TOP 8 things I learned in 6 months as a junior designer at Goodrequest
Getting started is never easy, and it's no different in the world of UX design. The road is thorny, but not impossible, I know what I'm talking about. That's why I want to share with you my experience from this journey and pass on a few tips.
"Getting into UX design as a junior? Pfff, impossible...".
"Companies don't want junior designers... You must have at least 3 years of experience...'"
This is just a drop in the ocean from what I saw daily on social networks. As a aspiring junior UX designer, these types of posts and comments did not boost my self-confidence. "After all, there must be some company that cares about young professionals 🤔", I thought to myself... Until I found it.
In October 2021, I signed up for the GoodRequest Design challenge, a competition for students and starting designers, in which, to my great surprise, I finished second!
If you want to see what the first version of the prototype looked like, feel free to click through 👈
In addition to the great feeling and the gift from GoodRequest, I especially received very valuable feedback from the designers. This kicked me off and I spent the next 3 months learning and creating my first portfolio. Long story short – my efforts finally paid off, because since April 2022 I am a proud member of the GoodRequest design team!
It's been 6 months since I started and I've learned so much. I'm choosing 8 things that might help you too - if you're just at the beginning of your UX design journey.
Ask for feedback. Again, and again, and aga...
Even though you may not take feedback easily (it's hard), especially as a junior, constructive feedback will advance not only the project you are working on, but also you as a person. It is also the best form of learning - when you get feedback from designers, PMs or devs and learn to work with it, it can significantly boost your progress.
Design is a non-linear process.
What you learn from courses, UX bootcamps, articles and case studies at the beginning of your career usually doesn't apply at all in practice. Design is not a checklist of mandatory steps that you tick off. Every project is different, sometimes you have to take a step back to move forward.
Don't be scared.
I had a big problem with this 😄 You know that you don't know anything (🥲), you're afraid to speak up so you don't say something stupid, and Imposter syndrome is your daily "friend". Everyone started somehow, the beginnings are always difficult and it will pass after time. This shall pass too.
Take enough time to familiarize yourself with the tool. While you have time for it.
At the beginning of their career, juniors mostly work on smaller tasks, smaller flows within existing projects, they spend a lot of time in Figma/Adobe or other design tools. Try to make the most of this time and learn to work in the tool you are using while you have the time. It will be easier, faster and more efficient for you, which you will use later in practice.
In the beginning, I worked on smaller projects at GoodRequest, thanks to which I had the opportunity to get to know and practice more advanced functions in Figma. Today, after 6 months, I appreciate this approach even more for more demanding projects.
Our selection of the best Figma plugins can also help you.
Set goals for each month and try to achieve them.
If you have the opportunity, set up regular 1 on 1 meetings with your lead, where you will discuss your potential problems, progress and set new goals. It's very motivating when you know that you will have to report your progress at the end of the month 😊 It's one of the benefits we have at GoodRequest, and I really like it.
Try to incorporate education into every day, even 15 minutes is enough. This way, you will improve much faster and more linearly than if you were to suddenly study for an hour once a week. (Or 4 hours before the review 😄)
The company's high UX maturity is (not only) a great benefit for a junior designer.
UX design is a relatively young industry, and despite the fact that more and more companies are beginning to understand its role and benefits and importance, UX maturity is still quite low in many companies. It is a huge benefit for a starting designer to work in a team of experienced designers within a company that understands and supports design thinking. You have enough space to develop your skills, colleagues know how to help you and guide you properly. I am very grateful that GoodRequest is a company with a high UXmaturity!
Working with developers will teach you to think about the questions, "what happens to the user in the app when he goes through the tunnel and his signal drops out..."
Even if you think that you have included all possible empty states in the design and possibilities that could arise when using the application, you are definitely wrong 😄 A good developer will find you XY other use cases that you forgot about. It is important to learn to work with developers and try to understand how they think and why they think that way. It will move you forward.
Remote is great, but sometimes it can be difficult.
Working fully remote has many advantages, but also a few disadvantages. Personally, I really appreciate the freedom that working at GoodRequest offers me, but at the same time, I sometimes miss normal, everyday contact with my colleagues. You don't always have a perfect overview of what is happening in the team on a personal level, you don't always have the opportunity to ask for quick advice from the colleague sitting on the left, why, for example, "this happens in Figma when I click on the icon in the header".
In the design team, we try to replace personal contact as much as possible - we have regular meetups via the Around app, which is the exact opposite of serious Teams and Meet meetings. We play bomberman through it, play background music, funny jingles, gifs, "light" a fire... try it, the GR design team approves!😊
The most cutting edge news is that we are introducing are also daily standups, where each of us will have the opportunity to ask for advice, quick feedback, get advice on how to proceed in the project... by which we try to simulate a classic, friendly office environment that we remote team members do not experience on a daily basis .
And last but not least, when the situation allows it, we also meet in person at teambuilding events. And that's always worth it 😍!
Last but not least, dear junior designer - don't forget to enjoy your UX journey. Be happy that you are still only a junior, because you are still allowed to make small mistakes and learn from them. No one expects you to know everything 100%. Don't rush anywhere, everything has its time 😊
From my point of view, it is not entirely common that companies employ newly graduated juniors and try to actively educate them and advance their careers. I appreciate it all the more that GoodRequest decided to go this route. Therefore, my final advice is - definitely do not hesitate and apply for the next Design (or Developer) Challenge or Academy! 😊