How I Explored a New Career Path Within My Field

Our mission here at The Muse is simple: to help you find your dream job. So, there’s nothing we love more than hearing about it when you do!

Today, we chatted with John Soh, a designer at Sestra Systems. After getting his masters in integrated innovation in products and services, John switched jobs—staying within his field and skillset but working on different, unique projects he was excited to be involved in.

Read below to learn more about his story, then check out Sestra Systems’ offices and see how you can land a great new gig of your own.

Give us your elevator speech!

I’m a maker that’s always looking to build innovative things. I can design anything, from a small-scale representation of complex machinery to a full-sized house. My background is in architecture and design, but I can also prototype, manufacture, and code.

Outside of work, I recently became a dad, which I’m loving every moment of. Besides that, I’m either working on my next scale model or modifying furniture for my wife.

What’s your day to day like as a designer?

I’m responsible for a multitude of things, such as industrial design of Sestra’s products—such as mobile dispensing carts and a new design for our IoT push to pour console—as well as creating manufacturing drawings, and providing renderings that’re used for our marketing material and sales proposals.

What were you doing before you landed your new job?

Prior to Sestra Systems, I was a graduate student at Carnegie Mellon University’s Integrated Innovation Institute. Prior to that, I was a project architect in the Washington, DC area.

As much as I loved architecture, I wanted to use my design skills for something that would be used by more than just the residents of a building. That led me to get a masters in integrated innovation in products and services, where I learned the basics in industrial design, business, and engineering. That’s where I first heard of IoT, or the “Internet of Things,” a brand new category of products and services of everyday items that connect to the internet and give them a whole new level of usefulness. I quickly realized that that’s what I wanted to design, as it would challenge me to use all my skills and interests.

What attracted you to the company when you found it on The Muse?

Sestra Systems caught my eye as a company that is aiming to revolutionize the beverage industry with IoT technology. Their Muse profile also showed that they were still in the early stages of product development, and it felt like a unique opportunity where I could really create something tangible and contribute to a design that could be fresh yet familiar, intriguing yet easy-to-use.

Learn More About Working at Sestra Systems


What’s something most people would find surprising about working at Sestra Systems?

The dedication of every team member. Everyone at this company is willing to go above and beyond to ensure that Sestra’s TapWise product is serving portion controlled wine, cocktails, or coffee on tap flawlessly and that all of our customers are satisfied.

What’s the coolest project you’ve worked on so far?

I just completed the drawings for a self-serve on-tap dispensing cart. Not only has such a cart never existed previously, but it’s designed to meet the design standards set by the client. The result was a unique product that had a Sestra wine on-tap dispensing system in a clear shell and a traditional beer keg fridge in a wood shell, providing a complete pop-up mobile solution for the client, for which they will be able to view real time analytics, any time, as a result of being Internet connected.

Is there anything from The Muse that helped you out in your job hunt?

The Muse allowed me to narrow down the job search significantly better than other websites. When you searched for “industrial designer” on The Muse, the first results were actually industrial designer positions, while a lot of other sites would show most-popular or most-viewed positions that didn’t always apply to what I was looking for. It was also easy on The Muse to read about the company and look at other positions available within that company.

Is there anything in particular you did during your application process that you think helped you stand out?

For every interview I had, I reached out to my interviewers to thank them for taking the time to talk with me. I also did this within the same day so that they had an easier time remembering who I was and our conversations.

What advice would you have for someone who’s stuck in a difficult job hunt right now?

Think about what’s making your job hunt difficult. Is it having too high of expectations? Is the industry stagnant? Are you only applying to mid-level positions when your resume looks more entry-level? Are you networking with people in that company? There’s probably a reason why your job hunt is more difficult than it should be, and once you identify it, you can shift your strategy.

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About Richard Moy

Richard Moy
Richard Moy is a Content Marketing Writer at Stack Overflow. He has spent the majority of his career in talent management, including a stint as a full-cycle recruiter and hiring manager. In addition to the career advice he contributes to The Muse, he also writes test prep and higher education marketing content for The Economist. Say hi on Twitter @rich_moy.

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