Part one: Steps you should expect for your first days
So! You just got your first UX job or looking for your first! Fantastic!
To help you out and to have a realistic expectation of whats to come, I’ve documented my experience. You’ll find that there are 9 steps to your experience as a designer and here they are:
Ah, yes. The first day! You’ll be bombarded with introductions, trying to find where everything is, and paperwork. Yes, lots and lots of paper work. Especially if you found yourself at a corporate office. Be prepared to not do much UX on your first day! This is also time to get to meet a ton of people that you will not remember their names for a while.
Step 2: Start working!
YES! You finally get to start working! You will find yourself having a great time applying all those skills you learned in college/General Assembly/how ever you learned. It’s going to be an exciting time. You’ll feel a great sense of joy and pride in yourself for finally starting.
Okay, so…. maybe your training actually HASN’T come in handy. Chances are, you’re going to be at least a little lost. I know I was. (Okay, I was VERY lost, not a little) There were terms that I had never heard of before and had to CONSTANTLY ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask the questions. On top of it, you’re also learning about the company’s culture, the project, and many other thing.
Alright, you might be panicking. You’ve dived in deeper and deeper, and you’re realizing, you didn’t fully understand enough to keep going. You’re probably going to feel that imposter syndrome real hard. But just keep going! Communicate with your team and don’t be hard on yourself. Remind yourself it’s your first job, they hired you anyway and are not expecting you to be at 100%. Use this time to learn and get better.
FINALLY! If you were like me, and kept up the communication, you are finally starting to get it. This took me a few months in before I finally reached this point. It was a great feeling, knowing what needed to be done, what was next, and really understanding the project and the users.
Ah yes, the cockiness. It will come. You will think you know everything. When it comes, it’s important that you don’t let it get too into your head. That can be dangerous because eventually come back to:
Not understanding. Eventually you’ll get deep enough and you’ll realize… maybe you didn’t understand the project. Chances are, you’ll drop the ball; but, you’ll recover. Just keep up communication with your team, and feel free to tell them when you feel like you’re slipping! Did I mention communication is important? *dying record*
The feeling of understanding and knowing is back again! Oh thank god. It can make you feel like a fluke when you get it then right, then back to step 3. When you reach this step, you’ll realize that you have a deeper understanding than you did before! Great work, get yourself a pizza.
You might repeat steps 3–8 for a while. That’s okay. Everyone learns at their own pace. Eventually what will happen, is the amount of time spent on steps 3,4, and 7 will decrease. And all of your time will be spend on this step. It takes time, and could take up to 6 months. Once you get here, you’ll feel good, but not cocky. You’ll falter, but not as hard. You have started becoming a great designer.