The Journey from Junior Graphic Designer to UI Lead.
It’s been 8 years and counting for me in the industry. My journey from a Junior Graphics Designer to UI Design lead has been educational, surprising, difficult and surely exciting.
“You’re never ready for what you have to do. You just do it. That makes you ready.” -by Schreiber
Straight from the fun college life to serious work life. It has been a great learning experience and bumpy rides through those learning curves. I am more of a hands-on learner. A lot of what I know today, I have learnt while at work. There are so many new skills one has to learn as you step foot in new roles in your careers. Let me list down a few key skills and lessons that I have learnt along the way, maybe some of you might find it relatable and helpful.
The Bigger Picture
My transition from graphics to UI/UX required me to look at the bigger picture. To understand and come up with solutions for an entire scope of work, I had to take a couple of steps back to see the overall impact of my design on the product. This has helped me to collaborate with other teams that are involved in the designing process with much more clarity.
Having said that, it is very important to do smaller things with perfection to have a perfect bigger picture.
In Case of Confusion, Just Breath!
A major part of the Junior to Lead transition is taking responsibility. As a junior in an agency, you are not very much held responsible for the job as you are still learning… but as you go up the ladder you face the higher authorities and you are held answerable to them about you and your team. This stage can be very overwhelming and confusing (It was for me).
Sometimes, its too much to keep up and process and it might leave you baffled.
A simple solution to that is to ‘Just Breath’. Take a pause and think. Calm yourself and go ahead.It works every time!
It Will be a New Day Tomorrow.
Not all days are good days. There are days when I don’t feel inspired or motivated. Days when it’s just so hard to find the ideas and nothing is going right.
It’s okay. Accept it!
Initial years of my work life have been gone in stressing out on those bad days until I learnt to remind myself that, ’this day will end, and it will be a new day tomorrow.’
Mentor and Disciple
There are a lot of challenges one learns to overcome along their journey. And then others come along the same path. There is always going to be someone before and after you.
As you continue to be on the same path and learn new skills you will always be someone’s mentor (with more experience than them) and someone’s disciple (with less experience than them) at the same time.
I feel it is extremely important to receive as well as share that knowledge.
Learn to Let Go!
Every UI/UX designer is a control-freak. We love to have control over everything we do. Letting go has been the hardest thing I have ever done. Consider it to be like picking up sand, you can’t if you try to hard to contain it, it will slip away.
Everybody needs their space and pace to grow and you have to give it to them. And the results have been amazing. It’s important to understand and trust your team to work in alignment towards the same goal. ‘Trust the process.’
Communication is the key
To Communicate is to listen and respond. It’s one of the most important skills one can develop.
Be it the clients, co-workers or teammates, being able to put forward your opinion/ ideas visually and verbally and to be able to receive valuable inputs for improvement is a skill that’s developed by practice and patience. So don’t shy away from it.
I am still a work in progress and I try each day to be better than what I am today. The best part about this job is that there are a lot of opportunities around to learn and expand your horizons.
From Junior to Lead has been a great ride of observing and learning from the people I admire and I am thankful to all of them dearly. And I intend to stay on this path with these people to support me in the future.