SAM WOREK - Instructional Designer

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Sam Worek

Instructional Designer, Google

I was born/grew up in: Austin, Texas, USA

I now live in: San Francisco, California, USA

I completed my training/education at: The University of Texas at Austin - Digital Media Program (Moody College of Communications)

Describe what you do at work.

As an instructional designer, my job is to design and then build interactive online trainings. I am involved in all steps of the process, including deciding whether to make a training, and making sure the training remains up-to-date. But my main focus is on deciding what content goes into a training and then making that content. In other words, I decide what people need to learn, and what the best way to teach them would be. Some of my specific key activities include: reading product documents, writing video scripts, creating video storyboards, designing interactive activities, writing assessment tests. I use software like Adobe Photoshop and Evolve e-learning, as well as some HTML and JavaScript programming languages. I work on a small team of 4 people, but at a very large company with lots of resources and stakeholders.

When I was a student I enjoyed:

How does your job affect peoples lives?

I get to be a free online tutor on Google's products for thousands of people around the world. Our courses are designed for accessibility and available in 16 different languages. It's fulfilling knowing that I've created something that is helping a lot of people learn.

What motivates you in your career?

I get excited about our program's massive scope, and when I see the hard work of my course design finally launch. It's cool to be able to share the things that I create with others, and know that I created it for their benefit. I also enjoy the creative work of script writing and storyboarding - I feel like a Hollywood screenwriter sometimes!

When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:

Describe your career path to this career.

To be honest, I didn't know that the job of instructional designer existed until about 8 months before I started doing it. I had very seriously considered following the path of teaching high school science. But when I found out that I could do the same type of work at Google, for a global classroom, I was super stoked!

What activities do you like to do outside of work?

I really enjoy surfing, though the water in California is super cold! I also enjoy playing piano (very poorly), and hanging out with friends and family. I also play basketball and rock climb.

What advice or encouragement would you give others seeking a similar career?

Pay attention to what fuels you! Do you enjoy helping others learn? That's great, and means you might be interested in instructional design! Now ask yourself: how do you enjoy helping others learn? By showing them in person, in a one-on-one or small group setting? This means you're more interested in facilitation, or ILT (instructor led training). Or do you enjoy writing things or recording videos for large groups of people to be able to watch anywhere? That may mean you're more interested in computer-based learning. Also pay attention to what it is you like to teach - cooking? Sports? Instructional designers can teach any kind of topic or subject you can think of, but they all have one thing in common - a passion for education.

CurioCity Careers

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Let’s Talk Science is pleased to provide you with this information as you explore future career options. Many careers require a background in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Even jobs that don’t use specific STEM concepts on a day-to-day basis benefit from the skills gained through a study of STEM. People with a STEM background are very much in demand by employers across all career sectors. If you would like to learn about more careers that have a STEM connection, visit

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