In September 2022, Michael Hustedde, a professional violinist and former music teacher, graduated from Career Foundry’s User Experience Design boot camp, hoping to transition to product design. Unfortunately, as he started searching for full-time roles, he faced the barrier of employers constantly saying he needed more “on-the-job” experience.

When Michael discovered DemocracyLab through a friend’s LinkedIn profile, he realized that the platform offered him the perfect opportunity to gain real-world design experience and contribute to a worthy cause. While exploring the 50+ design projects across social impact sectors such as education, healthcare, climate, etc., Michael found a role with the DemocracyLab team itself and jumped at the opportunity to learn from the established designers and engineers on the team.

Over eight months, he volunteered part-time with the DemocracyLab Design team to design a project management tool for the organizations hosted on the platform. Throughout this period, Michael collaborated with multiple stakeholders, including other designers, engineers, and product managers, and received feedback on his work during weekly standups.

"I was decent at Figma when I joined the DemocracyLab team, but learning firsthand  how other designers used the tool totally elevated my skills. Exposure to a project management tool like Trello also gave me an edge during job interviews."

Michael’s experience designing a project management tool ultimately helped him land a full-time job at a wealth management platform.

“My DemocracyLab designs and subsequent case study were the perfect vehicles to showcase my abilities as a designer during job interviews. Working on this project gave me the incredibly necessary real-world experience needed to better understand the software development and design processes, collaborate cross-functionally, and design for real-world problems. My experience with DemocracyLab was IMMENSELY beneficial and it was the primary reason that I landed my first full-time product design job.”
A screenshot from Michael’s portfolio

Michael, thank you for enabling project owners and volunteers through your work at DemocracyLab. We wish you the best in all endeavors!

Fun Fact: Michael has played the violin for over 25 years and has performed internationally! You can learn more about him here.

About DemocracyLab:

DemocracyLab is an open marketplace that connects Tech-For-Good projects with volunteers. If you’re looking for an experiential learning opportunity to hone your skills or an avenue to create social impact by sharing your wisdom, explore the 200+ projects listed on our website. If creative and diligent talent like Michael is what you need to further your mission, register your organization on our platform to find volunteers.

Stay connected:

Sign up for our newsletter to learn more about our work, or join us as a monthly supporter to enable our mission!

Written by: Aradhana G; Thank you for your feedback, Chloe C, Firdaus F, David F and Mark F.