Is a first time UX Designer best suited to an agency?

Ready to climb the career ladder of product design? Esther Fraenkel has you covered! Esther is our Senior Product Consultant here at ISL and she has written a fantastic short blog that draws on the knowledge and experience of her fellow product professionals about whether an agency, contract or freelance role. Esther has sourced a range of top tips from Product Managers through to those who are just starting out…sound useful? Read on…

Senior Consultant in Product Space

You’ve got your career ladder and you’ve propped it up again the house of product design. The wall of UX is yours to climb, but what’s on that first rung?

Agency or end client? Contract or Perm? Dare you freelance with just your confidence to back you?

The choice is 100% yours and different people excel in different environments. However, if you are a little stuck, take some advice from those that have been there. I’ve taken advice from a large number of designers; from those just starting out, through to managers that do it with their eyes closed. Here’s what they had to say:

1.      Utilise the variety that an agency can offer you: working for an agency allows you to work within a team that knows what they are doing, yet works on multiple projects for differing clients.

2.      If you chose an agency, absorb absorb ABSORB!! Here you have real space to learn from others and grow as a designer.

3.      Start with contracting and switch to permanent later on: the money is better, the projects are ever-changing and let’s face it; not every company is perfect. Collect the good, the bad and the ugly, allowing yourself to mould the best way from many.

4.      Accept that you will have potentially more impact in a permanent role and may progress quicker (this is not guaranteed.)

5.      If you are looking for a permanent role, look for somewhere that offers mentors. Research your Line Manager and what they can do for you and find someone with the energy and desire to support you.

6.      It’s probably best to find somewhere with a product team in place(even just one), if this is your first role. Failing that, find a CEO who is onboard with a basic understanding and real ability to assist with your development.

7.      When choosing your role – DO NOT RUSH – shop around and find that agency with the best reputation! One that puts UCD at the front of every project; no matter whether its design, marketing or development.

This post originally appeared on the ISL Recruitment blog and was written by Amy Magee. Read more of Amy's posts here

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