Joe Dyer - Alphabet Soup: Career Paths, Interviews, and Skill Sets

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The era of the lone designer is pretty much over. When it comes to selecting the best candidates for work in experience design positions, design rationale and the process are becoming more important the the actual quality of the portfolio. There is considerable movement away from a skill set and towards a problem solving mindset or world view. Individual skill sets (JavaScript, design, coding) are becoming commoditized. A generalist with shallow understanding of design, code, wireframing, usability, coupled with the normal people skills and organizational skills are becoming the desired candidate. In this talk, you will learn how to position yourself to get hired for your next design gig and learn what hiring managers want and need. You will get your competitive edge to stand out from the crowd.

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  • This presentation is largely meant for those new or somewhat new to ux career.\n\nif you are already a senior practitioner, you can get some good resources but you are likely to savage me in the presenter feedback\n\n\n
  • how dare i give advice!!\n\nsmallest company ever worked for 9,000\n\nover 200 interviews\n\nmore than 400 hours in usability testing lab\n\nWell over 100 applications designed by me now in production across a range of industries\n
  • my phenomenal team of ux pros at Sabre Travel Network\n
  • Purpose is to inspire you ... to show you a way ahead\n\nthat a successful and very lucrative career is out there to be had \n\n... despite the bad economy.\n\n\n\n
  • In 2007, I was at an Adaptive Path conference in Washington\n\nI heard a presentation about how Google was only hiring T-shaped people.\n\n\n
  • I took exception to that notion\n\ni thought of using many people shapes and creating teams out of \nthem much like Tetris.\n\n
  • You also have your I shaped. specialists.\n\ndeep in one discipline\n\n
  • jack of all trades, master of none.\n\nfor much of my career, I would have considered myself one of these.\n
  • but every year the stakes get higher and higher and there is more demanded out of us\n\nit is my aim today to convince you that the generalist skill set is not only the most desired skill set, but a lucrative one as well.\n\nand if you choose to become a generalist yourself, know that the path is attainable even if daunting.\n
  • Generalists\n\nare highly desired and therefore well paid.\n\nfurther, they are most likely to achieve Principal and managerial titles is they so choose.\n\nbasically, a bullet proof way to stay employed\n
  • The following was in an article written by jared spool describing the need for generalists and the conditions that favor them.\n\nthis here sounds about like any UX shop I have ever heard of\n\nConditions Favorable to Generalists\nWhen your project work is all over the board and requiring skills from many different disciplines, you’re better off with a generalist. The broad skill sets of generalists allow them to switch quickly.\nThe best generalists will tackle a complicated interaction design problem on Monday, conduct thorough user research on Tuesday and Wednesday, help another team with their information architecture on Thursday, and sketch out some new page layouts on Friday. Their skills are not just within the specific disciplines, but also in understanding how to switch gears quickly and take on new projects.\nGeneralists pay off in fast moving organizations with a high-pressure fire hose exuding out small, targeted projects. The fast pace and variety of the work will energize a talented generalist, who brings value by connecting the disparate projects together to create common threads and elements.\nWhen you’re wearing your hiring manager hat, you’ll want to look at the history of your project work. It’s valuable to take an inventory of the skills that your team needed to complete each phase and deliverable. How much of each project was information architecture? How much was interaction design?\n\n
