Do you have a professional roadmap and where on that path are you currently?


#1

We spend a lot of time thinking about who our audience is and what content will best support the needs of that audience.

When we launched this community we focused pretty strongly on supporting beginners who were getting started in their UX careers.

Those of you that joined us then are now further down the track with your careers and your needs are different now. Our reader’s survey gave us a lot of amazing feedback around content ideas, and I’m trying to gauge how we can use the collective power of our community (predominantly these forums) to support you further.

If you have any thoughts about how we could support you in your current career, I’d love to hear them. What challenges do you face now that you’ve earned your stripes?


#2

Hey Hawk,

When I first started out, I did have a roadmap/plan thing but circumstances changed and it kind of just went out the window.

Halfway through university (2010) I found a brochure for a government department offering graduate roles for designers so that was the plan and I joined that graduate program at the start of 2013.

During my grad year I developed a plan for my professional development and I was on track until just before the end of my grad year when a hiring freeze hit the entire public service and my plan was no longer viable.

I pretty much just threw the plan out and the plan became to not have a formal plan. I just went with the flow and learned as much as I could and set out on a mission to find and connect with UX people outside of government- I found you guys about six months later. I found that interacting with people outside of my environment enriched my thinking and my non-plan based career became very people focussed. I found the most important thing to me in my career was the people I worked with.

I stopped over thinking things too- a lot of my stripe earning achievements have come from simply living in the moment and talking to interesting people. The opportunity to write professionally came three days after I randomly tweeted something at someone.

I’ve just left my government job and I’m about to embark on an adventure in a new job in the private sector and I’m really excited about that will bring.

I still have many, many stripes to earn and I think the biggest challenge for me now is developing a deeper level of expertise and growing my technical capability. I also need to start developing the beginnings of the manager and leader stuff in preparation for the future.

Ashlea


#3

Thanks for the insights Ash, that’s really valuable. When you say your technical capability, do you mean coding or something less specific? I like your reference to the leader stuff. There might be some interesting things there that we can investigate.


#4

Hey @HAWK

Nothing specific. I am currently pulling a list together of what I’m missing/haven’t done much of - for example I haven’t had a lot of practice with accessibility stuff or another example would be that I’ve never done a diary study before.

I’ll share that list with you when I’ve got it :slight_smile:


#5

I like the idea of listing things/activities you haven’t done much of. Need to do this myself. :slight_smile:

Going off on a tangent, I was recently thinking about how to pull together “mini-challenges” that can be used to improve/maintain UX skills. It’d be something similar to the Daily Programmer subreddit (https://www.reddit.com/r/dailyprogrammer). The last several interviews I’ve had included completing a set challenge to solve and present. While I know there’s a question of ethics surrounding this practice, I actually found myself enjoying doing the exercises - they were stimulating and I got to create apps and websites I’ve yet to tackle on a real-world project.

Perhaps there could be a way to crowdsource project ideas for designers to work on, then share and critique each other’s results?


#6

I love this idea @Mortvia – I’m looking for some interesting community building ideas.
I wonder how we could make something like that work on a small scale here. Any thoughts?

Great to see you back BTW. How’s life?


#7

I’m doing great - thanks for asking @HAWK! If I’ve played my cards right, I may have a full-time IA job in the not too distant future. :slight_smile:

The hardest part would be creating the project challenges, I think. It’s not like teaching math where you’d have an answer book to check student’s work. But perhaps a brainstorming session could yield a few ideas?


#8

That’s awesome news. If it all works out, make sure you tell us about it!