is learning to  better

I have a friend who is a senior UX designer here in Seattle. She has over ten years of experience and has worked for some of the largest companies in the world — yes, Amazon included.

Recently, when attempting to organize a happy hour date, my friend offhandedly replied that she wasn’t available on Mondays, because she had class for a UX design certificate course.

“But you’re already a senior UX designer?” I said. “You’ve been working for a decade! When are you even bothering to get a UX certificate when you don’t need it?”

The reason, she said, was partly to quash her feelings of Imposter Syndrome — despite her good job and long, impressive resume — and to strengthen her credentials in an industry churning out more and more UX designers, seemingly by the minute (sorry friend!).

Remember, there’s no end to what you don’t know. (Image credit: Another one from Mitch Goldstein’s series A Helpful Diagram).

Even after ten years and a LinkedIn profile that will forever put mine to shame, my friend didn’t have any assumptions about her job — if she wanted to compete, she would have to keep learning.

And that brings me to the crux of what I’m coming to think design is, and how it is different from . My friend’s work in design, to her, wasn’t about expressing her accrued skills and abilities, but being able to solve problems in the here and now. And in order to do this, you have to keep learning.

As my mentor put it on our most recent call:

“When we talk about art, art is expressive. Design is about the user. What’s the fastest way to design for our user? The fastest way to design for our user is to create designs, not art.”

Until next week, happy designing!

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