Tips for yourself in your youth (design version)

Original author: Elliot Dahl
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I moved to San Francisco in 2013 as a junior designer with quite a bit of experience and a great desire to plunge headlong into the world of design. I have experienced a lot over the past 4 years - and I still need to learn a lot as a designer and a professional in my field - I decided to write down some of the biggest lessons that I would like to teach myself from the past, at the time when I just moved in san francisco

Find mentors for everything

The perfect mentor to teach you everything you need for a successful career is a rare case. When I finally renounced this imaginary image of an ideal mentor, I began to see teachers everywhere in my surroundings. Every person you meet can teach you something. Some of my best mentors knew nothing about design, but they helped me to communicate better, to serve myself and to be a leader. The marketing director at one of my first jobs was a great mentor. He had nothing to do with design, but he taught me a lot about communication and immediate feedback. Mark taught me the value of questions and the desire to understand.

It is not necessary to find a mentor in order to learn everything in a short time, it should be a two-way interaction.

Approach your friends, colleagues and family members and absorb everything that they tell you. I constantly start such conversations and speak openly about everything that interests me. Getting a mentor does not exist for you to learn everything in a short time, it should be a two-way interaction. You have something to give in return, even if it’s just ears ready to listen.

Go to meetings and conferences

Freelance events are a great way to find a community and connect. Not all meetings / conferences / events are the same. Alternate them until you find those who have an association to which you can join. But watch how you present yourself - designers have a habit of tying a lot of “I” in work. Share what you’re working on and are passionate about, but be open to what others find interesting. One of the first meetups that I went to in San Francisco was for the UX designer venture. I thought these people are crazy, “Why don’t you want to contact consumers directly?” Four years have passed and I am standing in the enterprise software camp and I like it.

Making informed decisions and quick judgments is what we make a living from, but we all know what to judge without knowing all the facts, this is a bad idea. Do not try to judge other people’s career choices. Listen and learn.

Connect with people using Twitter (use Twitter as a tool)

Twitter is a powerful tool and I find it as useful (if not more) as LinkedIn, which has helped me in my design career. I used Twitter as a business card and a way to connect with people I respect, like other designers at SF. I would say about a quarter of them actually answered my questions or the desire to contact them. At first it upset me. But this is absolutely normal. People are busy and skip some news in their feed, especially if they have a lot of subscribers. Look for real connections and do what seems right to you. But Twitter is not for everyone, so don't be discouraged if it doesn't work for you.

Find an established team

When I started, I did a lot of work as a single-player designer. Sometimes you have to do this in order to create your portfolio and prove who you really are. However, if you get the first chance to work with an experienced team - agree. In working with an experienced team, I refused to pay and change names and I can say that this fully paid for itself in the long run.

Learn about other people's work

Find out what people around you are doing. They may be those who write code to bring your projects to life, those who sell your product, or those who work with clients who were unhappy with your choice of design. You have something to learn from them to become a better specialist and, as a result, a better designer.

I sat across from a customer support team in an online commerce company that I worked for several years ago. The stories they told me, sometimes even comic, were a clear indicator of poor communication in the final order flow. They helped to improve the verification methodology, which benefited our customers and made the work of the support team easier.

Stay inspired, not scared

Easily flip through your Instagram or Dribbble feed and feel overwhelmed. I myself experience it from time to time. Beware of things that drain your energy and make you say, “I'm not good enough.” I feel inspired by communicating with other designers at a friendly level. Sometimes I get it from meeting new people at meetings or talking with friends over a beer. Express your frustrations, but don't dwell on them; Try to capture the passion of other designers in your conversations. She is extremely contagious.

Learn to learn

You can learn a concept at a much deeper level when you try to explain it to others. It expands your consciousness, allowing you to take into account all the subtleties of the problem. This is very important in practice, even if you do not start with design. If you know something useful about cooking, photography, travel, or even a daily routine, chances are good that you know something that others don't know. Writing blog posts or gatherings with a friend / colleague will be a good start.

Understand business

Find out how numbers converge to make your company successful. It's easy to figure out how to create perfect pixel icons or adjust your custom map, but all of this won't make any sense if you don't get paid. My diploma in business has helped me a lot in this area. If you're not so savvy, ask some simple questions about revenue, customer retention, and company growth. They can be extremely popular. I do not work for a company that I do not believe in, because its success / failure affects me. When you start, you can’t always afford to choose, but it’s important to ask questions and keep abreast of the state of the company for your own job security and career growth.

Respect the process (visual control, UX, team)

Learning a good process and practicing it is a great skill in itself. A good designer can sit in a corner and make his way to an impressive design. A great designer can bring a whole team with him. The process always goes, so don't be afraid to repeat. Adapt your process to meet new challenges. This is a large area for feedback to help improve and / or inquire about other perspectives.

Play the role until the role becomes you

Everyone in the industry says that. Many of them are still pretending. You will be surprised at how many people you look at today are still learning something new. And it's more than likely that there is something you could teach them.

Be patient with yourself

You will not become a great designer overnight. You are already ahead of the game because you are reading this article. Find balance in your life. Design is what you do, not yourself.

What advice would you give yourself to the young?

The translation was supported by EDISON Software , a professional software development company (here are TK examples: one , two , three ), as well as software development for large customers ( microtomograph , mobile communications , city ​​lighting ).

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