Essays on the Experience of UX Job Hunting

A few years ago, I was looking for a job in user experience. Despite having years of experience, it was pretty challenging.

Trying not to get too discouraged in my search, I decided to ask a few friends for their advice. We talked about building the elusive portfolio, an absolute must for any UX designer these days. One word of advice was to think about what UX managers might be looking for when they review a portfolio, and to try and build a portfolio around that. That seemed like expert advice, but none of my friends were UX managers so they couldn’t give me one-on-one advice (or didn’t want to).

Given how easy it is to find development info online, I assumed it would be relatively easy to find more information about UX managers online, too. I started hunting for information on what managers might be looking for, what makes for a “good” UX portfolios, and information about job hunting in general.

That search eventually led me to write a long essay about what I found. I split my findings into the following parts:

  • Part I. What are managers looking for?
  • Part II. What Do Hiring Managers Agree On.
  • Part III. Profile of a UX Manager.
  • Part IV. What makes a good (UX) portfolio.
  • Part V. Good advice, Resources.

I’ve been sitting on all of this for about 2 years. At the time, some of what I wrote seemed inflammatory to me. It made me angry. Reading it now, I don’t think so. I think a lot of designers — and knowledge workers, in general — are getting frustrated for similar reasons related to job interviews, evaluation criteria, and other aspects of the hiring process. And several prominent figures in the user experience community have also written about how the education for UX design is broken, leading UX managers to complain that there are no good candidates.

Anyway, after all this time I figured it’s finally time I start publishing, so here goes with the intro. Who knows if I’ll post it all.

Design Courses with Ellen Lupton on Skillshare

Ellen Lupton is a curator of contemporary design at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City and director of the Graphic Design MFA program at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore. She is also the author of Thinking with Type, which is widely used in graphic design.

After recently browsing around on Skillshare, I discovered a few of her. Many are free and only around 30 min long. Here’s a short list. I haven’t taken them all, but I hope to review sometime soon.

Typography That Works: Typographic Composition and Fonts

Screenshot from skillshare

 

 

 

Demystifying Beauty: Inspiration for Design

scrreenshot

 

 

 

 

Graphic Design Basics

Screen shot of video on scale

 

 

 

How Posters Work

Title slide for skillshare

 

 

 

 

I’m not a big fan of the Skillshare interface — for one thing, the videos autoplay when you load the page. But, these are pretty short videos, about 30 minutes, so don’t let autoplay scare you. Plus, they’re all free.

Learning about the DOM in JavaScript, jQuery, and More

A recap of my recent experience with an intermediate JavaScript course on Lynda.

Screenshot of Lynda course
Click the image to watch the preview for ‘The DOM in JavaScript, jQuery, AngularJS, and React’ on Lynda.com.

I recently finished an interesting course on the DOM and different versions of JavaScript. I liked that it was just a taste of JavaScript, jQuery, Angular, and React. It’s called The DOM in JavaScript, jQuery, AngularJS, and React. It was released in 2017.

Much of the course was focused on regular JavaScript. I’m glad I’ve spent so much time studying JavaScript, because a lot of basic things didn’t need to be explained for me in this course.

Although I know about the DOM, using HTML, this focus on the DOM using JavaScript was an interesting approach. For instance, traversing the DOM (with classes and IDs) was fun:

document.body.children[4].children[1]

This selects the 5th child of the body, then the 2nd child from that. This is almost like using CSS selectors to select parent and child elements.

One of the things I love about Lynda is that they recommend additional courses to learn more about related topics. A few courses the instructor recommended included:

  • JavaScript Essential Training
  • jQuery for Web Designers
  • Angular 2 Essential Training
  • ReactJS Essential Training

They may have updated it, but I’ve already taken the JavaScript Essentials course before, so I’ll check if the others are already on my list. Angular is past version 2 by now, but maybe it’s easier to get started with that version.

 

Stuff I learned about Debugging on FreeCodeCamp

I recently got through the Debugging set of lessons on FreeCodeCamp. Here are a few points I learned.

Error Types

There are 3 types of errors:

  • Syntax – misspelled word, missing parentheses, etc.
  • Runtime – detected while running the program.
  • Semantic – detected after testing output. Program works but result is wrong. Be careful!
Short List

1. Use DevTools on Chrome or Firefox

2. Use console.log(); a lot. console.log spits out the value of whatever is in the () to the browser console, which helps you keep tabs on how a value is changing in your code. Sometimes you have to move the console.log to a different place, like before or after another function, because order matters and the value of your value can change.

3. Use console.clear(); to clear the memory of a value in the console. Sometimes it’s ok to forget.

4. Use typeof to keep track of values. For instance sometimes a number is a numeral and sometimes it’s a string. Write console.log(typeof value); and that will tell you the type for value.

5. Lastly, you have to watch out for misspellings, missing brackets or parentheses, using ‘=‘ instead of ‘==‘, or getting the dreaded infinite loop.


Next in FreeCodeCamp is Data Structures!