The Things I Wished I Was Taught Early On

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1. Be Endlessly Curious

Follow local tech startups, read books, listen to podcasts. Feed your intellectual curiosity.

Education is beyond what you learn in school alone. It is everything from what you read to what you choose to spend your time on. In today’s world, we have a lot of resources available online for anything you can possibly think of. Never let any “hard” topic scare you from pursuing it, from reading about it.

Stack of books

2. Chase Real World Experiences

Find areas where you can help, virtually reach out to the local professionals, seek internships or apprenticeships whenever possible.

There’s no substitute for real world experiences and one of the best ways to get them is to be interested in people’s problems. Think about the things you would do on your free time. The things you naturally gravitate towards. Maybe it’s writing, maybe it’s creating motion graphics, maybe it’s through service. Whatever that is, ask yourself: “Which companies around me are trying to solve that problem I am mostly interested in?” and try your hardest to get involve with them through internships, part time work or simply just connection.

3. Start Building Your Portfolios

Learn by doing: experiment, fail and use the internet for resources. Got a website idea? Sketch it. Write it out. Build it with no-code, if you are not a coder.

4. Put Yourself Out There

Use LinkedIn for networking, Squarespace, Wix or Webflow to launch your websites, Medium, Wordpress for your blog. Whatever that is, start creating them now.

Use social media to your advantage: ask yourself the following questions:

5. Be Tirelessly Sensitive to Problems

Find opportunities to SOLVE them using design thinking and the technologies you have at your disposal. If you can’t do it alone, work with people who are solving those problems.

6. Always Design with Humans in Mind

The world needs more mission-driven designers.

Speaking of becoming a better designer, my last advice is the simplest yet it’s often the most overlooked: Always design with humans in mind. In your career, you will work with a variety of things. Some are mass produced now like smartphones, desktop computers, smart watches, smart TV’s. Some are on the verge of becoming more and more mainstream like Voice, AI, AR/VR. Don’t get carried away with the tech.

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nikki espartinez

nikki espartinez

On the intersection of life and work. No in-betweens. http://nikkiespartinez.com