Learn to Drive Your UX Career (A Language for Enabling Career Conversations)

A session at Interaction14

Wednesday 5th February, 2014

1:30pm to 4:30pm (AMT)

As UX professionals we spend a ton of time talking about a variety of design languages but relatively little time talking about or defining a language for planning and nurturing our careers.

Having spent two decades working at a variety of companies I have experience with a variety of managers. While my role was very similar from company to company the managers’ backgrounds were radically different: Some were design experts, others hard core engineers, and a number were MBA’s with excellent leadership skills. Not once did I encounter a manager who could converse equally well about design expertise and provide effective guidance for advancing my career.

After 17 years working as an individual contributor I made the switch to full-time management. This experience has given me an entirely new perspective on the role of management and the depth of our responsibilities for developing UX careers. The transition of the past few years has been challenging, enlightening and highly educational. Of the many challenges, none were greater than providing consistent, concrete and actionable coaching feedback to my team members. If I was full of energy the discussion was lively, deep and extremely fruitful for the employee. If I was fatigued at the end of the day I would provide the bare essentials. This was deeply frustrating and motivated me to find a way to ensure equally fruitful discussions for everyone.

Interaction design, user experience, product design - whatever you want to call it - the time has come for a standardized career framework to emerge, be put into practice, and evolved through usage, feedback and open dialogs. As UX practitioners we need to take control of our careers and as managers we need to lay the groundwork for upcoming generations.

This workshop will focus on a few key assets and concepts:
1. A career ladder
2. A career and coaching framework
3. A tool for assessing both an employee’s skill set and morale

Managers should leave the workshop with a formal structural understanding of the various dimensions (and sub-dimensions) that constitute a career in UX and how to apply this structure to their workplace. The primary goal is to facilitate conversations between managers and employees and empower the latter.

Individual contributors should leave the workshop with the same formal understanding of the dimensions related to their careers but with a focus on helping employees both plan their careers and initiate effective conversations with their managers.

As presenters we will leave the workshop with invaluable feedback from our peers, a broader perspective on the variety of careers and companies in the world, and the chance to iterate our model and re-share it with the IxDA community.

About the speakers

This person is speaking at this event.
Ian Swinson

Design Director, Dad, Cyclist/Racer, Archivist, Pattern Librarian, Typophile, Neologist bio from Twitter

This person is speaking at this event.
Dan Donovan

Director, User Experience at Salesforce.com bio from LinkedIn

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Time 1:30pm4:30pm AMT

Date Wed 5th February 2014

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