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The Importance of UX Mentors: 10 Perks for Aspiring Designers

Written By Ahmed Shahid | Last Modified On April 22, 2024

Mentorship is an important part of professional growth, and you shouldn’t ignore it at any point in the process, whether you’re already working toward a career in user experience design (UX design) or you’re just beginning to think about it.

It’s easy to overlook the guidance and support offered by a UX Bootcamp while weighing your options. It is also quite simple to feel overwhelmed and become sidetracked by the numerous essential items that are on your checklist for making a job move. There are moments when we have the propensity to forget that.

There are many seasoned professionals in user experience design out there that are willing to share their expertise and experience with others!

Luckily, you may find a mentor within the field through a variety of UX design programs.

There is not a single UX school or Bootcamp that is identical to any other; some provide more coaching and assistance than others do.

You might be wondering why precisely you would even want the assistance of a UX design mentor. So, what exactly does one do as a mentor? Which training programs for user experience designers give the most helpful mentorship and support? In this article, we’ll address the importance of UX mentors.

Also read: Is UI UX a Good Career Option for Designers in 2022?

Who is a UX Mentor?

By definition, a mentor is an experienced and reliable source of advice who can provide insights that can help you develop professionally. They understand what it’s like to be at the beginning of one’s career and to go through the inevitable ups and downs.

Product designers have to continually learn new things in order to get better at finding solutions to problems and producing high-quality goods. To do this, one must unlearn the harmful behaviors that have become ingrained over time and which prevent them from approaching situations in the appropriate manner. This is where having a UX Mentor would be useful.

A user experience (UX) designer in training may close the gap between themselves and user-friendly products with the assistance of a UX mentor. When one has the appropriate user experience (UX) mentor, they have exposure to years of expertise, and understanding of the market, as well as a companion who understands what they are going through. When their mentees are in need of assistance, mentors are going to provide it for them and have their backs. All right, let me go back to ask why you should take on the role of UX mentor in the first place.

Also read: UX Information Architecture: A Beginner’s Guide

Is a UX Design Mentor Necessary?

The overwhelming majority of people would say “yes” to this. This is particularly true if you’re fresh to the profession and want to be successful throughout your career. However, even seasoned UX professionals may gain from a mentor, and chances are good that they have established at least one such relationship over their careers.

Changing jobs and getting into tech are challenging, as are working efficiently and making a difference. A UX mentor knows how to achieve this and can advise and support you.

And then there’s the fact that aspiring UX designers may be found in any number of industries, working on challenges of varying complexity and designing responses to the demands of a wide range of end users. If you’re performing UX well, you’ll meet difficulties that push you to (or beyond) your understanding.

Because UX is founded on design thought, it adapts to industry and user demands. That’s great news since that implies there’s always room for learning.

Also read: How to Become a UI/UX Designer?

Discovering what others have learned is part of a dynamic, continuing learning process. A UX mentor will:

  • Share errors, learnings, achievements, and insights.
  • Give job-search, and salary-negotiation counsel.
  • Refer you to specialists who have solved similar situations and can offer their experience.
  • Push through creative and logical blocks

UX mentors do more, though.

Also read: Design Consistency Guide: Best Practices for UI and UX

Importance of UX Mentor

Finding a mentor is an excellent method to grow in the UX market, and you should consider doing so if you are interested in this field. A good mentor will be able to provide you with direction, guidance, and advice along your journey, as well as share their own experiences and assist you in developing as a designer. A UX mentor can be advantageous in the following ways:

1) Real-Time Feedback on your Work

Your mentor knows good design from terrible design and high-quality UX research. They are able to dissect any given deliverable and determine which components are actually successful (and up to the requirements of the industry) as well as which ones might be improved (and how).

Instead of trying it by yourself or asking friends, coworkers, or family for feedback—ask your mentor. Faster and more specific feedback can help you meet or exceed job objectives.

Make sure you get input on your portfolio from your mentor. Your application wouldn’t be complete without a user experience (UX) portfolio; in fact, it serves as your entry ticket into the interview process. Your mentor may give detailed comments on specific projects, what should be included in the portfolio, how to enhance UX cases, and final presentation polishing. They can help you practice whiteboard challenges. They can assist your portfolio to attract potential employers that want to know what you can offer.

2) Experienced Career Guidance

A competent UX mentor can help you build new abilities and hone your current ones. With their industry experience and familiarity with your history and talents, they can help you choose which skills to develop and what specific knowledge will complement your talents making you a competitive job prospect.

A mentor, in other words, is someone who has already traveled the “road trip” of a UX designer’s career and can thus advise you on the best routes to take, the skills you’ll need along the way, and any shortcuts you should (or should not) take, any potential roadblocks you should be prepared for, and any stretches of smooth sailing.

3) Expertise With Various Resources and Time-Saving Techniques

Mentors know the job; the new UX design techniques and technologies you’re learning are in their daily routines. When something is “normal,” you know how to manage it.

Learning on the job may be time-consuming and unpleasant. How can you create a clickable prototype, user persona, or stronger wireframes with Adobe XD, Figma, or another industry standard tool? Your mentor would know how to overcome roadblocks—a shortcut/workaround, or a superior tool for the job.

4) Motivation and Assistance

Your user experience (UX) mentor exists to provide you with empowerment and assistance. You can seek assistance from your mentor if you are feeling disheartened, overwhelmed, or just dissatisfied with a certain tool or procedure. They will be able to assist you.

In addition to providing you with advice on technical or strategic matters, they may also make you feel more in control of the situation as it progresses. They may assist you in overcoming obstacles, steer you in the right direction throughout your job hunt, and even assist you in preparing for your first interview about UX design (s).

A UX mentor knows what areas of the work and the entire process need too much, how it feels like to “fail” or experience barriers, and how to use those learnings to your advantage.

5) Additional Learning Materials and Insights

There is no doubt that you will need to learn new abilities, and your mentor can help you with that. This implies that they will not only be able to impart their wisdom to you, but will also be able to recommend other resources (such as other UX designers, UX books, forums, podcasts, and more) to aid in your ongoing education in the field.

6) Helps You to Concentrate on Your Goals

Your mentor urges you to set fewer or smaller more achievable goals and master fewer things. The mentor gives you projects to assist them and enhance your objectives and talents. This is advantageous since you can master a talent that will set you apart.

You alone can set goals. Your mentor can help you work through the issues and get clarity, but you need to describe the problem before they can help you solve it. Mentors can also provide insight into how to describe it.

7) Helps You Overcome Obstacles

There are a lot of obstacles that you could have to face in your work life, such as projects, colleagues, expanding your toolkit, growing your soft skills, etc. There is a possibility that your mentor has been in a similar circumstance at some point in the past, or he or she may have some insightful thoughts and be able to provide you with direction for how to deal with situations of this nature.

This is especially useful since you don’t want to think like you’re the only one going through this and have somebody more qualified to talk to whenever you feel the need to. And it encourages you to experiment with new approaches and ways of thinking.

However, you should only consult a mentor when you have hit a total wall and can no longer see a way forward. If you make it a practice to seek advice from your mentor the moment you encounter difficulty, you will become too reliant on that person and will never learn to solve difficulties on your own.

8) Increased Networking Possibilities

Your mentor is linked with other professionals who also know quite a lot, have vacancies on their teams, and possess their own go-to tools for training and staying up to date with the newest trends. In addition to knowing a lot about the market and offering those views and sources, your mentor also knows a lot about the connections that other tech professionals have with one another. A head start will be provided by your mentor’s contacts even before you have mastered the skill of networking as a user experience designer.

To elaborate, a mentor might provide a guide to other resources and experiences. It’s a welcoming and helpful group of people, the UX community. There are a lot of people who are already working in this industry who are ecstatic to see new people wanting to join the work, and they are often extremely willing to share resources with you and be a part of your expanding network.

9) Professional Recommendation

It’s important to keep in mind that your UX mentor will be able to see all of your work, not just the end product. They’ll get a front-row seat for the entirety of your operation. When applying for positions, you’ll have a reference who can vouch for not just your work, but also your communication and teamwork abilities.

If you’d want to use your mentor as a reference, make sure to get their permission first. Not only will they be expecting it, but if the mentoring relationship is going well, they will be more than happy to assist.

10) Understands and Supports You

Acquiring the ability to defend oneself is a talent in its own right, and those who had a lot of professional experience always had different methods to defend the statements they made. Therefore, working with a mentor to have a better understanding of how to defend your work is a beneficial and continuous learning process. Additionally, they assist in presentations by justifying your work in front of engineers and project managers if you are unable to come up with an adequate response.

