5 Tips to Scale Your UX Professional Growth
Resources to help you plan and develop your career trajectory in the UX industry.
The UX industry is experiencing substantial growth with multiple professionals joining the sector. The number of workers pursuing a career at associate rates exceeds the number of available positions, making this sought-after starting point ever-more difficult to reach.
But what happens once you’re in?
Although the role of “associate” can sometimes be tricky, it’s a worthwhile experience. Here, a few tips and resources for anyone looking to rise from an associate to a user experience designer in UX and some interesting feats of UX mid-level.
When you’re a collaborator, it’s a great time to build ties with and learn from more experienced designers. Development needs to be self-aware and analytical about your strengths and weaknesses.
Soliciting feedback will help you to identify blind spots and receive guidance towards a tool that can improve your progress. Not to mention: it’s also beneficial to obtain some positive feedback.
Having a manager, a trustworthy coworker or a mentor who can look at your work and provide this input in invaluable. If you are so blessed to get input from strangers, take it graciously. The ability to reflect on this constructive feedback, and to create an action plan around it, if necessary, can be your map and compass in the next process.
Resources for finding a UX mentor:
Although this won’t come as a surprise, as a UX designer, you must stay up-to-date outside of the workplace, too. It’s part of the practice to read, listen to podcasts or watch videos of new technology, resources and studies. Online tutorials and courses offer great basic insights, help build or enhance UX skills. You will never be successful if you never shy away from knowing. To inspire and sustain design trends, use content aggregation websites such as Dribbble, Flipboard and Product Hunt.
As someone who likes to read, I decided to study in the field. I applied to Bentley’s master’s program of human factors in information design with a little over a year of experience. The courses are highly useful for my everyday work. While research and studies are sometimes difficult to manage, there are enough synergies between them to make it worthwhile.
Tools to help you to learn UX:
Engage with the UX group
Another way to evolve is through immersion. When the opportunity arises, attend UX workshops and conferences. Even if you’re on the shy side, it’s worth the effort to introduce yourself to activities or volunteer. You will learn something new and you will get to know the UX community in your field over time.
It may be daunting at first, but taking measures to help with activities can make communicating and working with others easier for you. In addition to increasing your professional network, you’ll also have additional opportunities to learn and build various areas of expertise. Your feed for LinkedIn and Slack will be filled with great insights and resources to help you grow.
UX online groups to engage with:
Being a Mentor
Mentoring is incredibly worthwhile and a perfect way to develop your key skills. As a UX designer, you know plenty about helping those who want to join the industry. While you still have these feelings of fear and excitement about beginning down a new road, you are in the best position to mentor others who want to join the profession.
You might be surprised to realize how much you know already and how your knowledge can influence anyone who wants to take the first steps.
Effective tools required to become a mentor:
Speed up your progress
Once I approached the industry for advice it became obvious that changing jobs is the best way to advance your UX career. By getting experience in several different posts, you can develop your expertise quicker by handling new challenges and collaborating with new professionals.
It’s also a strategy worth considering if you want to advance in your current company but would like to improve your skills first — then you can return and campaign for a higher position.