Mentoring the Next Generation of UX Designers

Any company with a user experience design team knows how hard it is to find people to grow that team. A quick search of reveals 280 open user experience design related positions in Minnesota alone. There are many ways to solve this problem, but one of the most accessible is mentorship. Every practicing UX designer is capable of mentoring someone who has the passion and mindset required for UX design into the field.

During the summer and fall of 2013, The Nerdery took eight potential UX designers through an intense 12-week apprenticeship that relied heavily on mentorship. During that time, we learned a lot about mentoring and being mentored. This presentation will share these lessons from the perspective of both mentors and mentees. Attendees will come away with a comprehensive set of tools they can use to begin mentoring potential designers today.

Claire Bailey is an Associate UX Designer at The Nerdery in Minneapolis, MN. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and has worked in an array of fields from clinical research to print design. After returning to school for web design in 2010, Claire discovered in UX the perfect marriage of human behavior and design, so she set her sights on a career that would utilize her diverse skills and interests. In 2013, she was accepted into the first UX apprenticeship at The Nerdery where her mentors taught her to take risks and find her own path. Now Claire welcomes every opportunity to mentor others interested in the field of UX.

Fred Beecher has been working in User Experience since 1998. In that time he’s seen UX mature from a field struggling to prove its value to one driving an explosion of innovation and economic growth. To help feed the ever-increasing demand this explosion has sparked, Fred designed and implemented the UX apprenticeship program at The Nerdery in Minneapolis, MN where he is currently UX Apprenticeship Lead. In 2007, Fred authored the first official Axure training program, which he ran until 2012. He has written numerous articles and blog posts on prototyping, iterative design, and UX career development, and he has spoken on these topics at design conferences worldwide.

Heather Wydeven is an Associate UX Designer at The Nerdery in Minneapolis, MN. Her background in theatre and graphic design, combined with frustrating online experiences, drove her to discover user experience. Heather quickly developed a passion for making those experiences better for everyone, and in 2013 obtained a UX design apprenticeship at The Nerdery. She graduated to the Associate position, where she enjoys the continued mentorship of her teammates and opportunities to mentor new UX apprentices.

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