Curated by Samantha Yuen
There are plenty of resources on getting started in UX. Practitioners talk about helping juniors all the time. Jared Spool even started a school. However, people seldom think about the seniors who now have to pass on hard skills as well as life skills – it’s not easy too!
How can we better support seniors to grow juniors? I hosted this discussion at the UXSG meetup yesterday with 10 other attendees having 5-15 years experience (thank you for contributing!). We didn’t find the answer to life, the universe and everything, but I hope these tips help, whether you line manage or are a super experienced guru.
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DAY-TO-DAY: Be hands-on when explaining, stay in touch with UX knowledge and tools, expose juniors to the bigger picture (e.g. their role in the organisation), let them own small tasks, give opportunities to lead, run regular team sharing sessions (they get to practice presenting, amongst other things), meet one-on-one weekly to coach them on a personal level.
ANNUAL: Collaborate on coming up with their work objectives, help them see their strengths (and also weaknesses), use tools (e.g StrengthsFinder) to assess where they stand.
PERSONAL: Set and communicate rules of engagement (e.g. ask me anything but only between 10-11am), be a buddy or facilitator than a manager, be approachable and open (even when they screw up), don’t be too protective, let them fail and learn from mistakes, have empathy for their struggles (you were once a junior!), you’re not solely responsible for their growth, it’s ok not to have all the answers.
ORGANISATION: Ask for formal training (e.g. line management, teaching soft skills), start a senior buddy programme.
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Interestingly, we shared the room with a large group of juniors who were discussing salaries and how to quickly advance their UX careers. Our topics could not be more disparate smile emoticon