UXperts Weigh In: What’s the Best Career Advice You’ve Ever Received?

by Patrick Faller

posted on 11-21-2016

The path to a successful career is anything but straight and narrow: it’s full of unexpected twists, with opportunities and challenges around every corner and behind every decision. It can be hard to know which steps to take to make sure you’re headed in the right professional direction.

At Adobe MAX, some of the world’s most talented and successful designers join together to talk about making great work. We asked some of them to share their best career advice:

Seek out smart people to learn from, the money will follow

leslie-yang-250The best advice I’ve heard came from a fellow designer at Pivotal Labs. She said “join teams filled with smart people. What you need, especially at the beginning of your career, is to learn from smart people. Don’t worry about money yet. The money will follow.”

When I first decided to focus on UX, I chose to leave a lead visual designer position that I’d held for many years to accept an internship at a small UX agency. It was scary, both emotionally and financially, but I knew I needed to surround myself with smart teams to deepen my UX skills. That internship led to a full-time UX position, which gave me the experience to join Pivotal where I lead and teach agile and lean UX on our projects.

~Leslie Yang, Senior Product Designer, Pivotal Labs

Life is too short to work on stuff that doesn’t matter

andrew-shorten-250You’re going to spend a significant amount of your life working, so do something that really matters to you personally. Making exceptional products or digital experiences requires significant effort, making hard decisions, and dealing with conflicting perspectives.

Even when things get hard, you still want to wake up in the morning excited to solve those problems and create something amazing. To do that, you’ve got to love what you do. Focusing more on truly finding what motivates you, rather than worrying too much about managing your career, will lead to success.

~Andrew Shorten, Director of Product Management – Design & Web, Adobe

Forge relationships, work hard, promote your projects

matt-d-smith-250I’m an independent studio owner and oddly enough, I’ve never held a full-time position anywhere, so I didn’t have a very traditional career path. The career advice I’ve collected over the years has been combination of hard knocks, books, and conversations with peers in the industry. If I had to boil it down to the essentials, I’d say there are three areas critical for a successful career:

~Matt D. Smith, Owner & Design Director, Studio Mds

What is your best career advice? Let us know in the comments below.

Topics: Creative Inspiration & Trends, Design

Products: Creative Cloud