What was meant to be a test of how well I knew Figma, turned out to be an opportunity to connect with young designers and share a range of beginner knowledge with people just starting their journey of UX.
From Dec. 26th — Jan. 9th, I set-up a Calendly to book 30-min sessions. Still open for sessions on a few days a week.
- Posted on 2 Facebook groups and 3 Slack channels
- 21 sign-ups, only 2 cancellations, and 1 no-show
- 15 survey respondents
- 100% a good time (jk, they found me helpful)
Not a mentor, but a colleague
I realized that mentoring beginners as someone finishing a UX course makes perfect sense. I know what they’re going through, and they want to learn with me. Sometimes it's hard to learn from someone way more experienced than you because they don’t remember what a beginner should start with.
When you train to be a track star, you don’t train to be as fast as an Olympian. You train to be the best in your race.
Also, we need to realize that we’re competing with one another. Regardless of our path for learning, we’re all competing for our first UX job.
Why not learn with someone who’s at the same level of the playing field as you? At the very least, we’ll both learn where we stand.
It was great just discussing what we have learned, found difficult, and are trying to accomplish. Making friends with people who understand what you’re going through has been a bonus to all the general learning done during these sessions.
Staying organized for Sessions
After getting a session request, I would utilize Notion to prepare notes and resources for the meeting. Each person had a page where I logged what we discussed and what I learned about them.
After each session, I sent a recap email that included a link to a survey, actionable feedback, and links to resources.
Survey Responses to Sessions
Quotes from the survey responses:
“Thank you! Your kind demeanor and knowledge was very inspiring and educational… plus you do a great job of learning as you go if you don’t know something. 10/10 recommend!”
“I am very impressed by how concrete and actionable you made this discussion, and by how well-structured the entire process was. I am sure a great career awaits you :)”
“Having direct actionable feedback and not just an opinion on what you liked or didn’t like was very useful. It’s really great to have a portfolio review that doesn’t have to be with a manager or HR person for those of us not ready for that quite yet, but need the feedback. Today’s meeting is a step towards a job ready portfolio vs just having it finished. Thanks again Joyce, you were very professional and personable!”
Different Disciplines in Learning
My two main takeaways from hosting these sessions:
- Great UX designers want to learn from each other
- People that are not tech-savvy/problem solvers should not be investing in a UX program
Though I enjoyed working with everyone that signed up, there were a few people that I’m concerned are not fit for UX and may struggle to find a job after their course. I think most of the people that sought sessions showed initiative and really wanted to learn how to be better. However some, I saw struggled to follow the instructions of their course and didn’t seem to have dedicated enough time to learn concepts on their own.
Anyone that’s provided tutoring before knows, that there’s students that show up to learn and there’s students that hope you’ll give them all the answers.
It really concerns me that the profit of UX boot camps and universities comes from preying on young designers with false marketing statements of “Job guaranteed.” The percentage of hires from boot camps is not very high, and I would hope that more people would test their ability on programs and design before paying full-tuition.
I hope by providing tutoring or even just advice to new designers, I can help them be even a little more successful on their journey of being a great UX designer.