  • another jared spool article. \n\nbroad support for the generalist skill set within the industry\n\n http://www.uie.com/brainsparks/2006/09/08/specialists-vs-generalists/\n
  • 37 signals, a very respected company in the ux space ...\n
  • they make it very clear how they feel about designers getting dirty with the code\n\nit would be like trying to make it as a fashion designer and know little to nothing about fabric.\n\nKnowing the medium\n
  • Looks move into skill sets and define them just a little\n\n
  • 2 major types of skill sets\n
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  • since we are a on a bit of a food and cooking metaphor \n\nskills as blades works nicely\n\nso lets look at our first blade\n
  • Let’s be clear and define exactly what we mean by Information Architecture.\n\nmaking the complex simple. \n\nalso making all of the design planning documents simple to be used by \nvisual designers\ntechnical resources,\nbiz managers\nkey stakeholders\n\n\n
  • it is a lot more than just churning out diagrams. there is a lot to consider in terms of sequence and placement\n\n not to mention the rationale you choose to support design decisions.\n
  • for every one of the skills, i like to give 3 free online resources that can go a long\nway to sharpening your skill\n\n\n
  • crazy sick amount of templates and goodies\n\ndiagrams, stencils, imagery, full on deliverables\n
  • Bill Scott/Theresa Neil is my fave of this collection\n\n\n
  • contemporary web or UI design\n\n\n\n\n
  • visual design\ninformation design\n\ninteraction design\n\nskin, look and feel, etc\n\n
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  • HTML 5\nCSS\n\nJQUERY\njavascript or javastrip ... a few people in this room will get that reference\n
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  • talk about driving the bus\n\ntalk about losing the fireman’s helmet\n
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  • Let’s pause here and really consider what this chart is saying...\n\nConsider the perceived value of the title and role.\n\nthat one’s ability to achieve the level or title must either already be contributing ...\n\nhttp://www.slideshare.net/kristenjohansen/creating-career-paths-for-ux-professionals\n
  • Katrina Alcorn\n
  • a snapshot of our industry\n\nTell them about A LIST APART, An Event Apart, A book Apart\n\nthey have been doing these annual surveys for about 4 years now\n
  • We tend to have a college degree\n\nbtw, i have known a lot of great designers who don’t have a degree\n\nit just helps a lot to get past the HR departments at many companies\n\n
  • some good news ... our degrees seem to have some bearing on our jobs\n\n\n
  • We tend to have a blog or online presence\n\n\n
  • these stats square with what is essentially an aging UX work force\n
  • We tend to find ourselves in larger organizations\n\nthis is good... this is where advancement, career progression can occur\n
  • here is the distribution across organization size\n\nbut look at the next slide ...\n
  • More than a third of us work in large organizations.\n\nFertile ground for advancement due to hierarchical nature of large organizations\n\n you are also More likely to come into contact with HR departments the fun cycle of interviews\n
  • as you can see, the survey sample size is high at over 16k\n\nthis is less flattering than i would have guessed for our career field.\n\nfurther, the notes indicate that the salary distributions have stayed largely the same for the last several years\n
  • But i want to focus your attention on the last three segments that total more than 10 percent\n\nslightly more than one in 10 of us is making better than six figure income.\n\nit is certainly within the grasp of every one in this room to do so\n\nand if you needed any more encouragement ...\n
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  • some of you might be thinking about management \n
