More than ever, executives and managers are realising that the user’s experience of their company’s products and services is crucial to the bottom line, and that that experience can be designed.
User Experience (UX) has emerged as the poster child to capture this alignment of design and business strategy. However, the term is also used in other ways. Ask ten different people what user experience means and you’ll get ten different answers.
- UX is an umbrella term.
- UX is a movement.
- UX is a process.
- UX is a role.
- UX is a discipline.
- UX is an industry.
- UX is a philosophy.
- UX is a collection of techniques.
All of these statements are true to some degree, so it’s no wonder the UX community has such a hard time defining what we do to the outside world. However, there’s one I’d like to add to that list:
- UX is a career.
We’ve made a point of celebrating the fact that a career in user experience is interesting, challenging, rewarding, pays well, and has a low barrier of entry if you’re already working in the digital world in some capacity. There is currently big demand for professionals who have the breadth of a generalist, with specialties in user research, user interface design, information architecture, interaction design, and many other disciplines. It’s no wonder there is corresponding demand from graduates and experienced professionals alike to be a part of it.
Luckily for you, there are some amazing online resources available to help you build your UX career. Here’s a small sampling:
1. Usability Counts
Patrick Neeman has been writing about UX careers for a few years now. His UX careers guide is a great collection of articles on landing yourself the perfect UX job, based largely on his time working on Jobvite.
2. UX How
Troy Parke’s collection of advice, tips and templates on uxhow.com include how to build a portfolio, network with prospective employers and conduct yourself in an interview. The site only contains a handful of articles so far, but what’s there is insanely helpful.
3. UIE BrainSparks
The User Interface Engineering BrainSparks blog has a collection of careers-related topics that go back several years. Whether you’re preparing your portfolio or deciding how to specialise, you’re bound to find something useful.
UXmas, the digital advent calendar that we’ve run with our friends at Thirst Studios the last two Decembers, has included a handful of articles on the topic of UX careers. From selling your skills and defining the direction you take your career to evaluating your skills and creating an effective portfolio, there’s something in there for everyone.
Of course, there are plenty of other resources with great articles on the topic of UX careers (feel free to share your favourites in the comments!) The important thing is that you take a few moments to shift your thinking away from your current project to shine a spotlight on yourself and your career as a UXer. The links above should help to you get started.
We’ll be publishing more on this topic over the coming weeks, but in the mean time I’d love to hear from you. What steps are you taking to shape your UX career in 2014?