WCF Mates is a segment where we feature and showcase the lives of those who have collaborated with WOMENCANFLY.CO. (Commonly used by Australians, ‘mate’ refers to a friend or someone you are close to.)
In Vol. 5, we meet Akira, a UX designer and creative director.
Akira was in charge of teaching the "Introduction to Web Design for Women" course at our Scramble Seminar held in March 2021 . IT and technology fields like web design can seem like a daunting hurdle for beginners. However, there are a surprisingly large number of people who are interested and want to take up the challenge.
Akira was originally a musician who wanted to become a rock star.
In this interview, we asked him what made him switch from music to IT and about his collaboration with WCF!
Who is Akira?
We honestly don't know what kind of title we should give Akira. This is because Akira's work transcends the boundaries of fields, including UX/UI design, web design, direction, and project management. He works flexibly, changing his own role according to the client or project.
Sometimes he works with a team of engineers and other times he participates in a project as a designer or director. As for his personal activities, he is a multi-talented person who does videography and photography.
In 2012, he moved to Australia at the request of his family and spent about 9 years in Sydney before returning to Japan in February 2021. He is currently experiencing reverse culture shock living in Japan for the first time in nine years.
If you're not familiar with UX/UI design they stand for 'user experience' and 'user interface' respectively.
UX design refers to the design of the entire customer experience, for example, searching for a product, buying it, using it and being satisfied with it.
On the other hand, UI design refers to the design of user-friendly screens on apps and websites. Through UI design, we intuitively know that if we tap on a certain area, the screen will switch.
Akira’s amazing accomplishments
Akira started playing the guitar when he was in junior high school and went to music school.
For a band member, CD sales and live tickets are a major source of income. Therefore, publicity activities such as writing blogs and creating websites are indispensable.
Because there was no one else in the band who could do it, he took on publicity activities of selling CDs and tickets for live concerts which led to his career as a web designer.
He started his career as a web designer by using websites and blogs as a means to achieve the goal of inviting customers to live concerts. Akira's designs not only satisfy his clients but also reach their customers.
This is so obvious, but it's actually very difficult.
It's also amazing that he learned his IT and design skills by himself. About 15 years ago, when he was studying, books were not as plentiful as they are now, and he sometimes translated books from overseas while studying. It was not uncommon for the content of the books to be translated incorrectly.
It was not a great environment but Akira's ability to hone his skills and build a career under such circumstances was amazing.
Why Akira and WCF collaborated
The first day of the four-seminar series for the international women's seminar 2021 was "Introduction to Web Design for Women," taught by Akira.
WCF empowers women so that they can choose the way they want to live their lives. Women are easily affected by marriage and childbirth, so when they want to work, it is essential that they have a positive spirit to take on challenges and have practical skills to match employment opportunities.
In particular, we believe that IT skills are a good match for women, as they allow for a more flexible work style in terms of where and when they work.
Therefore, we decided to ask Akira, who has been involved in many projects both in Japan and Australia, to be our lecturer, as he has been trusted for his knowledge and personality. He wants as many people as possible to know that web and programming skills can be used in any industry and most importantly, that it's fun!
It's not just men who are suited for the IT industry
When we planned the web design course, we found that there were more people than we expected who wanted to learn web design skills for career advancement or to use websites for self-branding.
However, for beginners, the hurdles of learning web design are high. That's why we asked Akira to explain the basics like, "What is text editing? and other fundamental terms.
Some of the participants who took the first step through the seminar gave us feedback that they wanted to study further.
When it comes to IT and the web, many people have the image that men are more suited to these fields, but there are many women working in these fields.
WCF will continue to connect instructors like Akira who can teach knowledge and know-how in an easy-to-understand way with people who want to challenge new things and make a career out of it.
The secret to enjoying life abroad is to accept different cultures
Akira spent about nine years in Sydney and his most memorable experience was driving around the Australian continent. When he was playing the guitar he brought with him, people who were also travelling gathered around and sang songs they had written on the spot for two hours together. The power of music is amazing.
For Akira, Australia is a country where both the city and nature are close by and it is a country that allows him to be selfish. I like the fact that they don't think of individuals in terms of how they should be.
He also said that people in his industry working in Sydney are interested in things outside of their field of expertise, such as programming and art, and he respects their eagerness.
There are many aspects of life and work that are different from Japan, but the secret to enjoying life abroad is to accept different cultures without stereotypying.
Not only does he have skills in design and digital marketing that allow him to shape to his thoughts, but his attitude toward work and the way he works gives us a glimpse of Akira's aesthetics, which we found very cool.
Having seen Japan from abroad, Akira says that now that he is back in Japan, he wants to bring the best of Japan to the rest of the world.
What kind of Japan will he bring and how will he do it?
We're really looking forward to it!
Born in Osaka, Japan, Akira worked in the design and marketing industry for more than 14 years. In 2011, he left his job and became a freelancer and moved to Sydney. He became the CCO of a local creative agency in Hong Kong in 2016. In addition to design and web production, he is also involved in cross-border marketing projects in many other fields.
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