When I finished my Fine Arts studies in high school and told my teacher I’m going to be a programmer, I couldn’t miss the slight disappointment on her face. She thought working in front of a computer for 9 hours a day for six years will kill the artist inside of me.
Well, 6 years later, I can say this artist is pretty injured, but learned and changed a lot.
At the beginning of my service I went to a 6-month programming course, where I learned a lot about programming, struggling to understand the various programming languages and methods. I was pretty arrogant at the beginning because I was good at the basic programming stuff, but as time passed, I was having some really hard time passing the tests. By the end of the course I felt really good about programming. I had the feeling I can learn and do anything.
And then I started working, maintaining a 30 years old product.
From the highest peak of the programming confidence, I jumped down, head first, to the point I didn’t see myself as a programmer any more. I felt I had tunnel vision. Like the only thing I knew how to do was maintaining this particular product. I knew how to fetch data from the specific database and how to fix little bugs in the UI, but that was about it. During the three years after programming course I forgot about 90% of what I’ve learned and felt I am horrible at what I do and there is no way out of this.
And then I met UX.
I was always into graphics. As I said before, I learned Fine Arts and I loved everything around visual communication, so some people told me about this thing called UX that I might like. I went back home and read everything I could find about the subject and the next day I knew this is what I want to do.
After a couple of months of trying to change my position and become a UX designer (and with a lot of help with the people around me), I succeeded. I went to an awesome evening course while working as a junior UX designer and filling the gaps in slowly. I worked on several projects simultaneously, gave lectures and worked on creating a UX-driven culture. Working as a UX designer finally made me feel good at what I’m doing. I always felt people trusted me, but finally I believed them. I mean — I was doing a good job!
Along with my UX work, I worked a lot with programmers, and got inspired from them. They taught me how to code properly and reminded me the things I’ve learned and forgotten back when I was a programming student. This brought me to the point I returned programming and got a several sites up and running, just for fun (like my portfolio)!
After six years of diverse positions and projects, I finished my work and now I’m up for a new journey.
I finished my work with a lot of insights and takeaways to the future. I’d like to share them with you, and if they’ll help you it’d be awesome.
1. People are what makes the company
You’re not a machine. You need to socialize and have great people around you in order to have fun in your workplace. For me, a good workplace is a place I enjoy saying “good morning” when you arrive and drinking coffee together. It’s a place you can share your ideas with others and listen to their ideas.
2. Know your value and think big
As one of the UX pioneers at the company, I felt responsible for a making the change in the whole perception of UX in the software development methodology. It took me too much time to understand that the big bosses really wanted me to speak up and stand by my ideas. So, don’t be afraid to talk to the big boss. Your ideas are worth sharing and you should feel this way in your workplace.
3. Don’t leave your work in the office
I feel the greatest privilege in my UX work was that it didn’t stay in the office. I finished my work and read articles and blogs about UX and design, went to meetups and contacted designers I appreciate. Therefore, now, after I finished my job, I’m not that eager for a big vacation, because I’m still curious and still want to expand my knowledge and experience.
4. Take your time
Don’t rush into a job opportunity just because it’s available. Take the time to think about it and if you need and what you want. You need to get some perspective and figure out what’s out there before you pick what suits you the best.
To sum it up
I had one hell of a ride. It had its ups and downs but overall made me a lot smarter. There are some moments of this journey I will never forget and will surely shape my future. I hope you also learned something from it.
I’d be very happy to hear what you think about this journey or these insights. Please, feel free to leave a comment or start a chat.