Editor’s Note: Let’s Talk About User Experience Careers

This issue of the UX magazine is devoted to UX careers. This topic has weighed heavily on my mind these past few years as I’ve matured as a UX professional. When I finished graduate school and began the job hunt, I gave minimal thought to how I could successfully manage my career.

Topics like UX career ladders, building my professional brand, and how different work environments would impact my work were barely on my radar. I knew little about how to negotiate a fair salary or how to prepare an impactful portfolio. Not surprisingly, my naiveté led to a few career mistakes along the way. Now that I’ve had the opportunity to mentor a few UX newbies, I know that many UX students are as ill-informed as I once was.

But this issue isn’t just about providing career guidance to those new to the UX profession. In fact, it contains valuable career advice for everyone—junior and senior UXers, managers and individual contributors, interaction designers, and user experience researchers.

In reading the pages that follow, not only will you learn how to successfully navigate your UX career, you’ll also be prepared for some exciting changes that I believe are on the horizon for our profession.

Need guidance on how to apply your UX skills on a more strategic level to impact your organization? Have questions about navigating a UX interview? Want insight pertaining to managing your global UX team? Wondering what skills will be needed of UXers in the future? Okay, you get the point… We’ve got all these questions covered—and much, much more—all right here.

Because there’s little public information to assist UX professionals with making informed career decisions, I hope this special issue is a point of inspiration for others to talk more openly about their experiences and impart advice on the topic. If you haven’t already done so, please consider sharing your career learnings by writing an article, acting as a mentor, or giving a presentation at a conference or to a classroom of students. If we all make a small effort, our combined initiatives will benefit our profession tremendously.

Let me conclude with some words of advice a friend and mentor recently shared with me during a conversation about my career (thanks, Scott!):

  • Don’t be lazy
  • Don’t be stupid
  • Live your dreams

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