I talk a lot about growth and learning as a creative professional and its importance to our success in the work force, but it’s not always as easy as it seems. I’d love to say that I come home every night after working the 9-5, work on challenging freelance projects, do tutorials and read design blogs until my eyes bleed, but that never happens. I don’t have the energy or time to cram that much into my brain. If you do, awesome, but for the rest of us that aren’t chugging 5-Hour Energy, we have to get our learn on in more practical ways. One easy way to do this is learning on the job.
On the job training is great because A) you’re getting paid to learn and B) you will hopefully have people or a team to learn from as well (and vice verse). Reading books and doing tutorials is great, but I learn best when I’m talking with people and through trial and error. Take on challenging projects and use the real life resources around you. You may not know the answer to a tricky HTML situation, but your coworker might. Learning from your peers is easy and whatever information they have to give you will stick like a Post-It Note in your creative mind. I can read ten blog posts about a topic I’m trying to figure out and still be confused, but if I have a flesh and blood person show me how to do something, I’ll remember it forever.
Ask questions. Use your professional network to progress as a creative individual. I’ll admit, I’ll try and try to figure something out on my own before I ask for help, but in the end it’s the people around me that help me solve problems. Never forget that if you’re having an issue in Photoshop or with some code, chances are a colleague or fellow freelancer probably has too and will be happy to help. Questions are your friend, grasshopper.