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the good life in a digital age

learning IA

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Mostly general advice but with a London-centric spin in places.

1 Some good websites to keep up with:

http://www.iainstitute.org/
http://www.boxesandarrows.com/
http://www.informationdesign.org/

2. There are loads of books to read:

3. IA work experience & volunteering:

The BBC offers many work experience placements and occasionally has IA specific ones. The site is a bit of a shocker – there are placements in there, honest.

Lots of charities would like help with their websites so try searching http://www.do-it.org.uk/ . You can also volunteer to help the IA Institute itself.

4. Set up your own website
Build a website or set up a blog. That way you’ll get first hand experience of the issues but also think about what the site will say about you if you are going to use it to promote your skill.

5. Take courses

The IA Institute lists lots of degree courses that include IA. The Open University also has courses about interface design that might be useful. They allow free access to many course materials including People Centred Designing.

I’ve also made a list of relevant course materials from MIT OpenCourseWare.

Software training is short and expensive. You are probably better buying a book and using the internet to teach yourself if money is tight. Make sure you can at least use Visio. Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign and Flash will all be helpful but are not essential. Understanding HTML, Javascript, CSS and XML at a basic level would also be helpful.

Face-to-face UX, usability, IA and information management courses for Londoners:

Not London but sometimes Amsterdam:

6. Join some social networks

The main one currently is on Ning. Facebook has also an IA group and there’s a London IA group on Yahoo. Get on LinkedIn as recruiters will often use LinkedIn to try and fill roles. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

7. Applying for the jobs

The London-IA list is 95% job postings and not all are London jobs. Make sure you are reading it. There’s also London IA jobs on Ning .

Other job sites that seem to carry lots of IA roles:

http://www.totaljobs.com/
http://www.jobserve.co.uk

and some on:

http://jobs.chinwag.com/
http://jobs.brandrepublic.com/
http://www.monster.co.uk/
http://www.nma.co.uk/Jobs/Home.aspx
http://www.cwjobs.co.uk/

IA specific but lots of US jobs:

http://www.iainstitute.org/jobboard/
http://jobs.boxesandarrows.com/jobs

BBC  jobs are advertised at www.bbc.co.uk/jobs and you can set up alerts to let you know when IA jobs come up.

A lot of work is contract so sign up with lots of recruitment agencies, especially ones that handle lots of IA roles like Zebra, Futureheads, Evolve, and Propell.

I started gathering junior/entry-level IA jobs that I saw and published them in the Junior IA category .  I was gathering them to inform our own junior recruitment and thought I might as well share them. I still sometimes add to it.

8. IA Play resources

Every now and then I put together resource lists for particular topics including: intranets, SharePoint, controlled vocabularies and automatic metadata.

9. Have fun

Written by Karen

October 5th, 2007 at 10:31 am

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