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  • http://www.uxmatters.com/mt/archives/2008/07/how-to-succeed-as-a-first-time-ux-manager.php\n\nhttp://lists.iainstitute.org/listinfo.cgi/ux-management-iainstitute.org\n
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  • Hiring managers really care whether you have an online presence or not\n\nCan be: a collection of social media sites or a dedicated portfolio/blog site\n\nthe point is for the manager to get an idea of how you think. can you communicate well? do you have the skills to pay the bills?\n\nvs\n\nSomebody who treats UX like a day job and can't be bothered to participate online (where a great deal of learning can occur with UI treatments and current trends)\n
  • infographic resume\n
  • PETER MERHOLZ\nRICHARD DALTON\nANDREW SANDLER\nLIVIA LABATE\n
  • NOTICE HOW ONLY 1 MANAGER COMMENTED ON THE HARD SKILLS\n
  • VS. WHAT IS IN YOUR PORTFOLIO\n\n\n
  • time to wrap this up with a couple of good lists.\n\nno matter what level of UX you are currently striving for ...\n\nknow that:\nmost people don’t think the same way you do\n\nmany of your strengths can be detrimental under pressure\n\n\n
  • avoid niche skill sets and play the odds\n\n\n\n\n\n
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  • Joe Dyer - Alphabet Soup: Career Paths, Interviews, and Skill Sets

    1. 1. ALPHAB ET SO UP SKILL SETS, CAREER PATHS, & INTERVIEWSJOE DYERMANAGER OF USER EXPERIENCESABRE TRAVEL NETWORK
    2. 2. ABOUT ME MANAGER, USER EXPERIENCE SENIOR UX TITLES I HAVE HELD DESIGNER SENIOR INFORMATION ARCHITECT UX ARCHITECT SENIOR WEB PRODUCER INTERACTION DESIGNER DIRECTOR OF NEW MEDIA VIDEO PRODUCER COMBAT CAMERA TEAM LEADER @JOEPLANET
    3. 3. ABOUT ME YTEAM M
    4. 4. ๏ SKILL SETS ๏ CAREER PATH ๏ INTERVIEWINGTHREE MAIN INGREDIENTS
    5. 5. THE GENERALIST
    6. 6. CONDITIONS FAVORING GENERALISTS ๏ when work is all over the board ๏ when work changes quickly ๏ where there is high-pressuresource:spool
    7. 7. USER INTERFACE ENGINEERING 5%ISTS 1 L IA EC SP 5 %source: 8 GE NE RA L IST Suie.com
    8. 8. 37 SIGNALS ARTICLE 37SIGNALSsource:37signals.c
    9. 9. 37 SIGNALS ARTICLE 37SIGNALS rk at 37 signals wo ’s why al l designers e simply d on’t That SS. W ly with H TML and C et their ha nds direct on’t g er desig ners who d o the kind of consid vant t he ma terials rele dirty with t o. work we d
    10. 10. SKILL
    11. 11. HARD SKILLS VS. SOFT SKILLS presenting interpersonal๏ information architecture planning/time mgmt๏ visual design๏ presentation layer coding
    12. 12. HARD SKILLS VS. SOFT SKILLS presenting interpersonal๏ information architecture planning/time mgmt๏ visual design๏ presentation layer coding the skills you need to get a job
    13. 13. HARD SKILLS VS. SOFT SKILLS presenting interpersonal๏ information architecture planning/time mgmt๏ visual design๏ presentation the skills that layer coding usually cost you your job
    14. 14. SKILLS ASSHARP ASBLADES
    15. 15. HARD SKILL INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE the categorization of information into a coherent structure, preferably one that most people can understand quickly, if not inherently. Its usually hierarchical, but can have other structures, such as concentric or even chaotic.source:wikipedia
    16. 16. HARD SKILLINFORMATION ARCHITECTURE Vacation Packages Flights Hotels Cars/Rail Cruises Activities Last Minute Packages ExperienceFinderSM Customer Support Super Promo Search for Vacations Screaming Deals Silver Lining Sale: Save up to 50% on hotels when you book a package Round-Trip One-Way Featured Deals From: To: Image Image Image Image Compare surrounding airports ? Lorem ipsum Lorem ipsum Lorem ipsum Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, dolor sit amet, dolor sit amet, dolor sit amet, consectetur consectetur consectetur consectetur More >> Top Destinations Image Image Image Image Ski Las Vegas California Hawaii from $361 from $361 from $361 from $361 300x250 Image Image Image Image Mexico Caribbean Casinos Shopping from $361 from $361 from $361 from $361 Sign Up For Email Alerts Learn More Image Image Image Image Enter your E-Mail Address... Submit Mexico Caribbean Casinos Shopping !"#$%&#$()*$+(,-./)012#3 from $361 from $361 from $361 from $361 !".4$#)&($2(,-./$5,2.6$,(.$7.81%/.9$0".0:$)&($,1($,45$ More >> ")2./$(,2.$0,/.45,(6$2)$0)*;,(.$;(10.6$5,#<%#<5,#9$ ,45$=.2$2".$%.62$;(10.> More Great Offers ?1.@$*)(.$(.,6)46$2)$%&#$()*$+(,-./)012# Escorted Tours Last Minute Packages Image Featured Escorted Vacations Preferred Partners Top 10 Destinations Vacation Tools
