Lunch and Learn’s are opportunities to learn from working professionals and passionate people about their experiences and knowledge in specific topics. In this Lunch and Learn hosted by Debbie and Sidney of WANDR studio, we will discuss how Professional Development can help advance your career and the benefits of investing in improving your skillset.
Why Should You Invest in Professional Development?
Most people think education is done once they have entered the workforce, some expect they will never have to further their education as they build their career from the ground up. In reality, there’s plenty of education that can be done while in your career. In spending the time to constantly educate and continue with career training, developing new skills, etc. you can stay ahead of current trends and strengthen your work. The benefit of professional development can help people advance their careers while giving professionals creative confidence in their designs. It’s essential to continue to adapt to the constantly changing market and always look for new ways to become a better designer.
What Does Professional Development for Product Designers Entail?
Professional development for product designers entails understanding emerging trends, thorough research methods, and improving UI design skills. In growing your career in product design it’s important to layout your goals and takeaways you’d like to have from a professional development course. What objectives can you realistically fit into your daily routine, which is an important step to clarify in your training. For objectives such as becoming a faster designer or how to design with clear intention, it’s crucial to know where to know what skills you want to improve on throughout your development process.
As you try to fit your professional development into your daily life it can help to have an accountability buddy, someone who checks in on progress and may even be working on their career growth as well. An accountability buddy gives you the opportunity to ask questions and share your learning experience with someone else, ultimately absorbing information better.
Structure for Professional Development Meetings
When beginning your professional development process let’s start by setting a schedule, for example, meeting with a mentor or within a structured class once a week for an hour at a time. Meetings could consist of discussion around current interests and recently discovered content, then move to review homework or projects that you may have been working on. Incorporating critiques can be incredibly helpful when evaluating your growth. It's important to take this feedback and apply it as you go. Participating in critiquing others’ work can also be beneficial in reflecting on your own work and growth, sometimes we are able to see clearly when we step back and analyze someone else’s work. Meetings should end with some kind of takeaway whether that’s an assignment or task to complete before the next meeting or research to be done.
Notetaking is another great method to absorb new material better. As you learn through discussions and videos taking effective notes to review at a later day can reinforce the material you’re learning for maximum retention. Comparing notes with other designers can also be beneficial, for there could be discussions or subjects you may have missed originally. Discussing your notes with others also gives you the opportunity to get a further elaboration of a concept you may have misinterpreted.
Taking a look at examples of good and bad designs can also be an advantageous learning lesson. When you can compare side by side what may be working and what may not be in someone else’s designs you can better evaluate how to include or avoid these elements in your own designs.
Resources for Professional Development
The tools commonly used for professional development can excel your growth process and aid in creating an organized routine when using reliable resources to learn from. Resources such as Udemy, Figma, and Google Sheets, to name a few, have proven successful in teaching working professionals new skills and concepts to further their careers.
Workshops, conferences, and online courses are great options for your professional development journey. Finding the best format for you, what fits your schedule and where you could learn the most from.
Professional development can benefit your career in many ways from your skillset to how you apply a new work method to your everyday life. Constantly finding new ways to improve your work and processes will keep you in the know of today's forever evolving design world and product markets. Staying up to date and utilizing relevant subjects are key to successfully growing your career.
Check out our other Lunch & Learn article on UX Writing.
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