UX design is a fresh and exciting field that develops and changes quickly. Its variety and fast pace can easily overwhelm you when you’re just starting out. This is where a UX mentor comes in. Receiving guidance from a seasoned industry veteran who knows what it’s like to succeed in the field of UX design is invaluable. Having a UX mentor offers a staggering amount of advantages and can prove to be essential in your career.
What a Good UX Mentor Provides
Much like any skill, UX design is best learned in practice, with feedback and guidance from an expert. The most obvious advantage of having a mentor is the insight they can provide as they watch you learn, sometimes in real time! Common UX design tools, such as Adobe XD and Figma, are inherently collaborative and remote-friendly, so your mentor can easily check your designs, evaluate them, and leave comments on your projects.
Mentors can also provide incredible advice on UX portfolios, which are essential to any UX designer. Your portfolio is the culmination of your experience and is essential when you’re job hunting. A good mentor has seen many killer portfolios in their career, so they’ll be able to guide you through all of the UX portfolio do’s and don’ts.
Many things can be self-taught and learned from a book, but nothing can replace the guidance of an experienced hand. A mentor can also provide encyclopedic information, but their efforts are best put to use when they provide tailored explanations and personal tips drawn from their own experience. Insightful conversations with your UX mentor can get you important information that books may omit, especially current practices and industry details.
Classes can provide expert advice as well but are often outdated. The world of tech moves quickly, so keeping up with all the modern trends is essential. A mentor working in the field will be well-versed in modern UX design practices and will be able to impart their experience for your consideration.
Judgment calls are difficult to make without experience and feedback. As much as you can learn on your own, nothing can replace experience. It can take years of feedback and discussion for an amateur UX designer to understand good design.
A college class can provide feedback and discussion, but a mentor’s feedback is tailored to you. Your mentor will know your strengths and weaknesses much more intimately than a professor would. Your professors will change every semester, and will only know specific sides of your work, as it pertains to their class. A UX mentor will have a holistic understanding of your work and will be able to focus on areas most in need of improvement.
UX design is a diverse field with a wide range of responsibilities. Different parts of the job require different tools, and keeping up with all of them can be tricky. A UX mentor is an experienced professional in the field and will be able to show you many tips and tricks to make the most of your tools.
It can be a challenge to set and keep deadlines without the temptation of changing them. Having a professional who can review your work and be able to tell how much effort you’ve put in is invaluable. A mentor can provide hard deadlines and help you stay focused on doing quality work.
With an experienced UX professional by your side, you will have insider knowledge in the area of UX you’re applying for. A UX mentor can help set your expectations and prepare you for negotiations with your job offers. You’ll have insight into what skills, specializations, and trends are highly valued by the industry during your applications, giving you a leg up over your competition.
As the adage goes, sometimes it’s not what you know but who you know. An experienced UX mentor will have a wide network of industry professionals they’ve met throughout their career. Your mentor will be able to share their network with you when you’re looking for jobs or internships, increasing the size of your own network and giving you opportunities you may not have had access to otherwise.
Similarly to sharing their network with you, a UX mentor who is working in the field is an excellent reference to put on your resume. This is someone who knows the craft, the field, and your work and personality. They will know better than anyone else how you fit in the field, and they will outline that in their references and recommendations.
The word of an experienced professional has weight and will make job recruiters trust you more from the start. A reference from a UX mentor tells potential employers that you have knowledge of the industry and a better chance of succeeding at your job early on. It can prove to be a huge deal when you’re trying to stand out.
Ready to Find Your UX Mentor?
Want to get started with a UX mentor? No better way to do that than scheduling a free mentorship session! Avocademy’s mentors are happy to help.