At Designlab, mentorship is one of the most important components of the student learning journey.
Taking on a new skill and making a career change can feel daunting, and mentors serve as a major source of feedback and support for students during this time.
From giving feedback on design projects to offering tips and industry insights during regular 1:1 calls, Designlab mentors are available to help guide and support students every step of the way.
Let’s take a deeper look at how Designlab mentorship works, and how it can help you in your UX/UI journey.
Who Are the Designlab Mentors?
Designlab mentors come from a variety of backgrounds and work in a wide range of industries.
But they all have at least two things in common:
- They have a minimum of 3 years of experience working in the field of product design.
- They’re passionate about helping the designers of tomorrow to gain the skills and insights they need to thrive in this field.
These mentors are well-equipped to give design feedback, give tips and insights, and offer support and motivation for students who are working through sometimes challenging course material.
Mentorship at Designlab Includes…
At Designlab, mentors aren’t “just” here to review your design project work (although that’s an important part of it!).
In UX Academy Foundations and UX Academy, students have regular 1:1 calls with their mentors to talk through the course work…and any other topics that come to mind.
“My mentor was always helpful and very patient with me when I needed it. She often showed me different resources, from browser plug-ins to useful websites, and she was always open for questions.” — Bethany Burns, UX Academy student
In fact, many students mention that the conversations they have with their mentors help them learn in a way that static, evergreen lesson content isn’t able to.
“I definitely feel like I've learned the most through the mentorship, because mentors share their personal tips and experiences to help us improve on our skills,” — Eric Lin
Finally, students in the Career Services portion of UX Academy have access to specialized mentorship, from professionals who understand the hiring process—and are equipped to help students as they begin their own job search.
“During my job search, my mentor was instrumental in helping me revise my portfolio case studies and prepare for interviews” — Cindy Do, UX Academy student
Selena San Miguel also shares a warm review of her own mentor, “My mentor Gabriel was THE BEST and gave me honest and fair feedback while still being the best cheerleader. I especially enjoyed his insight with my portfolio building and the advice given to me as a hiring manager. He helped me leverage my previous experience in content and digital marketing into UX career assets.”
Mentor-Student Compatibility is Key
Since mentorship is such a large component of our learning journey, we try to ensure that students and mentors are as compatible as possible.
To achieve this, we consider a few different factors when pairing new students with a mentor.
For instance, we want to know about a student’s style and personal approach to learning. This helps us understand how they like to learn, and what types of resources will be most useful. Our mentors will often provide supplemental information to students, so we want to know if they’re auditory or visual learners: do they prefer podcasts versus articles? Or YouTube videos over static images?
At the same time, it’s also important to understand what type of feedback students like to receive. We know that some people prefer more direct, challenging critique, while others might benefit from a more encouraging approach. We want the mentor-student experience to enhance learning, and we appreciate that the means of motivation looks a bit different for everybody.
We’ll also want to know if there’s a particular niche in the industry, such as UX research or UI design for example, that students find really exciting. While all our mentors can have a holistic understanding of the design process, many have cultivated areas of expertise over their years in the field. If there’s an area of the industry students might be considering, we can pair consider that when making a match.
In order to get to know our students better, we start off every UX Academy course by sending out a survey asking new enrollees about these preferences.
Mentors are also asked to self-assess their strengths when they join our community. This includes the type of feedback they’re most comfortable in giving, specific expertise within the industry, and more. All of this data comes together to help us match our students to mentors in a way that creates an optimal learning environment throughout the program.
Note: While we try our best to match students with the right mentor, there are times when either the student or mentor feels that a re-match might be needed. In these cases, we’re happy to work with the student to find a different mentor, who works better with their style of learning, feedback, and unique needs.