    17. 17. HARD SKILLINFORMATION ARCHITECTURE JJG’S VISUAL EIGHTSHAPES BOXES AND VOCABULARY UNIFY ARROWS unify.eightshapes.com .jjg.net/ia/visvocab/ boxesandarrows.com /
    18. 18. HARD SKILLINFORMATION ARCHITECTURE JJG’S VISUAL EIGHTSHAPES BOXES AND VOCABULARY UNIFY ARROWS unify.eightshapes.com .jjg.net/ia/visvocab/ boxesandarrows.com / graffletopia.co m extra bonus for mac users
    19. 19. HARD SKILLINFORMATION ARCHITECTURESUGGESTEDREADING LIST Information Architecture for the World Wide Web: Designing Large-Scale Web Sites -- Peter Morville, Louis Rosenfeld Ambient Findability -- Peter Morville Don’t Make Me Think -- Steve
    20. 20. HARD SKILL VISUAL DESIGN communication design is a mixed discipline between design and information-development which is concerned with how media intermission such as printed, crafted, electronic media or presentations communicate with people. a communication design approach is not only concerned with developing the message aside from the aesthetics in media, but also with creating new media channels tosource: ensure the message reaches thewikipedia
    21. 21. HARD SKILLVISUAL DESIGN
    22. 22. HARD SKILLVISUAL DESIGN SMASHING METHOD CREATTICA MAGAZINE AND CRAFT smashingmagazine.co creattica.com methodandcraft.com m
    23. 23. HARD SKILLVISUAL DESIGNSUGGESTEDREADING LIST Visualize This -- Nathan Yau Information Design Workbook -- Kim Baer Web Design: E-Commerce --
    24. 24. HARD SKILLPRESENTATION LAYER CODING articulation of a visual design in a reader agent while vastly improving the experience with nuts-and-bolts basics of interaction design.
    25. 25. HARD SKILLPRESENTATION LAYER CODING
    26. 26. HARD SKILLPRESENTATION LAYER CODING SMASHING 960 GRID ADDY MAGAZINE SYSTEM OSMANI smashingmagazine.co 960.gs addyosmani.com m
    27. 27. HARD SKILLPRESENTATION LAYER CODINGSUGGESTEDREADING LIST The Smashing Book #2 -- Smashing Magazine Designing with Web Standards -- Jeffrey Zeldman
    28. 28. SOFT SKILLS presenting interpersonal planning/time mgmt
    29. 29. SOFT SKILL PRESENTINGsource:hollywood
    30. 30. SOFT SKILLPRESENTING NOTE AND SLIDESHARE SLIDEROCKET POINT noteandpoint.com slideshare.net sliderocket.com
    31. 31. SOFT SKILLPRESENTING SUGGESTED READING LIST The Exceptional Presenter -- Timothy J. Koegel Presentation Zen -- Garr Reynolds
    32. 32. SOFT SKILLINTERPERSONAL SKILLS give and receive constructive feedback knowledge sharing collaboration conflict resolution client management office politics
    33. 33. SOFT SKILLINTERPERSONAL SKILLSSUGGESTEDREADING LIST The Art of Project Management -- Scott Berkun FYI: For Your Improvement, A Guide for Development and Coaching -- Michael M. Lombardo, Robert W. Eichinger
    34. 34. SOFT SKILLPLANNING / TIME MANAGEMENT ability to prioritize when to use which tool be early and drive the bus lose the fire helmet even if you’re not billing by the hour
    35. 35. SOFT SKILLPLANNING / TIME MANAGEMENT
    36. 36. SOFT SKILLPLANNING / TIME MANAGEMENT lifehacker.com 43folders.com Teaux Deaux
    37. 37. informationarchitecturevisual designpresentationlayer coding
    38. 38. SHARPENONE BLADEAT A TIME
    39. 39. P I C K - U P W I N D OWCAREER PATH
    40. 40. JOB TITLES & SCOPE OF INFLUENCE sets direction Principal, Creative Director, Chief, VP, President, CXO, Managing Partner Manager, Director, Strategist, contributes organizationally Architect, Partner Staff, Senior, Lead, Art Director, Mid- contributes through others contributes independently level, Analyst contributes dependentlyAssociate, Assistant, Junior, Coordinator, Production source: johansen
