Carnegie Mellon University

Integrated Innovation Institute

Engineering + Design + Business

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Brian Shyu

Alumni Spotlight - Brian Shyu (MIIPS '14)

Pivoting Careers for the Love of Product Design

"It’s an exciting time to be a designer in the UI/UX space," reflects alumnus Brian Shyu (MIIPS '14), team lead and product designer at Mine Safety Appliance (MSA) Safety. Interestingly, Shyu wasn't always a designer; in fact, he began his career at MSA as a mechanical engineer specialized in product development, "Moving from engineering to design seemed intimidating. How would I be able to convincingly transform myself as a designer?"

At MSA, Shyu is using cutting-edge technologies to transform the design of safety products. MSA has a diversified portfolio of safety products serving many industries including fire service, gas detection, head/eye/hearing protection and fall protection. Currently, many of their products can only communicate an issue or problem to the professional wearing the device. By leveraging UI/UX design, Shyu is revolutionizing these products to improve accountability and keep workers safe. 

"Our team is using different wireless technologies to allow instrument data to be piped up to a cloud system in the future. This will help to remotely monitor the activities of different stakeholders like firefighters.” Shyu continues, “By creating these new experiences, UI/UX design is becoming a more critical element in the development process as we develop mobile and web interfaces."

Similar to his master's experience, Shyu works in a dynamic team at MSA comprised of industrial and UX designers, software developers and hardware engineers. With a 100-year history, MSA continues to innovate its approach to product development and has also been a corporate sponsor for the Institute's capstone projects, "It’s exciting to know that I am able to use some of the same tools and methodologies that I learned while studying [at] the Institute.”

The Integrated Innovation Experience

Shyu attended the MIIPS (then called a Master of Product Development) program part-time while continuing his career at MSA. During his master's experience, Shyu began to pursue his passion for design.

Shyu at III
Shyu visits III's Career Planning course, taught today by Tim Fletcher. Through his experience in this course, Shyu was inspired to pivot careers.

The program's Career Planning course led by Professor Tom Kubilius supported him in his decision to pivot careers, "One of the lessons that Professor Kubilius taught his students was about learning how to design our career and learning the importance of understanding and communicating our value as multi-disciplinary product designers." 

Upon graduating with new skills and a clear path to his dream, Shyu successfully transitioned from the engineering team to product design team at MSA Safety.