The Importance of Side Projects to Designers

What are you thinking about in addition to your job?

Are you thinking about a side passion you’re interested in, or a need you’ve uncovered through the work you do?

This is a big plus for you and your career.

The Importance of Side Projects

Having something on the side to focus on helps develop another part of your already creative brain. It’s something to focus on that may not be nurtured through your day-to-day job.

It’s important for your career to develop other avenues of interest.

What do you want to do with your time? (Maybe this interest can grow into work you can be paid for it in the future!)

For me, my side passion, in addition to design education, is  lifelong learning for designers.

I’ve been interested in creating a resource for designers and educators for years and it’s taken me awhile to finally jump in.

Nate Burgos (creator of Design Feast, his long-term project dedicated to creative culture) asked me to participate in his “Side Projects” blog and answer a few questions about my own side project, Design Higher.

Read more about it below.

(Excerpts from Design Feast blog)

Designer and Educator Jamie Cavanaugh Activates Lifelong Learning for the Global Design Community

What are you working on—on the side?

As the field of design continues to rapidly evolve, multiple challenges arise for both students and designers including: what do you need to know, where to go for the best design education, and most importantly, how to become a self-learner and start practicing lifelong learning.

My goal is to help designers succeed by providing smart learning resources and courses for UX/Interaction Design, including materials for design educators and those who’d like to start teaching design.

I’m planning to offer courses on “How to Start a Career in UX/IxD” and “How to Start Teaching in a Design Program.”

In the future, I’d like to offer mentoring and coaching to students and designers to provide an individualized, hands-on approach to lifelong learning, design education and career development.

Importance of Side Projects to Designers //

Why have a side project?

One of the unexpected benefits of a side project is facing the challenges of managing my mindset!

Building a new business from scratch has brought up many of my insecurities and bad habits regarding confidence, time management and productivity.

I’m learning how to be more results-oriented and more effective with my time. It’s been a great challenge to work within these constraints. I feel the entrepreneurial skills that I’m developing will serve me well as a designer.

I’ve been thinking about this project for a long time, so I’m happy to finally jump in and do it! I’m obsessed with organizing information and resources, and have long been advocating reduction in the duplication of effort for educators and designers.

I believe having a side project adds value to my other work, and keeps me better organized and energized within both the teaching and design worlds.

I also feel that I’m supporting the design community, designers, educators and the people who are really close to my heart—design students!

Read more on the Design Feast blog.

Tweet the Design Feast article!

Okay, my friend, what’s your side project?  — How has it affected your design practice?

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