    41. 41. TYPICAL AGENCY MODEL principals, practice leads senior practitioners interns, associatessource:alcorn
    42. 42. A LIST APART SURVEY 2010
    43. 43. SURVEY 2010source: ala
    44. 44. SURVEY 2010source: ala
    45. 45. SURVEY 2010source: ala
    46. 46. SURVEY 2010source: ala
    47. 47. SURVEY 2010source: ala
    48. 48. SURVEY 2010source: ala
    49. 49. SURVEY 2010 35.3%source: ala
    50. 50. SURVEY 2010source: ala
    51. 51. SURVEY 2010 10 .5%source: ala
    52. 52. WHAT DO UX MANAGERS DO? internal external companies agencies ๏ ‘evangelize’ ๏ sales ๏ manage/coach teams ๏ manage/coach teams ๏ network in company ๏ client relations ๏ hire/staff projects ๏ hire/staff projects ๏ project work ๏ project work ๏ teach/write ๏ teach/write ๏ admin/operations/new ๏ admin/operations/new processes processessource:alcorn
    53. 53. WHAT DO UX MANAGERS DO? internal external companies agencies ๏ ‘evangelize’ ๏ sales ๏ manage/coach teams ๏ manage/coach teams ๏ network in company ๏ client relations ๏ hire/staff projects ๏ hire/staff projects ๏ project work ๏ project work ๏ teach/write ๏ teach/write ๏ admin/operations/new ๏ admin/operations/new processes processessource:alcorn
    54. 54. MANAGER READING LIST FYI: For Your Improvement, A Guide for Development and Coaching -- Michael M. Lombardo, Robert W. Eichinger First Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently -- Marcus Buckingham, Curt Coffman manager-tools.com 12: The Elements of Great Join the UX Management Discussion List at iainstitute.org Managing -- Rodd Wagner and
    55. 55. III. Interviewing ๏ need big image here to kickoff INTERVIEWS interviewing ๏ maybe a pot on a burner
    56. 56. MUST HAVE AN ONLINE PRESENCEsource:simplebits.
    57. 57. DO YOU DISPLAY YOUR SKILLsource:michaelanderson
    58. 58. WHAT MANAGERS ARE LOOKINGFOR ๏ “passion is tops. they need to have a love for the work.” ๏ “good critical thinkers. people who get the big picture.” ๏ “good communication. if you can’t communicate effectively, you can’t do your job.” ๏ “at salesforce, everybody codes. You have to have technical competence. ๏ “a serious commitment to the ia [ux] community.” ๏ “soft skills! we work in teams a lot. you have to collaborate well.”source:alcorn
    59. 59. WHAT MANAGERS ARE LOOKINGFOR ๏ “passion is tops. they need to have a love for the work.” ๏ “good critical thinkers. people who get the big picture.” ๏ “good communication. if you can’t communicate effectively, you can’t do your job.” ๏ “at salesforce, everybody codes. You have to have technical competence. ๏ “a serious commitment to the ia [ux] community.” ๏ “soft skills! we work in teams a lot. you have to collaborate well.”source:alcorn
    60. 60. THINKING ON YOUR FEET
    61. 61. BARRIERS TO SUCCESS๏ not asking questions; repeated technical mistakes๏ slow skills development, stuck in old methods๏ working alone too much๏ lack of accountability for problems๏ no prioritizing; scattered, always putting out fires source: johansen
    62. 62. IN SUMMARY ๏ play the odds and be a generalist ๏ sharpen one blade at a time ๏ master your soft skills no matter how awesome you think you are ๏ 6-figure income is within your reach ๏ managers want to see you participate in the digital space; show your enthusiasm for all things ux
    63. 63. THANKS FOR LISTENING TWITTER: @JOEPLANET
    64. 64. RESOURCESStock Photos:photos.comSpool:http://johnnyholland.org/2011/03/15/should-you-hire-a-ux-specialist-or-a-ux-generalist/http://www.uie.com/brainsparks/2006/09/08/specialists-vs-generalists/37Signals:http://37signals.com/svn/posts/1066-web-designers-should-do-their-own-htmlcssJohansen:http://www.slideshare.net/kristenjohansen/creating-career-paths-for-ux-professionalsAlcorn:http://uxweek2007.adaptivepath.com/sessions/how-to-manage-a-user-experience-team-without-losing-your-mindHollywood:http://noteandpoint.com/2010/10/designing-for-a-complete-experience/ALA:http://aneventapart.com/alasurvey2010/Vector illustrations by C. ImaizumiCreated while listening to OK Computerby Radiohead and Veni Vedi Vicious by The Hives

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