Shift

is a two-sided talent marketplace, helping veterans find work at tech companies.

Shift helps soon-to-be veterans land tech jobs. It leverages a DoD program called SkillBridge to get people out of the military and into immersive fellowships at partner offices, after which many convert into full-time roles. Shift military fellows ramp up to their work much faster than the average college graduate.

One of the pain points in the Shift process when I arrived was onboarding. Getting anything done in the military is an almost entirely paper process that involves chain-of-command approval for every step. Realistically, our fellows needed to start thinking about their separation at least a year in advance. As users, keeping them engaged during this process was a challenge. As I would find, many easily-answerable questions would end up overwhelming our customer support department.

I went on to build out a fellow/applicant-facing profile page with a steady drip of emails, notifications, and timeline updates. I spoke with active and prospective fellows going through the process, conducted competitor analysis, did testing, and built the web app. I ran the process from pen on paper, to wireframes, through UX mockups and then implementing the UI itself in React. Engagement went up, and the load on customer support went down.

Getting to know Shift users challenged a lot of my unconsious biases -- I think many of us still tend to think of the Vietnam era when we hear the word "veteran." I learned a lot about the motivations and aspirations of our servicemembers while at Shift, and it was a genuine pleasure to get to know every one of them.