Becoming a designer at IBM

becoming a designer at IBM

Alice is an Innovation Designer within IBM Client Engineering’s Global Sales team, based in the Atlanta, Georgia area in the USA. In this blog, the designer explains how her Chinese culture has fueled her personal and career journey.


Growing up in Beijing, China

I grew up in Beijing, a city where ancient history and modern life come together. As a little kid, I would often imagine the stories of those who walked before me. But what about my story?

When I reflect on what shaped my journey to IBM, it takes me back in time to my childhood. My mom and I lived in a rather small apartment with 10 people: my grandma and grandpa, my aunt and her husband, my uncle, and his wife, along with all my cousins. We lived on the sixth floor of a building without an elevator, and I walked to school every day.

At school, we memorized long chapters of poems and practiced writing the same letters until we knew them by heart – in fact, I think that’s why I’ve worn glasses since a young age. School was hard for me, but nothing could have prepared me for what would happen next: moving across the world at just nine years old.


Moving to the US

Suddenly, I was in America, in a small town where I only saw one person at my school with the same skin tone as me. To my classmates, it felt like I was the embodiment of something foreign and strange. Yet, despite these challenges, I was prideful of the history of my roots. I kept my head high and pursued my interests in technology. I’m actually the first in my family to graduate college and get a degree in Computer Science.


Becoming a designer at IBM

Recently, I revisited China and captured these photos in Houhai, wearing traditional Ming dynasty clothing.


Becoming a designer at IBM

Fast-forward to 2022 – that’s when I joined IBM. In the same way that immigrating across the world opened doors to new opportunities, joining IBM opened me up to a world of diverse products and incredibly talented teams. Each day, I find myself with a new challenge and opportunity to innovate.

In my current role as Innovation Designer, I focus on solving complex problems and creating innovative strategies to improve business operations and user experiences. I leverage design thinking and IBM technology to craft and implement custom-made solutions. My goal is to make meaningful changes that bring value to our clients and users. To do so, I work in close collaboration with cross-functional teams to identify the most optimal solution.

What I enjoy most about my role is delivering positive change and hearing users say that my solution made a difference. One of my favorite projects involved developing a new UI; the client exclaimed, “You’ve made my life so much better!” Those words truly made all my efforts feel worthwhile.


A positive beacon for everyone like me

When I think back to that little girl in Beijing, doodling on the chipped paint walls of my neighborhood and wondering why the sky would rain on a sunny day, she wouldn’t have believed all the things I would be doing today. I carry that person with me everyday because it’s made me who I am, and I hope to be a positive beacon for everyone like me, who comes from non-traditional backgrounds.



Discover your potential at IBM

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