Navigating Your UX Career — From Early Growth to the Fork In the Road
Jabali Williams and Sunny Stueve presented “Navigating Your UX Career — From Early Growth to the Fork In the Road” at UX Camp: Home Edition on Saturday, June 13th. Enjoy!
The following transcript may contain typographical errors. Please forgive any mistakes!
Alright, so yes, we’re here to help you navigate, give you some perspectives on how we each got to where we are in our career, and then hopefully have time to answer some questions for you guys, and we will… I could figure out how to change sides bad UX.
We’ll start with some introductions and a little bit of an icebreaker, so I am sunny TVI, I massacre with you group in the Washington DC area, and for the last 22 years, almost now, I have been primarily designing and developing in the government space, which is strange since I’m only 20, so I got very very…
So who is my UX role model? As I did when I was coming at, UX was not a formally named field, it was there in practice, but not in name, so I cheated a little bit, I had to look back and look at what was that initial spark? That started my interest in UX, and I also cheated by choosing a team.
So three people, Don Ray Rice, Bill Heineman, and Paul Dillon burger. Who the heck are these people?
These are the three teachers that created Oregon Trail in 1971, so they were mad designers, they were not programmers, they were wrapping their teaching education, and Don had to teach the Westward Expansion of the US, and he started it by designing a physical board game, but laptop at it… And they had just taken what I can assume to be one of the very first basic programming courses in 1971, and they thought it would be a really good candidate for a computer game.
So the very, very first version of Organ trail did not have a screen, it was an electronic teletype writer that connected to a phone line, and the computer could give students different scenarios and they would type in their responses, and then they would hear that their whole family died of yellow fever or whatever the case was. By the time I was playing Oregon Trail, there was a screen. And I remember being so curious about not only how to build a game like that, but knowing that I can definitely draw a better wagon and a better oxen, I think it sparked both my coding in my design, and my father has had a computer company since the 1980s, and my mother was a painter, so I’ve always had one foot in computer science and one foot in design, and looking back on it, I think that it really got me excited, figure out how these edutainment games were created, and then how I could improve the design of them. So that was… That’s my inspiration.
Is that is arising.
Not to my tree that… There you go.
So I Benedict of UX group and also have 20 years of experience. For me, about 10 of it was in architecture, engineering, I started my career off actually that’s in designing buildings and working on engineering structural side of things before transitioning into the creator space and eventually naturally evolving into the US space.
So for me, I… A slide, different approach. I did some of the same things sunny did when answering my X-roode was the kid, I went Googling looking for things that were inventive that I really appreciated to get a stance to who the person behind it was, and ultimately I landed kind of at what I felt like was very true in near and dear to my heart, which was while Kitty and The Road Runner, I felt like he is one of the earliest inspirations of UX for me, because he clearly had very defined goal that he was trying to accomplish. Every episode he came out and started with hypothesis, he did a lot of research, he was clearly a very good rapid prototyping and would ultimately develop multiple different ways of trying to accomplish… Is his state of task… And he was also pretty good, a visual storytelling, he was… He would… Without saying much, you give a previous an idea of what he was trying to accomplish, and as he took a decently agile approach, things where we fail early and often, and I always go back to the table to prototype something different, he maybe wasn’t the best executor or designer probably need to partner in order to give the entire thing, pushed the completion, but I think he did a good job of really otherwise, follow with decent amount of the UX process and methodology mentality, an already gifting going the right way.
So what do you… And Carlos is my you as a role at a light.
Alright, perfect. So why are we here today? Why are we talking about how to navigate to a UX career? I think something pretty important is, the great thing about coming to these spaces, what this conference allows for when you go to meet-ups and industry-specific events is it really get a chance to understand, to fill, optimistic about the state of the discipline, in the direction the osmium of the discipline. But in reality, a lot of us are still working in environments, the US is not as valued as you’d like it to be, and it’s pretty mature in a lot of places, and so when you think about the age of UX is compared to being a lawyer or a doctor or anything else.
It’s still very young, and what that means is a lot of… You haven’t gone to enough of iterations of success and failure of past, so people won’t really understand exactly how to approach a career and have it be kind of an agreed upon as a near… The method I…
I think about the fact that not a lawyer, but I have friends who are lawyers, and I can probably tell you the two pretty widely accepted pats to how to become a successful lawyer, whether it becomes worked for the DA’s office, then become a manager, then go private could get more money or otherwise you can… People, the defender, or you can go and become a judge, like the pass a pretty clearly understood.
