Advise on next steps in my UX career


#1

Hi everyone,

I’ve recently transitioned into UX, and did the General Assembly UX Immersive course this time last year and completed it in August. Since then, I have been working at a Design agency and have been working here for 6 months now. I still think there is so much for me to learn, and I’m due to have a catch up with my boss to discuss next steps.

I know that most of what I will learn is through experience, but I want to actively learn and develop so wondered does anyone have any advice or tips on what they think some good next steps would be.

Thanks! =)


#2

Hey Sandra,
Great question. Are you actively working as a UX practitioner or are you doing other forms of design?


#3

I’m actively working as a UX practitioner - I’ve been involved in User researcher and Design, I’ve even run some user testing sessions on my own =)


#4

Nice one. :slight_smile:

Are there areas that you’d like to branch out into?

I suspect that @AshleaMcKay might be a good person to help you with ideas here.


#5

Hi @HAWK, I think because I am still so new I’m keen to try a bit of everything and not focus on just research or design.

I’ve found a few courses on Lynda to develop my hard skills, and I’ve subscribed to a few blogs/articles too to try and learn as much as I can.

A few senior practitioners I’ve spoken to have said that a lot of what they learnt was through experience but I was hoping I could do take some initiative and do some other things too but not sure what.


#6

Hi Sandra,

On the job learning is awesome!

Before you meet with your boss, it would be a good idea to have a bit of a brainstorm about what it is you’d like to learn first so that you can discuss something more concrete with them. I’m guessing there’s a lot of interesting things you’re keen to sink your teeth into but you’ll have to choose a starting point at least :slight_smile:

You could approach this by listing tools/techniques/methodologies you haven’t tried yet and seeing if anything stands out to you right now.

Have a look around your team and see if there are any projects that other people are working on that interest you and that you think you might be able to add value to by joining and gain value from through learning.

You could look at this from a skills gap perspective - either to broaden your skill set by learning new things or deepen it by gaining more experience in things you’ve already touched upon. At this stage in your career, I don’t think there’s a right or wrong place to start - you could even just pick something you like the look of and try it out!

Talking to your boss about it is great but like you said you’ll also have to take initiative and drive your on the job learning yourself. I’ve been where you are and learned that asking for on the job learning and ‘stretch assignments’ wasn’t always enough. I needed to actually pursue and create those opportunities for myself by offering to help out with other projects, taking on observer roles in other people’s research projects to experience that different perspective and I also started blogging about my experiences and thoughts on UX which opened a lot of doors that helped me grow and still does. I’m self-employed now and it can all be traced back to one article that I wrote 4 years ago.

When talking to your boss, you’ll also need to consider and communicate what they’ll get out of helping you grow in the way that you’d like to- what’s in it for them? (beyond having a more skilled employee). Look at the goals of the team and the organisation and work out how what you’re looking for aligns to that. What are their plans for the future and what part can you play to help them get there?


#7

Hi @sandra

I hope you’re well.

This is not really a tip as such, but I have read a range of articles recently discussing the advantages of being a UX generalist, AKA a ‘UX Unicorn’.

They may be of interest and maybe will highlight some areas for development as mentioned by @AshleaMcKay :

https://articles.uie.com/becoming_a_unicorn/?subscribe=success#subscribe


#8

If you want to know what skills to work on, look online on any job board and browse for ux jobs in your area. Look at a few job descriptions and take note of what skills/tools/experience they are looking for. That’s what you need to work on now.


#9

One thing I like to do, alluded to by others in this thread, is to think about what do I want to do in my next job? Do I want to work in a specific industry, a particular company culture, etc? Then I read those job descriptions and look at my gaps and make a plan to address them. Since this is your first job, it’s probably a little of everything. :slight_smile: But if you could be known as the designer that does x, what would x be?

Hope that helps!


#10

Thanks @AshleaMcKay! Super helpful! :slight_smile: