Have you ever decided to run a marathon without knowing where to start?
If you're new to running, preparing for and completing a marathon can be a daunting challenge. This is where a mentor comes in.
A mentor can guide and advise you on how to prepare, share their knowledge and experience, and help you reach your goals faster.
The same principle applies to your UX design career. Seeking a mentor can be a valuable step in your professional development.
In this article, we'll explore the main reasons why you should consider finding a mentor and how to go about doing so.
But what does Mentoring mean?
To understand what mentoring is, one must first understand what it means to be a mentor.
The concept of a mentor is tied to someone with more experience, an advisor. It can also be someone who motivates, encourages, and guides.
With this in mind, we can define mentoring as building a relationship with people who can help you learn and improve, both in your professional and personal life.
Mentoring can be applied in virtually all professional areas, including UX Design.
Why have a mentor in UX Design?
Despite the growth of the UX Design market, knowledge in this area is still dispersed, making learning UX Design a field that requires dedication and work.
That's why having a UX mentor can be of great help.
A UX mentor is an experienced professional who can share their knowledge, insights, and experience with their mentees.
With a mentor, you can learn how to apply UX Design principles and techniques more effectively, as well as how to navigate the field.
Let's explore exactly how a mentor can help you advance in your UX Design career.
1) Technical expertise
The mentors are professionals who are active in the UX Design industry and who have already had the opportunity to participate in several projects and develop several solutions and products.
It is not surprising, therefore, that they have a lot of technical experience in:
- UX Design and User-Centered Design concepts;
- Concepts in Psychology;
- User research and testing methodologies;
- Business knowledge;
- Prototyping and building wireframes;
- Design Thinking;
- Filosofia Ágil;
- Agile Philosophy;
- among many others.
This way, no matter how much you are studying, taking courses, and consuming content, the mentor will help you better put all this knowledge and concepts into practice.
2) Behavioral experience
A complete professional is not only based on technical skills (Hard Skills) but also on behavioral skills (Soft Skills).
These skills are very important for companies and recruiters, according to the InVision research.
However, unlike technical skills, soft skills tend to take a little longer to learn and/or hone.
A UX mentor can help you better understand which soft skills are most important for you to develop, depending on your moment, situation, and your career goal.
Without a doubt, help with soft skills is one of the most important that a mentor can provide.
Reading Tip: 5 Soft Skills to Make a Difference as a Designer
3) Experience in projects and adverse situations
In UX design, practice can differ from theory, especially in project development. There are situations that you can't learn to deal with in books, which is normal for beginners.
With limited experience, a mentor can be invaluable by sharing experiences in adverse situations, discussing difficulties faced, and how they overcame them.
The idea is to inspire and learn from stories to prepare for project situations that may arise.
4) Other points of view
As a UX Designer, it's essential to broaden your horizons by gaining exposure to different solutions and viewpoints. By doing so, you can improve your skills and enhance your understanding of your projects and work processes.
A mentor can provide valuable insights and a fresh perspective to help you expand your portfolio of ideas. Therefore, it's critical to keep an open mind and be receptive to new methods and solutions.
To achieve success as a UX Designer, it's crucial to seek out diverse perspectives and approaches, which can help you grow and develop in your field.
Reading Tip: 7 Mistakes to Avoid In Your UX Design Portfolio
5) Relationships and networking
As we have seen, mentoring involves establishing a relationship. This relationship, in turn, creates a network of contacts, which is commonly known as networking.
Having a mentor can help improve your networking by opening doors to meet other professionals, communities, and UX designers who can become valuable contacts and references for your work.
It may even lead to a situation where your mentor can refer you to a job opportunity or something similar.
However, mentoring should not be primarily about networking. As we have seen, mentoring is focused on professional development, and networking comes as a consequence.
The relationship with a mentor can be a powerful tool for growing professionally, and networking is an added benefit.
So, don't overlook the value of having a mentor as a critical component of your professional development journey.
How to find a mentor?
The most common place to find a mentor is in the workplace. Some companies even have internal mentoring programs for their employees.
But if this is not your case, in the workplace, look for a professional whom you admire and who has the attitude, values, and way of working that are compatible with yours. Introduce yourself and start talking about your experiences, doubts, etc.
You may be able to schedule frequent chats to maintain this ongoing learning relationship.
Besides work, you may meet people in communities, events, and various other groups. So keep an open mind and participate in the market. Only then will you have the chance to meet excellent professionals.
This type of mentoring is more informal and should happen naturally. There is no need to ask if the person accepts to be your mentor, just focus on the relationship and on learning from them.
Are there formal mentorships?
There are formal, professional mentorships, which are contracted as a service. They have a cost and a deadline.
Generally, this type of mentoring needs to be very well chosen, because the basis of good mentoring is the relationship. If you are interested in looking for mentoring on the Internet, be careful not to fall into any traps and end up losing your money.
Do not confuse a mentor with a digital influencer
It's common for professionals to share tips on social media these days. That said, this content can't be considered mentoring.
A mentor plays a more focused and exclusive role in your needs. They listen to you, understand your situation, and provide targeted guidance.
In other words, consuming content from other professionals on social media isn't mentoring. While the content may be excellent, it's not tailored to your specific needs.
Remember, don't confuse these two concepts!
The Mastering Interface Design Program Mentorship
Aela also has a mentoring program.
We believe that theoretical learning, practical learning, and mentoring go hand in hand.
Our MID students have exclusive access to mentoring to help them excel in their studies and professional development.
The MID has a mentoring program in 3 formats:
- Individual mentoring: students have constant monitoring through the study platform, written feedback from the teachers, and correction of the exercises proposed at each level until final approval. The approval of each module happens only when the exercise is adequate for that level;
- Live class mentoring: these take place in groups, at least once a month. In these, the students individually present their exercises/projects simulating a portfolio presentation in an interview and receive feedback from both the mentor and their peers;
- Student community on Slack: on the Slack platform, students and mentors interact by asking questions and sharing only high-level content and job opportunities.
In other words, Aela has a strong commitment to its students' learning and knows how important the mentoring process is. And our students also view our mentoring in a positive way.
Testimonials from MID students about our mentoring
Check out what our students have to say about our mentoring!
“Another thing that I found essential was the mentorships and the opportunities to develop real projects. Getting UX mentoring in the live classes and feedback to know where you can improve was very cool in this process.“
“I kept wondering if it was really possible to switch from Law to UX Design and I even spoke on several occasions with the MID mentors. I think the advantage of Aela is having a support network, being able to talk to someone in the field and get feedback.”
"The live mentoring classes with the MID teachers were essential for me to learn how to elaborate a line of reasoning from the moment of problem identification to the moment of solution. In fact, I learned not only how to craft that line of reasoning, but also how to be able to present it to other people."
"The mentorship (from MID) made all the difference for me. It's very important to get feedback on what I'm doing right or wrong, and how I can improve. The interviews with the professionals that you guys do here were also essential. It really opened my mind."
Embark on a transformative journey of self-improvement across multiple facets with the powerful tool of mentoring. In the realm of UX Design, seeking a mentor can be a game-changer for your career growth and development.
We wholeheartedly encourage you to explore the remarkable benefits of having a mentor by your side. They will guide and empower you to unlock your full potential in the dynamic field of UX Design.
And if you're ready to take your aspirations to the next level, don't miss the opportunity to join our MID program. It's a gateway to an incredible mentoring experience that will propel you toward extraordinary achievements.
Remember: with the right mentor and the right program, the possibilities are limitless.
Seize this opportunity and embark on a rewarding journey of growth and success in UX Design: Apply now!