But for us, it’s not a state, so it makes it harder when you’re in the middle of your career to understand what skills need to require, which is the right relationships to build, and then ultimately which roles are gonna… That actually help you see your own A… So Polly and I were talking about how we wanted to approach this and we have varied backgrounds between the two of us, and there’s not one possible solution here, so we decided to kind of break it up and take sides and argue from our experiences, knowing that UX as a named informal practice in field is young, it is the… Within the community, have varying definitions for things and descriptions for things, and very, very strong opinions, and like I said, we two divergent paths, but rich Bally and I have each been successful, so hopefully you… Something that we say resonates with you and hopefully we’re able to answer some questions and inspire you along the way, so we’re gonna begin with phase one in the foundation, when you’re getting that education and the skills you’re working with different teams and collaborating with the community, so education, so right off the bat, we’re not assuming that you have an advanced degree at the foundation level of your education, but this is more directed at a question that Bali each get frequently, which is, should I spend time and effort getting UX specific certifications, or if I have that time and resources. Should I pursue a more general advance degree and my side, I go for the advanced degree, and I do have the notes because I’m a human being who gets nervous as stand… We move by the Olean switch between screens.
So I went for my MBA after I had my minor in Computer Science and graphic arts, and it brought a lot of things together for me when it came to my UX work, it gave me the ability to make decisions based off of data and then communicate the impact of those decisions to the business… And that was really missing for me. I knew how to gather qualitative data from users and incorporated into Intuitive designs, I knew how long it took to code those designs and those UIs, but saying, This is what the users want, or this design is clean, didn’t necessarily win the business over and get us approval.
But after my MBA, I’m able to put the data and measurement into context, so I’m able to say, this design is more efficient, we’ve measured it and it saves each one of your users as seconds for records, and when we look across your user base, that ends up being the equivalent of four full-time workers, so that’s four people you could hire if we went with this design, and that’s something that really resonates with decision-makers because they need data and to understand the impact and our goal as UX RS is, of course to solve a problem for the end user in a way that’s technically feasible, but with data that the business can make decisions off, additionally, a more general higher level degree helps you understand things outside of your craft at a deeper level, and this can help set you up to pivot later in your career, you can decide that you want to manage a team, that you want to manage a program, or that you wanna teach, so it definitely the investment in that pays off for a very long time and… Yeah, advanced degree.
Okay, so it seems like you were basically telling people to start their career with the intention to even when they sell out and abandon UX. And so here’s what you need to do to make sure that you can successfully do that. So I went kind of a different route, so I think I speak a lot for those individuals who kind of evolved in the UX, coming from different disciplines that were more stable at the time, and then we kind of became the thing, I think going for the industry specific training, Strang schools or the certifications, does a lot to really separate yourself from the learn on-the-job type of UX, old coming from a place where I understood the mentality, understood the methodology, understood a lot of the goals, but I didn’t know some of the terminology I didn’t know exactly how you do a thing, I was doing the thing, and they really know it was called at time, and so using an opportunity to go back and get some of those foundational methods and such approaches a year built is really helpful, especially because so many of the design leaders today really came from other spaces, it allows you to bring some authenticity to the field, but I think additionally, just sort of speaking from any recruiters that are out there, is it makes you some a marketable as far as… If you’ve ever done any government contract work, they will ask for very specific certifications and very specific, interesting steps of skills in order to put you forward on contracts, order with work, and having some of those different certifications will make you look good to a hiring manager at times because they know they can put you on proposals and it’ll log you win more work. And then the third piece is that, because we’re talking about the fact that X is still pretty young, and a lot of you might find yourself in places where at a junior to mid-level, you’re still being required to be a UX or one kind of really speaking for the discipline, having a much more confidence in all the different tools and a much bigger sort tool belt to pull from will make you a lot more effective and being able to evangelize us throughout your organization, and it will also make you more flexible and they have the ability to be more scalable, your approach when you have an X and the cracks at it otherwise is an open what enough to fit into. So that’s why I would say in school would be more a… The… Okay, so to very intentionally flip the entire script on each one of our arguments, we look at what skills to build, so I’ll say that if you’re using my pathway, because I’ve already started by developing by achieving new appropriate foundation of an actual UX background is understanding methodology as opposed to going the other route, I think the on-the-job training is definitely time to where you should really focus in on your communication skills, looking for those opportunities to add that to your baseline is extremely important, and I think a couple of different recommendations as far as how to go about doing it is to… For a lot of people talk about us, and I will definitely agree is to genuinely taking in process to improve class in order to really comfortable thinking on the fly, make any the attention of an audience in comfortable moderating and also looking at… Looking for opportunities to teach, I think teaching gives you a chance to sit in front of a captive audience, it was also very ready and willing to challenge anything that you say, which could very much mimic what you would otherwise finding a client engagement and worksite moderation things that you need just skills for moving forward, and so for me, communication skills are the most important thing to add, especially on the job as you start building your career, because stakeholder engagement is very into the part of your work in your process, and so putting the efforts there is gonna be freely important because people… Engagement is pretty important, you still need to have communications to make that work.
Very valid, very valid.
I feel that focusing on developing your technical skills during that foundation stage is really key, being able to roll up your sleeves and get to work and design quickly and iterate and research and measure and understand technical constraints from a development team as you’re designing is gonna allow you to get your work done more efficiently and effectively, and then it’s gonna be a give you more hands-on experience where you’re failing and trying again and growing, and through out your UX career, you’re gonna have to be a constant learner, a lifelong learner, because there are all sorts of UX tools and approaches right now on the market, and they’re changing all the time, and you may find yourself in a situation where there are constraints on what tools you could use, either because of the environment you work in, or just client access to things, and you need to be able to be flexible and have the technical sale to pick up those new skills and run with them, so you’ll learn communication, technical focus on the technical.
And that leaves us into where to align yourself within an organization, and I of course, take the tech team or align yourself more with that tech lead, and this is where the work is excite. It is really exciting because you’re collaborating on the details of how to accomplish goals, product owners are gonna throw out goals, who knows where they came from, who knows if they’re valid, who knows if the user even needs them, but if you’re integrated with the tech team, you can interpret those goals within the realm of technical constraints, and then know that you’re doing designs and architecting user experiences that are going to solve user problems, and being in those day-to-day successes and challenges are really rewarding, especially at the foundation stage of your career, and being able to make the calls on your UX process and what’s being measured is an exciting and you’ve gotta be with the tech team to be able to do that.
I appreciate that you led anyway, a couple jabot owner to come off a little bit, but I’m gonna stay the course. I think the answer is in the title like owner is product ones of can often on both the vision of the project and the client relationship, and that’s a very important place to align yourself, I think as a user on the in partition to really genuinely be empowered to drive decision making and crack user experience at every step along the pathway, which is Concept to execution, all the way to validation, it’s really important to have the product owner on your side because they ultimately might be the person to either communicate some of your ideas to the client or give you access to the client, which is important to a lot of… You communicate your own, but even in a bigger way, I think the idea of usability testing, recruiting users, access to users, whether they be internal to the organization, or if you want access to somebody social in order to release a survey or any online testing to their channel, you wanna be able to have an opportunity to build a relationships, in a lot of cases, the product owner is the person who can facilitate that communication, and so being able to live yourself to the person who ultimately is responsible for correcting division, deciding which things you prioritized or not, and then ultimately ensuring that access to users is readily available, it’s gonna be the most important thing to impact the UX.
All good points.
Alright, so let’s see, phase two, so you’ve gotten in education, you’re required some skills, and you made some connections with people, now you wanna find your happy place, let’s talk about how you promote yourself and lay your dream job or opportunity, and the first area is gonna be in creating your portfolio, so this is an easy age-old argument of, do you lean more on the aesthetic or on the written when you’re any trading of a portfolio, we’ve all heard all the… How many projects that you showed… You only show work that’s alive, do you show how old should your work be, what are the different ways when we… You go about a protein, so for me, I’m gonna absolutely cheat here and say that the case study approach as far as what you’re trying to accomplish when you use the case study is something that we should all consider aside fault is a requirement. Meaning, you need to be able to show process, show intention, goals, and so your outcomes. But I think if you wanna really have an opportunity to wow someone as far as your ability to use your visual story-telling skills and all accomplish that, if the better you can do that with the less amount of words, I think the more impact you will have on the person that’s on view in your work.
If I see somebody who can basically in a series of pictures show me all of the things that somebody else might have been able to accomplish in a reform, I’m gonna be extremely impressed, their skill set in the understanding of the marriage between how visual A to I speak to approach. And so I think that piece is Excel important also allows you consider the reviewer is the time and efficiency, if I’m reviewing 50 portfolios in a day, I would much appreciate being able to skim through a quicker and not have to lead 8100 I case studies on I’m trying to understand why you did what you did and what your ultimate… Which ultimately accomplished. So those are the main created emotional connection, if you do that really well, using visuals always gives you that additional opportunity to create a connection with the person that’s reviewing your work, and that opportunity is something that is hard to accomplish it time sometimes using a lot of good. enfor, I agree, it’s important. It’s just not the best way. I think as user is the most impactful way to show our work is through case studies, because you wanna be able to showcase the research, a porch that guides your decision-making, as well as the visual designs that were produced. And this is really the best way to show that you can understand and break down problems and explore the various solutions, measure for the best approach, and then design a first class outcome, and additionally, you wanna be able to show that you can concisely articulate the entire process to an audience that may have varying degrees of technical or design background, and it doesn’t have to be pages in pages long, but it does need to show that you’re not applying for a visual design job, you’re applying for a UX job, and that goes beyond visual design, and in fact, when we’re designing for accessibility, visual design is sometimes it’s not even on the table, so case study all the way, the end, I went to go in. So that moves us into… Sorry, after tobacco quick, it’s afraid. I clicked twice, building out that personal brand, what is the best way to go about that, what’s the best audiences to Target or to the best of her, and I really feel like it is a building out an online presence, and whether that’s your own portfolio on your own website or it’s through social media, this is the best way because it reaches a wider audience and it has a longer shelf life, and it gives you the control to build it out over time, which can really show the group of your craft and your skills in your career, and it lets you connect to wider communities, not just the ones that are interested in a specific conference focus, and we all know that people at conferences are really boring, just getting to getting… Just getting to value.
Oh, that was a good… When I was gonna lead with something to talk about our siding, corpses were… And you just sort of put that.
I think this is a good conversation because of the fact that I think the back and forth, the differences pros in college between the two are pretty clear, and so yes, you can reach mass audiences quickly, but I think there’s a lot to be said about how to meaningful, the connections to be from being in person or attending or in the past would be in person, being a confides in, having that one-on-one kind of conversations with people, and so while the only princess thing might be sort of achieving easy way to reach the masses, I’ve always remember a face I met at a conference or meet-up, especially those I see multiple Conference, so being pretty diligent and putting yourself in all the right places in multiple different times, especially because it takes a little bit more effort to get to more conferences and in wood to make certain posts or people on non-presence going, there’s a lot of brand authority that comes behind that because it’s an assumption that you are… It feels like it might be, and some it might just be perception that it takes more effort to end 15 conferences in a year than it does to post a 100 times in a year, and so even if that’s not true for that person from the user standpoint, they might not understand that. And so if I see a lot of the same people at the same place, I started to believe, this person must never be really well-supported, which means somebody believes in them, they must be an expert in their field or something, because I keep seeing them in all the spaces that I wanna find myself in, and it helps out by giving me giving a lot of showing brand perception around individual… So I think taking the time out to do the age-old thing, a meaningful one-on-one in-person conversations is still a valuable skill set in today’s is a… Okay, okay, so this one… Let’s see, this one was fun because I kinda disagree with my own approach when I… A, I’m gonna argue. Anyway, so no, we’re talking about first in pressing, I think I’ll say I disagree, but actually what I mean is I’ll speak from the standpoint, but this is not what I do on in my career, is actually when I get wrong in my career, so I can learn from the thing that I messed up on. And so the idea of attracting or attending to the recruiter as opposed to the hiring manager, I think the first step is definitely as a UX or when you think about your resume or your portfolio, being very fully aware that the first person it you… It might receive that in the organization, might not have the technical knowledge or the design savvy, whatever, to appreciate some of the things that you’re leaning in or… It’s something you have to actually take into account. They are the gatekeeper, the to whatever role you’re trying to accomplish it, so you wanna make sure that you conceded them initially, because you might not even have an opportunity to get in front of the hiring manager without appropriately presenting yourself well to the recruiter. And so you also have to think about the fact that a lot of them use screen readers to scan resumes and Reni looking for ways into your keywords are very clear, so they can match whatever your skill set in values are with the requirements of the job. Very easily without having the technical savvy to do so, but I think a couple of other important reasons to just make relationships with recruiters in general, is that they have access to their future opportunities, whether it be within the organization you’re applying for, or because they have such very strong networks typically. And if they know another recruiter and other jobs, the easy, which I’ve had people say, Well, let me pass my resume to a friend of mine is also Recruiter, and they, I think have an opportunity to be right for… This happened multiple times, and so I think while you might feel like you a little bit more line with the hiring manager and it’s easier conversation, the recruiter gives you an opportunity to really… If the goal is networking and finding jobs, they’re probably the best person to align you with opportunities, jobs and those get keepers that can otherwise fine you Liga.
It’s funny because abelian, I agree with each other on most of these, and then I do, absolutely building out connections with recruiters is fantastic, but once you’ve really narrowed in on a role that you’re very excited about or a company that you really wanna work with, it’s all about the hiring manager, they are the ones that you really wanna connect with because they know exactly what they’re hiring for, and hopefully they also have an idea of the wider business needs in their company, and so this is where you really wanna articulate your skills and your strengths, but also the areas that you wanna grow into over the next couple of years, because this can tell a hiring manager how well you fit their current needs, but also how well you can help them achieve some of their longer-term business goals. So definitely, if the recruiter can get you in the door, but then focus in on that hiring manager, do research about the company, to research about the manager themselves, and then make sure that you’re presenting your whole self to them so that they get a better idea of how you fit in. Currently and long-term.
So I see these three, the realization, and I’m quite sure that we’re used to be talking about bringing it all together, the realization of all of our skills and experience, but what it can feel like is that deep sadness of realizing… This wasn’t at all what I thought I was gonna be when I grew up, or what I thought that my path was gonna be, or what the craft was gonna look like now, and so you’re at your mid-late portion of your career and you’re deciding where do I go, what do I wanna specialize in? What type of organization do I, when I work in or do I wanna create? And then what’s the next summit… What’s that elevation?
And I… So as far as specialization, I strongly feel that our ship focus on research and data, and I’m sure I’ve already said data multiple lines during this… So you know my feelings on this. But when we are talking about the leader stages of our career, we’re talking about, again, bringing it all together and being able to look past today’s goals out into the future, a longer term roadmap, and what’s gonna get you there is being able to research what’s worked for others, what hasn’t, what new technologies and approaches are out there and what opportunities do they bring, and how can we measure the opportunities while thinking about risk and reward as we’re getting older, and what does that mean if we take on… We’ll start our own business, become a private consultant, and in order to do that, we need to gather data and we need hypotheses to work against, and then the skills to be able to communicate the impact, whether that’s to a new company, whether that’s to new clients, whether that’s to a bank because you’re trying to get a small business loan, and so, Yeah, focus in and specializing in research and data.
Okay, this is tough, ’cause I think most you probably agree with that, but I can still argue it unless I think the easiest… The rial approach for this one, and I think I had on a little bit when I talked about the portfolio piece, and it’s something I follow back on in the past, depending on the client, is as you get more senior your career, you’re looking at who your audiences are who you’re really interacting with, a lot of times it’s gonna be a senior leadership, clients and other colleges that are that… That are also more senior, and for a lot of them, sometimes the measure of quality just has this as much to do with the most connection, if it does with the data behind the outcomes. And so really it’s kind of like people like saying fancy shining things and feeling a connection, so getting better doing that and sometimes even give you a perception of things, a more skilled person. And so I ultimately is really… The ability to Lennon data is important. I think the ability to truly connect users to your experiences with high-level visuals is kind of a check that you can also go from… So I’ve definitely gotten out of meetings before just because somebody like They didn’t got the same approval that I would have gotten or was looking for had I given them the super data-driven speech. And so it’s kind of that first reaction moment that if you’re good enough for, you’re lucky enough at times you can get without having to provide the background, so I’ll say Go get interaction.
I still met pretty data, data can be pretty… In tenth.
Okay, let’s see. So just on this one, I definitely agree with them. Partly so as far as the type of organization to work for, consultancy is not talking about product teams where your google or whatever were you developing a product versus working for an agency or somebody that there’s otherwise serving clients. And I think for this one, when you think about all the other talking points, we talked about it as you… That point where you have all these different skills you gathered, and really, if you wanna have those challenges, really part to the test, it’s in working in a consultancy where you’re serving a diverse set of clients, industries and contract types…
Oh, I will. Absolutely, keep you on your toes.
I think having the opportunity to jump from three-month maybe to one year engagements also gives you a clear chance to measure and improve at your own career from you as you… A question talk. Doing that last project, the de turn out the way I expected. Hawaii do improve.
You have the opportunity to genuinely answer that in a sort of fresh start, the environment because you might move on to a new project with a completely different team, new client, new manager, so there’s no stigma left from the past or where you have to follow some of the same trends or have to come into the next project with many of the negative things or the expectations that were previously there, and you have a chance to continue to grow throughout your career because each project is a new opportunity to really improve on your approach, your relationships and everything. So I would say we’re gonna consultancy is in that I… I feel like that fresh start, I can get tiresome to feel like I’ve gotta learn the new organization and the linga, and I have to learn who the developers are and do they respect the work that I do, and I may have to evangelize myself and doing that over and over and over in can feel like beating your head against the law, so for me, it’s all about in-house and because nothing replaces a well-oiled collaborative team that really knows one another, strengths and constraints, and when we’re able to design and build a product with all the players in the room from tech design, data, security business, working together, the product is richer and oftentimes it’s cheaper because we’re increasing efficiency, we’re able to bring all of the gold nuggets and the lessons learned from our previous previous successes and failures to the table.
And it could be more rewarding because we’re not kind of starting fresh each time, so obviously in-house and the last one, the summit, you have years of experience, you’ve worked for a lot of different clients, you have great communication skills, your visual design is on point, you’ve got research, you’ve got data, and tired and what… How do you put it?
Which are in a TA go What? You still need a goal.
For me, that’s leadership. And I think that as we reach our leader stages of our careers, it’s up to us to really share our lessons like we’re doing today with the next generation and to guide them through the necessary obstacles that we had to overcome and set them up with skills and self-confidence to carry on and do better work than we ever did, because that’s my legacy. I set you up in a way that you go further, and it’s really time for us to step back from the day-to-day application of our UX skills and start to grow and lead teams and doing… This also keeps you young.
Right, if you’re leading the next generation of UX or you’re gonna be exposed to the latest tools and techniques, and it keeps you on that lifelong learning path. After all, the best way to learn is to teach.
And this is the stage where we become the teachers… Yeah, I guess if I would argue that the best with the ROI to do, then I might go to Super practitioner route. No thing, one of my first ARGUS would be like, you can look at the idea of growing teams in managing people, and that’s awesome, but I would definitely caution anyone out there not managed yet to talk to anyone who has and get their one opinion about how to rewarding it can be… I might give you an A thinking that would be optimistic, but at the same time, a lot of management is definitely not for every person, it is something you absolutely need to find out about yourself before taking that route is in my time person who will do well in a management role, because managing people is a difficult task, it actually can be rewarding, but it is not meant for everybody to find that out yourself before going into that and to that of in that direction, I… And so instead, if you decide it’s not for you, I think the idea of super practitioner really time, it means that you’re the person that people call on to put in from a bigger clients to solve or bigger problems, and some of the names that you might know and recognize or people that are actually being asked to solve world world size problems at a very visible stage, and so looking for the opportunity to decide to focus on actually continually growing and saying, I’m gonna be the person doing the work. Doesn’t have to be self-serving because you’re still ultimately doing work to solve a problem for someone else, but it can be something that is a more appropriate path for some people, and so I would definitely say take the time to decide whether not management is for you ’cause you can come with challenges and if not, look for whether or not your goal of how you wanna make impact is really to grow people or to solve problems, because the super practitioner you might be put in position to solve problems individually is a much bigger… So to is my manager is a… So I do not know how to take this, right?
That’s awesome. Yeah, she does listen to me, that’s why we’re debating right now on the thing, so… It’s great. Okay, perfect, so I know over money for our time, so I’m working a sprint through these, but let’s tell the score… No, I do that. We create… Everybody knows it on, it resulted in a… It is like study.
I’m just kidding, I the perfect, perfect, perfect.