It’s important to have an open mind and avoid being overly protective about your work or designs; otherwise, you can miss opportunities to develop by closing yourself off to constructive criticism.

Types of Mentorship Provided in UX Courses and Bootcamps

There are a variety of aspects to take into consideration while searching for the ideal UX training program, the kind that will provide you with the kind of abilities that are already applicable in the workplace that you’ll need to get off to a nice beginning as a UX designer. Important questions to ask about any course include how much feedback and guidance you’ll receive. Indeed, this is one area in which not all UX programs are created equal.

There are a number of different UX design courses available, both free and commercial, and most of them do not provide any feedback or mentorship to their students. Although they could be useful for your first investigations or as a supplementary source of information, we strongly advise that you look for software that provides more than just that. The more tailored and specific a mentorship program can be to its mentees’ needs, the better! 

In the next part, we’ll tell you about the courses we think are the best, but before that, here are four types of feedback and mentoring that you can experience in your search for the best UX training program:

  1. Feedback from peers
  2. Assignment grading
  3. Collaborative guidance from more experienced individuals
  4. Personal, one-on-one guidance

Although some classes will utilize all of them, we’re going to focus on each one separately and go into a little more info about it 

1) Feedback from peers

Peer feedback or “peer-graded assignments” is prevalent. Training like Google’s UX design school use this technique as their primary source of feedback, however, many UX courses provide it as an optional extra.

Whether it’s a Slack group or an online forum like Reddit or Quora, a crucial component of this form of feedback is a discussion forum where you can post your work and get comments from others. There’s frequently little information about:

  • What’s the forum participation like?
  • How many experts moderate forums?
  • How much input you’ll get from peers and professional UX designers?

In Google’s UX design course, you may have your work assessed by a classmate. You can get insight from someone who is further down the professional path than you are, but you will still miss out on many of the advantages of having a mentor.

You and your peers don’t know what you don’t know. While peer criticism and online discussion forums can be helpful, they can’t replace an expert’s guidance while you gain your footing in a new field.

2) Assignment grading

A final exam and/or regular quizzes may be used as an assessment tool in some courses. UX Design Institute’s professional certificate and Google’s UX design school are two good examples of programs that use this approach.

Knowledge evaluation helps you (and anybody signing off on certification at the conclusion of the course) evaluate your present level of knowledge and identify deficiencies. It can provide pride and achievement. This evaluation component may be crucial in demonstrating your competence to governing entities in light of local, state, and national legislation dictating the minimum requirements for professional credentials. For instance, if you are not a resident of the nation in which you now reside yet want a formal UX design certification for official reasons, this may come into play for you.

Employers care more about your skills than your credentials. This method is insufficient. You might know everything about UX design but yet be unable to apply it in the actual world. A test score doesn’t ensure job ability. UX mentoring promotes active, hands-on learning led by professional assistance.

3) Collaborative guidance from more experienced individuals

This mentoring is for cohorts of students, like you and your classmates. An experienced person guides you and your team daily, weekly, or monthly. Ironhack and UX Design Institute teach students this.

This is a good way to get professional advice on how to do activities or answer questions if:

Your mentor helps each group member. A good training program also includes relevant, up-to-date, high-quality learning materials and practical, hands-on exercises.

In group mentoring, receiving individualized feedback on your work depends on the mentor’s capability and workload, as well as your initiative in delivering your career to the mentor.

This type of mentoring offers some of the benefits we outlined earlier in the book, but you’re not guaranteed the level of individualized feedback, support, and guidance in one-on-one mentorship.

4) Personal, one-on-one guidance

It’s best to take a class taught by an experienced UX designer who will act as a mentor to you individually. Individualized mentorship is your best bet for maximizing mentorship’s advantages when you start a new job.

Since we’ve already explained the benefits of UX mentoring, we’ll just add that programs that provide it also give additional feedback and support. So it’s not limited to just one form of guidance!

What to do to get the most out of your UX mentoring?

Having a mentor in UX design is a great way to get started in your new field and will continue to benefit your career in UX even after you’ve found your first job. However, it’s not as if merely having someone you can label a mentor would automatically have that effect on you. There are things that you can do to get the most out of your mentoring experience.

Let’s take a deeper dive into each of these topics one at a time.

1) Establish definite targets and objectives.

