Investors are advised to make sure that they have diversity in their portfolio. By diversifying into multiple types of investments and different kinds of industries, there is a safety in knowing that if one type of investment fails, there are other investments that will still succeed. The same is true for User Experience (UX) professionals.
Diversify your skillset.
While you may love being an interaction designer, or a user researcher or an information architect, the beauty of UX professions like these is that they have a fair bit of potential overlap in skills. Make sure to take advantage of this. While you may have a wonderful job now, it’s very possible that it won’t last for your whole career. At some point, you are going to be looking for a new job, and a job that looks great may require some different skills than were core to your prior job. The wider the range of skills you can justifiably demonstrate, the more your negotiating power and ability to take on that new job.
Diversify your knowledge.
It should go without saying that knowledge is power in the workplace. The more well-versed you are on the current state of not just your area of UX, but also other areas of UX and current trends in the field, the better off you will be. Read new books, blogs and UX literature, and learn about trending ideas. Attend events and listen to speakers that talk about UX, even if the content may not directly relate to what you’re doing at work. Perhaps you’ll better be able to understand what others on your extended team are doing and will be able to provide additional input outside of your main area. Perhaps you’ll be able to innovate and use your extended knowledge to more holistically update your own processes.
Diversify your non-work UX exposure.
It’s critical that you network with your peers. My litmus test for effectiveness of business value is to see how easily the other person understands what I do when I give my elevator pitch. Beyond individual people, however, increase your overall exposure by getting involved in as many UX organizations as makes sense for you. While my own strongest affiliation is with UXPA and I’m certainly an advocate for UXPA membership, I’d encourage you to get involved in whatever organizations resonate best with your background and interests – both those that are local to you and those that cover a broader national or international scope.
Diversify your perspectives and open up your mind.
Every year, every month, every day, technologies change and the UX world must stay in synch. Accept change as a natural part of your path, and to whatever extent you can, embrace the changes. Your job requirements may evolve gradually or in spurts. Be prepared for this, and expect that it is a natural part of work evolution.
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