UX and Career Tips I've Gotten in 2019
Before Covid-19 shut down the world in February/March 2020, we were able to go to meetups events in person (remember those?). In 2019, when I decided to become a UX Designer, I began going to several events. I would try to go to one a week so I can not only learn but be involved with the local NYC UX community. I met some awesome people along the way.
Each of those events, I took in everything I could. I never had eaten so much pizza in such a short span of time or been to so many tech offices before. At each one, I would daydream about working there while waiting in line for aforementioned pizza. I would gawk at everything from desks, to ceilings and being impressed with bathrooms like a tourist at Times Square (forgive me, for I have committed a NYer sin). I could hear Aladdin’s “A Whole New World” in my head.
But once I got out of my momentary mental musical, I would write notes. Today, I would like to share the notes I had with you in case you missed the event back in 2019. I’ll try my best to put down the name of the event, who hosted, presenters and my notes in case you want to look any of these people/organizations up later. Some of this you may already know and some of this may be new to you.
Now, I present to you my UX and Career Tips from 2019:
Hosted By: DesignX
Topic: Selling UX in your Company
Panelists: Natalie Blair and 2 others (I forgot to write it down)
- Storytelling is important. It makes things memorable.
- Getting your peers on board improves the success rate of selling the design/project.
- User Research is important and helps with validating the design choices.
- Fall in love with the problem. Get really into it to understand it and provide better solutions.
- There’s more than one solution to the problems.
- Know when to pick your battles.
- Education/educating people can be helpful to your choices.
- Learn to speak business language with executive stakeholders.
- Design to iterate.
- Radical Candor by Kim Scott
- The Making of a Manager by Julie Zhou
- Inmates are running the asylum by Alan Cooper
- Designing for the digital age by Kim Goodwin
Places to Check Out:
Hosted By: Mona Patel/Motivate Design Agency
Topic: Empathy Jam
Panelists: Mona Patel
- Questions are key.
- Get into the wild. Get into what’s real. Use that to inspire you.
- Think of conversational based research.
- Stories are powerful.
- When you find an insight, go deeper.
- Ask more questions.
- Don’t let anyone dull your shine.
Hosted By: DesignX
Topic: Scaling Design Culture using Design Ops
Panelists: David Malouf
- Think about Value.
- How, as a designer, would you want to be valued?
- Outcomes over outputs.
- How do we move from generating stuff to where we impact business?
- Strategy adds to value proposition.
- There is value in creativity.
- Design Thinking = Design Doing
- The Value of Design:
- Involving others in the design process.
- The goal is that this brings clarity to the project.
To Scale Design:
- Befriend the COO to make things happen.
Unit of Operations:
- What are the things we need to do to provide value?
- Create a culture that will provide the energy to amplify the design team there.
Topic: Design Career Paths
Panelists: Natalie Blair and other Panelists
- Find work that you enjoy and not because you’re good at it.
- Never stop taking risks.
- Find ways to generate creative output.
- However shitty, just do your best with it. The goodwill you leave behind, pays you back.
- Reach out [to companies] and show your interest to them. They may be looking.
- Highlight what you do, what you do well and what you liked to do.
- Be more direct about what you’re looking for.
- Aspire to keep you portfolio up to date.
- Do case studies/keynotes/pdfs of what you’re doing if possible.
- Don’t show NDA work to competitors, ever.
Stepping into Leadership
- As a leader, your job is to take the failures but when it comes to success, it’s for the team.
Learning and Growth
- Consume Articles.
- Being uncomfortable and dealing with tension leads to growth.
- Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
- Have a Growth Mindset.
- Consider what your superpower is. For some, its gaining people’s trust and connecting.
- Put yourself in your work/portfolio.
- Have an opinion, a strong opinion.
- Don’t do unpaid internships!
- All feedback is valuable feedback.
- Success is different to everyone.
Hosted By: Spotify and Jopwell (Job Agency for Latinx, Black and Native Americans)
Topic: Designers and Hispanic Heritage Month
Panelists: I didn’t get their names, sorry but they all worked at Spotify
- The goal is to make the user feel like Spotify knows you but not in a creepy way.
- Work for a disruptor, they will work to get you.
- Ask questions, you never know what ideas you can trigger.
- Stay humble, be yourself and help when you can.
- Don’t be afraid to be annoying.
- Your network is your net worth.
- Don’t be afraid to be human.
- Be your own advocate.
- Beat imposter syndrome with data.
- Add up all the good you’ve done that day to counter those negative thoughts.
- Stay positive but try to go above and beyond.
- When it comes to diversity in tech, they need to see it to be it.
- We need to refer to each other and help each other rise up.
- Answer the call and learn your worth from those who know you.
Hosted By: Beginex (My bootcamp Alma Mater)
Topic: Transitioning into UX Design
Panelists: I didn’t get their names but they were alumni of the bootcamp
- Make sure that your personality fits the role.
- If you care a lot about learning, empathy and improving things then it’s for you.
- Learn to keep track of details/the flow of the product.
- Be a good listener and have good Emotional Intelligence (EQ).
- Know how to find information.
- Show real empathy to your users and convey that to your stakeholders.
- Learn about the full process.
- Be a good communicator.
- Be curious and patient.
- Bring wrong isn’t bad.
- Constantly stay learning.
- Problem Framing:
- Solving the right problems from the right people.
- Learn to synthesize and figure out patterns.
- Start practicing what interests you (This panelist used learnux.io).
- I learned via Baptism by Fire.
- Do project based learning.
- Keep educating yourself in whatever you’re interested in.
- Look into a study guide.
- Validate your prototypes with real people.
- Find terrible websites of companies, work on it and show it to those companies.
- Stop redesigning Spotify and help a local non-profit.
- Apply yourself during and after you end your study/bootcamp.
- Hustle and seek out opportunities.
- Go on Linkedin.
- Ask Friends, Family, Friends of Friends if they need any UX or UI work done for their business, site or anything.
- Look into Business Networking groups instead to find work/clients.
What do Employers Look For?
- Someone who’s curious, a collaborator and try to filter your past experiences for this new role.
- Consider who’s looking at it.
- Give bullet points on the benefits you’ve provided to your current/previous companies.
- If you’re in a team, highlight your part.
- Elaborate your process and why you went with what you did.
- Know your audience and be concise with the information.
- Have 2-3 solid case studies (3 would be best).
- Highlight your personality.
- Make sure your work is scannable.
- Good Portfolio+Good Resume+Personality+Good Pitch = Higher Success Rate
Effective Strategies for Networking
- Put yourself out there (social media, blogging, in person)
- Do a talk (10 mins) in front of a non-UX group.
- Join Toast Masters if you need help with public speaking.
- Go to meetups and network events, especially ones out of the UX realm. This helps with getting facetime.
- Slack Groups
- Winning Hackathons
- Reaching out to/Finding Recruiters (Aquent, Creative Circle, Creative Group, etc).
- Volunteer at meetup groups/conferences.
So far that’s all I have from my notes but I hope you found any of this useful or inspiring. If there’s anything you’d like to share, please put them in the comments below! Thanks for reading.