“I’ve always told myself, if there’s a new software tool or a new process of doing things I’m going to learn it,” says Maurice Peltier ’17.
By the time Maurice (Reese) Peltier enrolled at RIC at age 30 he had already earned a B.S. degree in computer engineering at Northeastern University and co-founded an Android app development business.
“The business was basically me and a friend working on Android apps in our homes at night after work,” he says. “We were trying to work on an idea we came up with at Northeastern.”
Okay. But then he arrives at RIC and closes his app business and opens a graphic design business. This is before he’s earned a degree in the field. In fact, this is before he’s even taken a graphic design course.
Peltier laughs. “That was me trying to get as much experience as possible. I did logos and small marketing jobs. Plus, I had had an app business before, so, I wasn’t coming in completely cold.”
Let’s face it. Peltier is not only a serial entrepreneur, he believes in staying on top of his tech game. To this day, the 38-year-old enjoys exploring new technology and applying what he’s learned to new enterprises. He’s gone from building computers, to designing apps, to designing for the Web.
“In my computer engineering days, I wanted to be the next Bill Gates,” he says. “I wanted to build something as significant as Microsoft. After I moved into design, I wanted to be the next Jony Ive from Apple, who designed the iMac and the iPod and eventually the IPhone.”
Peltier admits that his proclivity for building on his skills comes from a legitimate fear of no longer being relevant in a fast-changing tech world. He’s seen it happen.
“I was working as a developer when a bunch of main frame developers got laid off – more than half the staff – and they were all men in their early 50s who had been working on the same system since the late 80s. They were experts at this particular type of work, but when they found themselves in a world that was moving on from that, they found themselves out of work. So, I’ve always told myself, if there’s a new software tool or a new process of doing things I’m going to learn it.”
Peltier is also not afraid of applying for positions in the tech field that are above his skill level. “The worst they can do is say, ‘No,’” he says.
When he graduated from RIC with a degree in graphic design in 2017, Peltier got a job as a package designer. Then he applied for a position he wasn’t qualified for – senior designer for Staples’ Web team. Staples turned him down but called him back when a job within his qualifications came up.
“They hired me as a junior designer,” he says. “Since then, I’ve been comfortable with applying for jobs that may be out of my skillset because I think people are willing to invest in you if you have the soft skills, like the ability to work with other people. The other skills you can learn on the job.”
As a junior designer, Peltier specialized in UI design (a fancier word for graphic design). This January he moved from Staples to Home Depot, as a UI/UX designer.
Basically, UI design focuses on the purely visual aspects of a Web page – typography, spacing, color schemes, etc., whereas UX design focuses on ensuring that the interface is user-friendly and easy to navigate. It’s the difference between a product looking good (UI) and working effectively and efficiently (UX).
“At Home Depot I get to wear both hats – UI and UX design,” he says. “I’ve moonlighted in UX design at Staples, but now I can really learn more about it and practice that skill at Home Depot. I hope to learn as much as I can.”
In a tech business that’s built on staying ahead of the curve, Peltier will do just fine.