Abraham Lincoln High School Text

Ruben Fernandez: #OnceALancerAlwaysLancer

Posted 11/06/2020
“Once A Lancer Always A Lancer” Ruben Fernandez and Class of 2006.

During High School and College, Ruben always followed his heart when it came to Art and Computer Science. with an Associate’s degree from Community College of denver and a Bachelors of Arts, emphasis in Digital Design from University of Colorado Denver. Ruben has beat the odds and is currently a Senior Advisory Design Lead at IBM.

What experience at Lincoln sticks with you to this day?

I can remember registering for classes and the one class that comes to mind, was a post-secondary class for web design. I refer to this class periodically, because not only was the technology at a completely different state than that of today, but also, because of how early on I was exposed to design. The reason for my enrollment at Lincoln was based on the extended effort to make transitioning into post secondary education a smoother one. Thus, having this opportunity so early on, is an experience that has stuck with me even, as I continue my career in the field of design.

Did you participate in any activities while at Lincoln?

I played on the football team.

What is your current job or career? How long have you been there?

Currently, I am a Senior Advisory Design lead at IBM. I relocated to Austin, Texas 6 years and four months ago.

Can you explain a bit of what you do at IBM?

IBM is a huge company with 400,000+ employees scattered across the globe. In the past, the culture has been primarily an engineer dominant one. Since joining IBM 6 years ago as a software product designer, design as an organization has made a monumental shift and is now at forefront of the company. I collaborate with cross-disciplinary teams, locally and remotely; to design the best human centered software experiences for IBM’s customers on an enterprise level. I direct, define and advocate the standards for visual design, interaction design, and UX design through user research, design thinking and rapid prototypes for 300+ offerings in the Cloud, Data, and Artificial Intelligence sphere.

At what age did you know you wanted to follow the path you’re on? In the career that you are in?

“I always knew I wanted to do something in the creative field. It was always art and then computers. I took plenty of art classes, as my background was pretty heavy in illustration all throughout high school. It was not until college, my junior year, age 23, when I was exposed to code, that I really figured out the direction I wanted to head with my career. I really enjoyed the design side of things but seeing static design come to life through a programming language is what infatuated me most. Designing and building things for real people is essentially what I do.”

What advice would you give the current high schooler who is looking to pursue a career in the creative industry?

  1. Stay inspired, seek inspiration from all channels. Innovation typically stems from inspiration.
  2. Do not pay attention to what the statistics say— prove them wrong. Growing up in the inner city is tough, at times unbearable. Fact: I applied for my position based on a stat from LinkedIn that suggested graduates from the most prestigious schools were more likely to end up where I am today. My school was not on that list. Somehow, I made it.
  3. Don’t worry about not having all of the answers right away. Take the time to explore what your true passions are and then explore some more!

Ruben Fernandez

Once A Lancer Always A Lancer