If you were to ask a UXer how they landed in the UX field, you’re unlikely to hear the same story twice. There are many roads to user experience — visual design, library sciences, copywriting or development to name a few.
With UX Designer roles being just as varied as our backgrounds, what is the way forward for a UXer? What is the career path after UX Designer? How do you advance your UX career?
The path forward in UX is like the path to UX—everyones is different. Let’s look at some of the ways to help you find yours.
- Explore your T-Shape
- Branch Out
- Find Your Replacement
- Step Up to Mentor
- Start From Nothing
- Further Along the Way
Explore your T-Shape
“No matter where you go, there you are.” — Buckaroo Banzai
To help understand where to go, you firstly need to know from where you are starting. Identifying your T-shape is your first step in the journey. “T-shaped” refers to a breadth of skills across disciplines along with areas of deep expertise—a “T”. Nick Finck’s presentation, UX Career Progression: Finding a Niche and Building a Brand is a good place to start.
Are you having difficulty with self-reflection or with being objective about your own skill-set? Ask co-workers, clients and colleagues, “What is my super power”? The answers may surprise you. They may also be outside the typical definition of UX skill-sets. It could be that your niche is in animation, service design or translating design thinking into other fields.
After evaluating your skills, decide whether it is the skill-set you want to have, or whether it’s something you want to get better at. Team up with others to build out the T in your UX career. If you find the desire to continue digging deeper, you may be naturally growing toward being a Subject Matter Expert (SME) and specializing even further.