I… Okay, so honestly, obviously we both want… ’cause the intention here was really honestly to talk about the fact that it really isn’t about the high in most cases, or what the output or how we actually each approached it, it’s really more about the process, and a lot of it is how we got to here where was that? We actually took the time to make intentional decisions along the way, a… So what I’m gonna do is, I try to put this in in Efraim next slide, I love saying that at least lunch… Here we go. Is that What are questions that you can ask yourself, you at your career in order to ensure that you were accurately creating your past so that it’s not trying to file somebody as a script or road map or anything of that nature, but generally looking to say, What are the ways in which I’m checking my own self and the decisions that I’m making to ensure that I get at a… But I want to a right heart.
So one, what is a unique value proposition, I think a lot of people, especially early in her career, we all start off or insecure about letting out we’re doing a good job by doing it right, or people found out yet that I don’t really know how to do what they’re asking me to do, and I think taking initial time to actually focus in on what is the thing that people seem to come to me for, reputedly more than they do other people on my team, can I identify what actually makes me unique when it comes to this industry, what are people… What do I bring to this discipline that people seem to request more often than other people, I think the sooner you figure it out in your career, the easier to put you to really carve out a North Star for yourself as far as what you wanna ultimately accomplish.
So the second question on… You kinda have an idea that units, what do you wanna be when you grow up? I think this is a question people unfortunately stop asking you in like 14 maybe, and I think realistically is something you should be asking yourself every year or two to at your career, whenever you make major shifts in your… In your career, so definitely re-ask it and have an answer for at all times, it’s really about establishing goals and make sure you have a understanding of what it is that you hope to accomplish, and so without having the ASA to his question, and it’s very easy for you to get off off track.
And so once you know what makes you unique? Which one? To be when you grow up, some do a gap analysis.
When you’re figuring it out which courses to take, what not to go get an MBA or to take additional courses, the real answer is which one is gonna serve you based off of what you’re trying to accomplish. So if you know what you wanna be when you grow up, you know it makes you unique and you already have a… You’re trying to supplement those skills, are you trying to actually lean in on that one, powerful, still the people like and figure out ways to make that more visible to more people and so understand what you’re trying to accomplish. And look for the opportunities and look for the things… And then fill those gaps.
And then ultimately, I think this is something that is funny, you can go to at the entire career and never really decide to put a lot of emphasis and energy on on how you market yourself, on really understanding that you’re a brand, I think there’s something that’s becoming lot or prevalent these days because of social media, I definitely got a lot of people who worked and an amazing work for 20 years and just so did it in a bubble, and so if you really wanna make sure that your efforts are realized and your value is understood, you wanna look for what is the way in which you plan on communicating that value to other people?
And then the last one is, what do you want your legacy to be? This is something that is very different than what you wanna be when you grow up. I think understanding what you wanna accomplish, right, I wanna be a CSO. At some point it’s like, Okay, where… For what company? Why, what are the things that you’re hoping you’re gonna impact by being this… What are you gonna be known for? And not in a way where it’s like, I wanna be famous one day, but genuinely when people speak your name, what are the things that you hope you can accomplish… You have accomplished in your career. Could be that I’m known for building great teams, I’m known for putting on great conferences, or I’m just known for solving problems, but having an understanding of that will tell you which type of organizations to work for, which jobs are right for you, or with short Art and I actually… When they are you, and a lot of decisions you have to make because you go so much bigger than, I just wanna be successful, I wanna be happy. It starts to say, How do I wanna be successful? And I don’t want people to understand that estates, the next one. Alright.
Oh yes, this is to be a…
I told you I was tired and we are gonna take questions in Slack ’cause I know what we’re going over.
Yeah, this was really… It was fun to do because it doesn’t really matter how you got started in UX or really what point you are in your career, you have a lot of options in trees and really great communities out there to support you in those. So you’re gonna start by building a solid foundation and you’re making an impact on the entire product life cycle, which means understanding communication, it means understanding research and data, and then figuring out who you are and creating that personal brand and making sure to activate it, whether it’s an online presence, whether it’s at the conference circuit, get out there, get your name out there, and then to verify your experiences, and that can mean maybe you are taking on… Maybe you’re learning to code something because you wanna understand what development teams have as constraints, or maybe you’re getting into research or maybe you’re volunteering for something completely outside of your craft, make sure that you’re diversifying your experiences because it’s going to enrich your craft and your skills, and they’d be known for something, hopefully not bad, try to pick something positive, but go out there and figure out what you want your legacy to be and… Yeah, and reach out to one another, reach out to the community and then make sure that you’re also supporting one another, and if you have experiences you’re reaching back to share those with the new generation Q and A and Slack.