LENORA, HOW DID YOU GET INTO PRODUCT DESIGN?
I get many emails and message asking about my journey into tech. It was a winding road with lots of obstacles and Ah Ha! moments. I didn’t take the traditional route into technology but I took the path that all success people take and that’s a path called HUSTLE.
Coding bootcamps, college degrees, and any other means of obtaining “credentials” are great. Personally, I don’t lean on them. I focus on consistency, networking, grit, doing things others won’t do, and simply being myself. My college degrees and coding bootcamp experience couldn’t teach me that. I believe my HUSTLE helped me separate myself and dominate my lane.
You may ask, What did that hustle consist of?
For me, that Hustle required an 8 step plan:
- Determine What Kind of Designer I Wanted to Be: There are plenty of exciting areas of design but it's almost impossible to be good at everything. Determine at least 2 areas of focus and a third as a "Nice to know".
- Eat, Think, Breath Design: Immerse yourself in design. You must taste design in your sleep! Know about design and it's leaders like the back of your hand. There's podcast, YouTube channels, and medium blogs to keep you in the know.
- Connect with Other Designers: Connect with local designers at Meetups, conferences, and UX-focused events. Virtually meet designers in Slack channels, Facebook Groups, Twitter, and Instagram.
- Study Design Fundamentals: Understand design principles such as visual hierarchy, white space, color theory, UX strategy, User Research techniques, accessibility, and platform/device design guidelines.
- Learn Design Tools: The top visual tools for Product Design are Sketch, Invision Studio, and Adobe Xd. There are others like Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, Balsamiq and etc. These tools will vary based on your role.
- Find a Mentor: Finding a mentor can be very hard but it is doable. I believe the most important part of mentorship is understanding how to keep a healthy mentor and mentee relationship.
- Build Your Online Presence: An online presence is more than just a portfolio. What would a quick google search say about you?
- Gain Experience: How to land your first job? How to gain experience when it's hard to get hired?
In this e-book, I go into detail about how I hustled my way into UX Design. Enjoy and hustle on!