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, conducted user 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, spinning up a small design system library in Storybook. 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.