Introducing Lukas Martynas Janoszek, the “Mentor in the spotlight”! Lukas is not only a UX Designer at Telia but also an Acceleration Program mentor in the UX/UI design track.
Currently, Lukas holds the responsibility of designing Telia’s e-commerce store and public website. However, his tech career initially began with a customer support job, where he had the opportunity to interact with customers throughout the day. This experience played a significant role in developing Lukas’ strong empathy skills, allowing him to better understand customer problems and needs. Today, these skills are a crucial aspect of his mentoring role.
With nearly five years of design experience under his belt, Lukas has become a specialist in e-commerce UX and now helps women to find their way to tech.
What are some key skills or experiences that you believe are crucial for a successful career in the tech industry?
I don’t think I can speak for the entire tech industry, but UX design requires a combination of technical skills, soft skills, and valuable experiences. The ability to analyze complex problems, break them down into smaller components, and devise effective solutions is highly valued. Working in the tech industry often involves being part of large teams, so strong collaboration and communication skills are vital. Being able to articulate ideas, actively listen, provide constructive feedback, and work effectively with others is essential for successful project outcomes. Gaining domain-specific knowledge and understanding the industry you work in can greatly enhance your career prospects. I always tell my mentees that curiosity is key. There are many things you need to learn and the industry is constantly changing, so you need to continuously improve. Without curiosity, it will be hard to keep up.
Have you encountered any significant challenges or obstacles in your career, and how did you overcome them?
The biggest challenge in my career has been my social anxiety. At the beginning of my career, I struggled to express my thoughts and defend my opinions. I knew this was hindering my professional growth and preventing me from fully contributing as a UX Designer.
To address this challenge, I decided to take proactive steps toward self-improvement. I delved into books and resources that focused on improving communication techniques. However, I soon realized that theory alone would not be enough. I needed practical experience and guidance to overcome my social anxiety. That’s when I made the decision to explore cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Engaging in therapy turned out to be the best decision I made for my career and personal growth.
Through therapy, I gained invaluable tools and strategies to navigate professional interactions with confidence and poise. I practiced expressing my ideas and defending my opinions in a safe and supportive environment, gradually building up my skills and resilience.
Of course, overcoming social anxiety is an ongoing process. I still encounter moments of nervousness, but now I have a toolbox of techniques to help me manage them effectively. Engaging in therapy and investing time and effort in self-improvement have allowed me to grow both personally and professionally.
What inspired you to become a mentor with Women Go Tech?
As far back as I can remember, I’ve enjoyed sharing things I’ve read with others. My girlfriend is a great listener, so over the past five years, I’ve constantly regaled her with stories about various design concepts, architecture, and other topics. She often told me that I’d make a good teacher or mentor, and I felt the same way. I began mentoring junior colleagues at work, and for the two years prior to joining Women Go Tech, I was mentoring children at the Bit&Byte Technology Academy. It was enjoyable to work with children, experiment with coding and design, but I felt that I wanted to delve deeper into these topics, and Women Go Tech seemed like an excellent place to do so. Ultimately, I see great value in programs like Women Go Tech for the entire Lithuanian tech community. Mentees receive help in their early careers, mentors can share their experiences, and companies can gain much-needed new employees.
What values or principles guide your mentoring philosophy?
There are a few basic principles that guide my philosophy.
Empathy: I strive to understand and empathize with the mentees I interact with. By putting myself in their shoes, I can better appreciate their challenges, aspirations, and emotions. Empathy allows me to provide support and guidance that is tailored to their unique needs.
Independence: Fostering independence by encouraging mentees to think critically, make decisions, and take responsibility for their own development.
Have you ever experienced self-doubt or imposter syndrome as a mentor? How did you overcome it?
At the outset, I had a lot of self-doubt. I remember feeling nervous before my first mentorship meeting. I was afraid of getting questions that I couldn’t answer, and to be perceived as an inadequate mentor. However, my fears proved unfounded, and the experience was quite pleasant. Gradually, I realized that nobody knows everything, and I was able to overcome my perfectionism and move forward. I believe that doing it despite all fears is the best way to overcome it.
What is your one piece of advice for other mentors?
My one piece of advice for other mentors is to prioritize helping mentees build independence. While it’s natural to want to provide guidance and support, a key goal of mentoring is to empower mentees to develop their own skills, confidence, and autonomy. By fostering independence, mentors enable mentees to take ownership of their growth and navigate their own paths to success.
What is your one piece of advice for the mentees?
My one piece of advice for other mentees is to prioritize building curiosity. It is an essential part of personal and professional growth, and in shaping a successful mentoring experience. Curiosity is the fuel that drives learning, exploration, and innovation. Embrace a curious mindset by asking questions, seeking new knowledge, and actively engaging in the learning process.
Curiosity expands your horizons, exposes you to new ideas and perspectives, and fosters a sense of wonder and enthusiasm. It allows you to continuously discover and develop your interests, enabling you to make the most of your mentorship experience.
Can you share a recent book, podcast, or resource that has had a positive impact on your professional growth?
Certainly! A recent resource that has had a positive impact on my professional growth is the book “The Mom Test: How to talk to customers & learn if your business is a good idea when everyone is lying to you” by Rob Fitzpatrick. This book is a valuable resource for anyone involved in entrepreneurship, product development, or customer research.
The book offers practical advice and strategies for conducting effective customer interviews and gathering genuine insights. It emphasizes the importance of asking the right questions and overcoming biases to obtain honest feedback from potential customers. The author’s approach encourages entrepreneurs to focus on understanding customer problems and needs rather than seeking validation for their ideas.
Personally, I found this book to be immensely helpful in improving my interview skills and honing my ability to extract meaningful information from conversations. The techniques and principles presented in the book have enhanced my understanding of user-centered design and customer discovery.