Starting a career in product design is no small feat. You're trying to make a name for yourself, but you need to gain experience to know what will work.
While there are plenty of resources for designers who have been in the game a while, finding advice that applies to you can be challenging.
You've graduated and have finally landed your first product design job. You might be nervous, but don't panic; the Rootstrap design team is here to help you!
Remember, a designer's career is long, and those who enjoy it always learn new ways to be better and improve themselves professionally. This article will cover key tips to help you along the way.
Also, if you are transitioning or thinking about transitioning from graphic design to product design, then check out our tips on how to transition to product design!
What do Junior Product Designers do?
The first step to becoming a Junior Designer is understanding what it means to be in that role. This is an exciting position to be in, as there is a lot of responsibility and opportunity for growth.
As a Junior Product Designer, you are expected to take notes, create wireframes, and build prototypes. But they also need to provide feedback on design decisions and communicate their ideas.
Junior Designers are the new kids on the block. If they learn fast, they can be an excellent asset to any company!
10 best tips for Junior Designers
OK, so you've aced your product design interview and got that job you always wanted. Now it's time to make the best impression possible and hit the ground running. Let's look at the best tips to help you do so.
1- Ask a lot of questions
As a junior designer, you will have many questions about your work, the company, its culture, the product you're designing, and much more. But don't be afraid to ask!
I'm talking about all kinds of questions, from design to development. Be curious, and try to understand how things work and how they are implemented. If you are working on a native app project, learn about platform differences.
The same goes for web projects: learn about the environment, their requirements, and their limitations.
2- Be a team player
Build up a relationship with your team. Let’s be realistic; one can’t master every aspect of a product. Having co-workers, you can trust and rely on is a great thing, even better if you’re working on a cross-functional team. Work hand in hand with your Project Manager and a group of developers; different perspectives unlock novel ideas.
3- Look up for your guidance
Request a good mentor and trust them; there’s a reason why they got to their current position. Look up to that person who will help you discover your career path and keep it on track. Ask for feedback, work on it, and keep in mind you have to be open to listening to it. Sometimes it might be hard to receive, but it’s the only way to improve.
4- Be considerate of others
Be mindful of other people’s time. You’d often like to validate everything and show everyone the excellent job you’re doing, but remember that everyone has deadlines too. Sometimes it can be daunting to make decisions on your own, it takes a lot of courage and responsibility, but that same responsibility is the one that will allow you to grow and move forward in your career.
5- Work on your communication skills
Learn to communicate the reasoning behind the decisions you make. Look for feedback, and validate your ideas with others, not only designers. The more you share your work, the better you’ll connect and gain the trust of others.
6- Stick to the process
One of the most challenging things for me was to learn to estimate and know how long a project would take me. Believe me; people are going to ask about it. Defining a process will help you better understand yourself and your times; it will be scrappy initially, but experience and a good mentorship will help you get there. Be organized, define your workflow, thought process, and problem-solving, and respect it.
7- Stay inspired
You'll find yourself working on not-so-great projects as a Junior Designer or even a senior. That’s a reality everyone has to face daily. Look for a workplace that allows you to spend time on side projects that motivate and inspire you. It’s a great way to grow in the direction you want, and it’s a win-win for you and the company.
8- Embrace setbacks as an opportunity to grow
As a Junior Designer, you may encounter some setbacks. You could be close to getting a job done, and something might go wrong and set you back. This is all part of learning and can be used as an opportunity for growth.
You might have heard the adage, "fail fast, succeed faster." If you mess up, it's not the end of the world - learn from it and move on! If you make a mistake early on, you avoid it further down the line.
9- Think about the user first - always!
This one seems obvious, but it's essential to consider your user's wants and needs before you start designing. Ask yourself: "What problem am I trying to solve?" Then make sure that any solution or feature you come up with solves that problem.
Asking yourself these questions early on can help you hone in on a specific target audience and ensure that you're creating something that will resonate with them.
10- Always be willing to learn new things
As a Junior Designer, you might be assigned small projects at first - that's fine! It allows you to familiarize yourself with different aspects of design, including the ones where you might not have as much experience yet.
If someone asks for something outside of your comfort zone? Try it! Even if it doesn't work out perfectly, there will be something valuable in the process itself - and knowing when and how far outside your comfort zone is can be vital for any Junior Designer.
Final words for Junior Designers
If you're a Junior Designer, you may feel like you have a lot to learn. But don't worry - you're on track! We hope our guide can be helpful in your journey, and we can't wait to see what unique designs you come up with in your career.
Remember to enjoy the process. Designing isn't just about creating beautiful things - it's also about working with people who appreciate beautiful things and connecting with others who share your passion for design.
The end goal should always be to create something of value together. So take time every day to remember why you've chosen this path and let that guide you in your journey.
If you want to ensure you have the best product design tools at your disposal, check out our breakdown of the five must-have tools for product designers!