How to Become Better at Your Profession

Some ideas on professional development, learning and growing within your area of expertise, or even expanding your horizons to include those skills that are associated with your field.

This list was taken from an article on UX Matters about Career Alternatives to Management

These are generally good for all professions, but are applied here to the UX field.

  • read—Create a routine for reading that ensures you keep up on the latest industry knowledge.
  • follow—Use tools like Twitter and discussion lists, which are handy for following people with UX knowledge.
  • network—Connect with the UX community.
  • debate—Engage in spirited discussions—not for the sake of debating, but to see whether there are better ways of doing something.
  • contribute—Write articles, submit papers to UX conferences, and present your ideas. Put yourself out there and test your own thinking.
  • meet—Take the time to meet fellow practitioners.
  • lead—Facilitate a workshop, walk through a design, moderate user research, or find your own way of taking ownership of a piece of something.
  • interview—Get out of your comfort zone and interview for a challenging job—you may learn something along the way.
  • be open—Always be open to other roles you might be able to play. Don’t confine yourself to one UX specialty, skill, or discipline.

Free Online Teaching Resources

education comic

Knowledge Community (www.intel.com/pressroom)
Price: Free
Knowledge Community creates a secure school online community for students, parents, teachers and administrators.

Spanish I A (http://www.amered.com)
This new courseware is designed to help students understand Spanish through study guides, practice activities, and interactive games.

iKnow! (http://www.iknow.co.jp)
iKnow! makes it possible to create learning modules in 188 languages for study within the community-powered suite of learning applications.

Typing Adventure (www.typingadventure.com)
Price: Free
Typing Adventure uses exciting interactive games and mind-challenging puzzles to help kids and adults improve their typing skills.

The Siemens Foundation and Discovery Education recently launched a new Web site that contains a variety of free, high-quality science tools and resources for 4th-6th grade students. Siemens Science Day provides standards-based videos, tools, and hands-on activities for earth, life, and physical science that educators need to turn into aspiring scientists. Each activity on the Web site includes complete how-to information, step-by-step directions for in-class use, materials lists, at-home extensions that promote learning beyond the classroom, and related video clips.

Educators visiting Siemens Science Day also are encouraged to enter the Ultimate Cool School Science Day Sweepstakes. The winning teacher will win a spellbinding assembly for his/her school that is not only fun and interactive, but also underscores the importance of science literacy and the need for science resources in schools. Discovery Networks will present the assembly, which will consist of videos, mind benders and interactive demonstrations. Entries will be accepted through March 2, 2009. The mentors of the first 100 teams to register and ultimately complete a project for the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge will receive an award-winning Planet Earth series DVD set. Submissions from middle school students will be accepted through March 15, 2009. The initiative will expand to elementary schools in 2009 and to high schools in 2010. Visit the Siemens Science Day Web site at www.siemensscienceday.com and the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge at www.wecanchange.com.

Learning Everyday

As I continue to dig deeper into video editing, codecs, haptic interfaces, steaming video, and encoding, I keep coming up on that same realizations that always happens with those who are constantly seeking knowledge and learning:

  • There is always something more to learn
  • You will never learn it all
  • For every answer there are 1000 more questions raised

At some point, one has to focus on what one needs to know right now to accomplish the goal right in front of you.

It would be beautiful to spend my life seeking knowledge for knowledge’s sake. I guess that is what great thinkers do.

Lifetime Learning

One of the greatest things about starting this new career, is that I now spend a good part of my free time learning about human computer interaction, user experience, design, information architecture and the latest news about how information is stored, organized and retrieved in business applications, social media and educational environments.

These topics have always intrigued me and I have always enjoyed learning. Now I get to do what I love as my career, instead of sneaking it in when I get a chance.

Here’s to doing what you love and never having to work another day in my life!