You probably know far more than you realise!
Over time you learn and expand your knowledge. It’s hard to gauge just how much you have learnt over your years on the job until you have something to compare it to. Whether you’ve been on the job for 10 years or 1 week, you’ve probably learnt something new. However, we tend to take this knowledge for granted.
So, how do you know what knowledge you have?
The truth is you don’t, and you won’t until you use it. You can’t just print a list of everything you know! Luckily, you don’t need to.
Instead, you need to help people whenever you can with the information you have. This is increasingly more important for someone who’s been on the job for a while. Don’t be scared to teach people things you know. Far more often than not you’ll know things they don’t know and maybe they’ll even teach you a thing or two.
Sharing is caring
Design, development and every other aspect of a project have so many little things to take into account that may change an approach or speed up a process. If left alone, there’s an infinite amount of different ways someone may approach a problem, some people have more efficient solutions than others, depending on their knowledge.
For example, I recently ran into a problem where one of the assets we were using for an app was partially transparent. This transparency caused issues with how it was interacting with other elements on the screen so I needed to make it opaque. For the life of me I couldn’t think of a solution. I asked one of our designers to help me out, he had a solution for me. By layering copies of the image on top of itself over and over it eventually filled out the image so it was no longer transparent. A simple, crude but effective method. Given the solution, we thought it interesting to ask another one of our designers to attempt the same problem. This designer instead went for a more elegant approach using masks and some other funky effects finally providing the expected result, but taking longer.
The first designer could have done what the second designer did but opted for the quickest solution as the results would be the same. These are the types of difference in knowledge that we cannot gauge, but when taught they come out and help tremendously.
So, share your knowledge!
Before beginning any work, it’s always good to talk about solutions. Collaboration is key! Especially in our field.
Don’t be afraid to share what you know either. Some people may be hesitant because they’re scared of being wrong or they don’t have all of the information. Making mistakes can be a learning experience, your knowledge will be expanded when your mistakes are corrected.
When providing knowledge it’s also important to remember that you may be wrong, you may not know everything, and your idea may not be the best solution. Generally in a problem solving situation, knowledge shouldn’t be stated as the be all and end all just because that’s the only solution you know. It may have been when you learnt it but if you haven’t used it in a while or kept up with the common practices then it may not be the best solution. Going into a problem with a preconception about how you’re going to solve it before you know the ins and outs will dilute the final result and hinder your knowledge. You also don’t know everything so be open to other knowledge that comes your way.
Provide guidance, not a set road to follow.
Dip into your knowledge whenever you can and you might surprise yourself about what you do know. If you’ve gotten this far in life you have definitely learnt a thing or two so you’re more than capable of passing that knowledge on.
You know more than you think, please share that knowledge!