around Portugal which is really nice.

Anything else you want to share?

Something silly - www.lmgtfy.com