23 essential tips for UX newbies
This holiday season I gathered some of the best advice that experienced UXers wish they knew when they started. I hope this will give you some focus and motivation ready to start the new year!
Seek constant feedback and present your work as often as possible.
Be driven. Never stop trying to self improve.
Get good at storytelling. You need to be able to tell stories about yourself and your work. Let people know why you care about design so much that you want to turn it into a career.
Don’t give up. Find the niche you are really passionate about and pursue it. There are plenty of people in this industry who will appreciate your passion and pay you for it.
You know less than you think you know and that is okay. No one expects senior-level portfolio for a junior/entry level position. They’re aware that you’re still learning and they accept it. At least the companies that you should want to be a part of do so. Stop comparing and apply.
There is no such thing as failing if you take each move as an opportunity to learn.
The culture of the company and their acceptance of design are super important. Make sure you have a champion or the job is just a set up for failure.
Read more current material on it (Medium posts by thought leaders vs books)
It’s 100% about people. Being kind, helpful, hardworking, and genuine at each workplace is vital.
Really understand the principles of good design, interaction patterns, usability guidelines, user psychology and have a strong opinion about what good UX is or what makes a good product.
Always build in time to improve your skills and work on new projects, even if they are made up projects for made up companies (volunteer projects are great for real world experience, too.) Don’t get stuck in the drudgery of job hunting every day — break it up with developing and improving skills if you can! Every new skill you learn gets you closer to being paid for the work you’re doing already.
Make sure your portfolio has case studies explaining how you got there, not just examples of the finished product.
Create and update your Resume and Portfolio regularly (e.g. every 3 months). It’s often required and way easier to do it like that than in one “big bang way”.
There's lots of people out there willing to help you — reach out, you never know what might happen
Networking is more important than you think. Go do it.
Make sure you have a solid portfolio, don’t just show off the finished work but document the process too!
Not everything is perfect first time and that's ok, keep taking action towards your goals and each time you do something you’ll get closer
Don’t let people put your skills and interests in a box: always strive for the exact kind of design work you want to do
Treat every job application as a design process: consider your audience, do your research and get feedback
Nothing happens as quickly as it looks on social media. Keep going, it will work.
A company’s approach towards user testing often coincidences with it’s attitude towards personal development. If it only gives lip service to the former, it will likely also not follow through on the latter.
Embrace the challenges that come with working in a non-design centric organization, but always focus on improving your own skillset and knowledge.