Christina Wodtke: A Letter to the Newly Minted Designer

I get a lot of emails from new designers asking, “Where should I start?” Getting that first job is the hardest thing in UX, because it requires you to find someone willing to take a chance on you.

But if you do find that someone, you can learn great things from your experience.

I tell new designers to go work for an agency right away because you get a lot of brands on your resume, and you learn how to do things fast. Agencies are always on deadline, and that’s a good thing for learning time management. Not everyone agrees, but it’s a good discussion point.

Christina Wodtke covers this in a blog post over at Elegant Hack. It is a great read.

Consulting makes you a fox, inhouse makes you a hedgehog.  Big companies teach you to focus on your craft, little companies teach you how to run a business.  It is incredibly useful for you, you designer, to try out as many as you can. You will learn a huge number of tools, and you will learn about yourself. And then you can make some choices about what you want to do.

My final piece of advice: ignore all of this if you fall in love. You see a company you adore, you frigging join it. Because you are young and you have a get-out-of-jail-free card while you don’t have a spouse and kids and a mortgage.  You cannot ruin your life unless you get thrown in jail, or alienate everyone by being a jerk (and I’m not even sure about the second, thinking of a few CEO’s I know).

There is no bad choice for you, there is only your choice.  I just recommend you give yourself a chance and find out what you love.