Learning and helping around

The story of my career

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Julián Dirakis
May 2 - 8 min read

"Hybrid" is the first word that appears in my mind at the moment of describing myself profession wise. I've been a graduated Graphic Designer since 2012. But the road starts a little bit earlier.
My first "design" job was in Visual Design (AKA "The Basement") doing everything you can imagine; printing, designing, cutting, pasting, surviving... I learned a lot, and also it was my first "real" job. Amazing times, lovely and funny people.
Amid that experience, my first freelance job appears. At Iphoideas was looking for some lucky guy who could give them a hand painting scripts for a video game. And me, with all my love for that world, didn't hesitate a second. Suddenly I found myself in long routines between "The basement", FADU (University), and painting the characters at night.

Iphoideas proposed me a full-time offer a short time later. I was in charge of cutting all the assets for development, maybe it could sound easy now (cheers per Figma and Sketch), but at that time the job was more handmade with Blackberry and the non-looking good Android.
Met great people there too. But the one most relevant for this story maybe it's not the one I most loved. My first PM Luciano Caudevilla (Taliban of scrum methodologies) was who led me to the Dev-side; He told me:

You are studying design, good for that... But how it sounds if you also learn how to create your designs in code.🤯 🚀

Luciano Caudevila, Buenos Aires, 2011

Since that for almost a month all my dailies were the same speach "Learning how to code...". The first approach was with Titanium (No, not the song) Titanium Appcelerator it's and Hybrid between mobile and HTML5. This was my first language, I achieved good results in terms of UI in a few months. Then I started to adjust the views in the middle of the development process for Android, at the beginning just with asset optimization until creating a complete layout with XML. Also remember my first development environments in Android Studio, Eclipse and the use of GIT to share the job. (I know the basics to not screw it up, but still today I make the whole process in the terminal 💪🏼).

In 2013 Wiki Chaves contacted me. He was looking for a free-lancer to work coding the UI for Lemon Wallet. For more than a year I helped Lemon with the iOS App. I learned to use Xcode, in the time with no constraints system, and my role was to fix graphics bugs from QA.
Lemon offered me a full-time job and I was preparing myself for a new (and expected) journey, but an unexpected job offer from Fnbox came to me. I found myself in a crossroads between honoring my word with Lemon or prioritizing my career and economy.

Travolta

I made my decision and explained the situation to Fabian Cuesta (head of mobile in Lemon) Fabi was a great listener and he understood my situation and wished me the best.
Fnbox, Recarga.com, Cuponica, Winkal, and finally RecargaPay. All those projects passed through my monitor. As a designer, I helped in the revamp process from recarga.com to recargapay. Also we made a lot of iterations with A/B test every week to increase our number of active users, mostly to landings and sensible spots in the app like the onboarding and the refer program.
As a UI developer HTML/CSS/SASS for web at the beginning, then I moved again to mobile, and the good-looking Android was my main platform to work using XML to create layouts. I had the chance to work back to back with Juan Pablo Carrea, I met him in the FADU and I couldn't be more happy of those years. We learned a lot together and I still remember how we danced when some tricky code got solved.🕺🏻🦖

In the middle of 2016 Fabi contacted me again, he was looking for help with a new product, Xapo. I accepted the challenge and I found myself again working more than 70% of the day for two (or more) different jobs.
Xapo offered me a life changer at the beginning of 2017 with a full-time remote work. I won't lie, I was afraid to accept it. In Argentina, we have the culture of an in-house job with a salaried employee but the possibility to be autonomous was a great change and challenge... So I took a big breath and accepted it.

The design team was only me and Caro Fabroni under the wing of Juan Moreno Cousinet. Zeplin, Sketch, Invision, and the Adobe Creative Suite became my main tools working with new flows and improvements.
Xapo grew up and with that team got bigger. Caro became my Manager and I received a new role, Product Designer. All together as a team ran through a revamp process and I learned a lot about the product and how to work in a remote company. Using Figma, we created a new app based on a component library with a lot of better practices. We adopted new methodologies, daily's in Slack, Design Critiques every week, and the Coffee's on Friday to talk and laugh about whatever we wanted. My dev-side kept alive with the email system. I coded almost every email Xapo sent in the last years with Html tables and media-queries. As a company with a new framework and the arrival of PMs, POs, and a JIRA based organization we moved forward fast.

Xapo journey ended in April 2020, a new strategy for the company reduced dramatically the staff. I left the company with a warm goodbye from everyone who I worked with and a growing up feeling for my career and myself...

Juli Dirakis,
May 2020