From Prototypr: https://blog.prototypr.io/starting-your-career-in-ux-59d7a9f3a03
Part 2: Challenges I faced
In this final part, we will be talking about some challenges I faced when I first started working as a UX Designer. Hopefully, you can learn and prepare yourself for those first couples of days.
MACS vs PC
Ah, the age-old battle. We’ve all heard the different sides, but I’m not here to debate which is better (I actually really like both!) But instead, talk about going from a PC to a Mac.
I have been a PC user for all my life (at home, I have a PC for gaming and a Surface Pro 4 for art) and when I got my MacBook Pro at work for the first time, it was a big struggle. Trying to train my hand do now use CMD + Z instead of CTRL + Z was hard.
So, if you’re like me, you can switch CMD and CTRL to make your life easier! I can now go back and forth the two OS’s easily and whenever someone tries to use my computer, they have a hard time because cmd + z is not doing what they want it to do. And it is wonderful to watch.
SKETCH vs ILLUSTRATOR
Sketch is one of the most popular tools in the industry! I highly recommend being familiar with sketch, especially if you’ve never learned how to use another vector based program (like the superior Illustrator.)
It’s important to note, that I am not a big fan of Sketch.
I’ve been using Adobe Illustrator for about 8 years, and I am so accustomed to it, that I just find sketch frustrating to use. I like to group objects within objects and sketch does not do a great job letting you know the hierarchy of where you are in your groups… or that you’re even in a group. That is only ONE of the problems I have with Sketch. I highly recommend learning Illustrator, but Sketch is the industry standard, so it’d be wise to learn that tool first. As for me, I will always use Illustrator if I have the choice, as it is the love of my life.
TERMINOLOGY IS HARD
There are a lot of industries that use UX, and each one has its own set of terminology that you’ll have to learn. And in some cases, the company may not have a dictionary with terms that you need to know as an employee. I remember going to my first meeting and having no idea what the conversation was about.
What I wish I did, was take a notebook (or take notes on your laptop) of questions. If someone starts talking about X, take a note, then after the meeting go to your lead/senior and ask them what X is. Take note of what it is. Create your own dictionary. This will do two things, first: it will help to give to other new team members as they are added to the team; second: it will show initiative.
No matter where you go, there will come a time where you will not have ANYTHING to do at work, and you will hate it. What do you do? You don’t want to look like you’re slacking off, but what else is there to do besides browsing Reddit?
This is a great time to get some new skills. I use this time to catch up on some UX articles and research. I am interested in information architecture, so I am always reading up on new findings and new ideas people are trying out. I also create fake projects to work on. I can also find something that I couldn’t do earlier but have time to do now. Maybe there is a project that doesn’t have any user flows or journeys, take this time to create one.
I have not made a traditional wireframe in a long time. Goes against everything we do, right? Now, I’m not saying that you will never make wireframes again, but you should be prepared that you might not make them. This is especially true if you have a design system. It’s so much easier to grab the elements in your design system and place them directly into your prototype.
One of the biggest mistakes I made at the beginning of my career is trying to impress too much. I created very detailed prototypes, ones that would basically work like the real thing. Then when the review would come and if there was something VERY wrong with it, I had to rework… EVERYTHING. All the interactions, animations, flow, etc will have to be redone. This can be very frustrating.
Now what I do is start basic. Just bare minimum interactions (going from page to page, no animations.) Just have the layout available and ready to go. I present that to the team and get their feedback, and once the changes are made, then I’ll go into more detail and add those small effects. It saves so much more time and saves you from feeling frustrated because you had to start over.
Now, you may not run into the same issues that I have. Chances are, you will have your own unique set of challenges that you’ll need to face at the start of your UX career. Just keep your head up, ask for help, admit to not knowing something, and keep an open mind/heart! You will continue on your way to being awesome real quick!