When you initially meet your mentor, make sure you both have the same expectations and goals. You’re probably meeting with this individual because they have more UX experience than you do. “Insights” is a vast topic, so be specific.

  • Learning level
  • What are your biggest challenges/questions?
  • What difficulties and questions await?
  • Your UX career goals
  • What is your mentor’s specific experience?

Discuss this in detail in your first chat and make an effort to learn their goals as well. Depending on the situation, your requirements, and your goals, now is also a good time to establish a possible ending date or milestone at which you and your mentor will evaluate your progress and decide whether to continue the relationship or make some adjustments.

Also read: A Successful Guide On Outsourcing Software Development

2) Do your homework and ask questions.

Don’t go into a meeting with your mentor unprepared; have at least a few things written out ahead of time. Your mentor may guide you on a different path, which is OK if it advances your goals. Before each meeting, it’s wise to consider (and write down):

  • How you used what you learned last time
  • What questions and lessons did the implementation raise?
  • New things you’re curious about
  • What projects require feedback?

3) Honor their knowledge and experience.

Successfully navigating any meeting requires thorough preparation. Here are some basics:

  • Basics: Meet on time.
  • If it’s remote, be quiet and focused. Check your tech to avoid wasting time.
  • Take notes, but also participate in the conversation!
  • Maintain professionalism. 
  • This doesn’t imply you can’t grin or be informal. 
  • Keep a courteous demeanor. 
  • Be polite. 
  • Avoid casual chat (as with a buddy) unless your mentor enjoys it.

Also Read : What is UI Design? | A 2022 Guide to User Interface Design

4) Learn to take criticism constructively.

Depending on your goals and expectations, your mentor will comment on your projects, portfolio, targets, and UX path. Don’t wait for them to offer help or ask for something. Examine your desk and mentorship goals. What requires mentor advice?

Tell your mentor what kind of comments you want and which parts of the content they should focus on. This will help them estimate the time needed.

When they give feedback, be open-minded and avoid becoming defensive.

Having an expert analyze work you’ve invested time and effort in may make anyone defensive. Their remarks are supposed to aid your professional progress and are focused on the material, not you.

Listen, rephrase (if necessary), then reflect and ask questions. Please read and comment.

5) Compile materials

It’s probable that throughout the course of their UX career, your mentor has amassed a lengthy list of resources to recommend to you, including books, podcasts, tools, tips, websites, blogs, and professional connections. Ask them for their views on whatever you’re working on and any questions you have, and then follow up by asking them for recommendations on resources that will assist you in continuing your education.

6) Express your gratitude by saying “thank you.”

It may sound obvious but remember this. They are being generous with their time and teach you about their failures as well as their successes. A simple, verbal “thank you” goes much, but here are several ways to give back:

  • You should express your gratitude to them openly, perhaps on LinkedIn. This showcases their skill and investment in the future generation of UX designers.
  • If they’re willing, follow their projects. You can probably assist.
  • Many mentors run podcasts, blogs, or information/learning hubs as side enterprises. If you can share resources, do so.
  • If they have a Patreon, you may offer occasional financial support.
  • Who knows? You may become a mentor and share what you’ve learned. Your mentor may have been an invaluable contact in your professional network by then, someone you can refer to your mentees.

Industry Expert Mentor from Hapy Design

Do you want an expert and experienced mentor? You can always hire consultancy services from the industry experts at Hapy Design. We have a lot of experience in UX design, especially designing new products for fast-paced startups.

What do you think? Wanna give it a try?

Learn more!

FAQs

What does a UX mentor do?

Want to learn how UX designers are seen in real life? UX Design Mentors are professional and experienced professionals who bring everything they have to share to create a successful design environment. They give advice, suggestions, and advice on how to establish yourself as a seasoned industry professional.

Why mentors are so important?

What makes Mentoring advisable for a Mentee? Get help from the mentor: an effective mentorship offers advice, guidance, and inspiration for the mentors and new tools and knowledge. How do we get better at work?

Why is learning the roles of UX important?

Learn how to better understand users and create the best possible experience to address their needs. Understanding the person for whom you are creating the product you’re designing will help make your product more powerful.

What is the main importance of UX design?

UX can be understood as a tool to meet the needs of a user. Designed to provide a positive experience that will maintain customer loyalty. Additionally, the user experience is useful in defining the customer journey on your websites, which can lead to business success.