Episode 68 of The Informed Life podcast features a conversation with Mags Hanley. Over her 25-year career, Mags has had leadership roles in information architecture, product management, and user experience design. Now, she’s helping designers find their career paths and build leadership and IA skills. In this conversation, we discuss Career Architecture, the focus of her current coaching work and subject of her upcoming book.

What is career architecture?

[It] is about how we can use the methods that we think about and we use as information architects or as UX professionals and apply that in a very systematic way into how we think about our careers.

Broadly, the process of defining a career architecture follows the design process. It starts with taking stock of where you are — your skills and experiences. Then you determine possible directions.

Of course, it’s hard to do this objectively — what I called having a “clean read.” It helps to have a trusted partner in the process.

The clean read has to come from having someone you can talk about this to. Now, whether this is someone like me, who’s a coach, whether it is a trusted friend or a mentor within the industry, you need to be able to have someone who you can talk to and then reflect back to you.

With possible directions at hand, you can start testing some of them. Again, there are parallels with the design process. And as with design, the process is ongoing.

If you’re a designer (or anyone, really) contemplating a career change, you should listen to our conversation — and look out for Mags’s upcoming book.

The Informed Life Episode 68 — Mags Hanley on Career Architecture