Your First 90 Days in a New Design Role

Ramp up fast with your own onboarding process and quickly become a valuable member of the team

Dan Shilov
Published in
10 min readDec 5, 2019


Design your own onboarding to ramp up fast. Photo: STIL/Unsplash

InIn tech jobs, two-year stints are becoming the norm. If you started working at 21 and retired at 65, that’s potentially 22 jobs and 22 different onboardings. This number may be even higher if you’ve worked for startups, since some people don’t even make it past year one.

Regardless of whether you’re joining a startup or a corporation, ramping up to a role within a new company poses unique challenges. Although companies usually have an onboarding process in place, many of them are short and aren’t role-specific.

Don’t leave this crucial part of the process to chance. By structuring your own first 90 days, you’ll be able to build strong relationships, avoid pitfalls, and create momentum toward great work and your next promotion.

Month 0: Before you start

Your onboarding begins all the way back to your first interview. Treat your interview as an opportunity to ask questions as if it’s your first day working at the company. You won’t get all the info at this point, so be sure to follow up with interviews of your own after you get the offer.

When you accept the role, ask your manager if there’s anything you should study ahead of time. Even if there isn’t, this shows initiative on your part to hit the ground running quickly.

Close the previous chapter

When you’re transitioning to a new role, take the time to rest and reflect. Even a small break will give you enough distance to close out the previous work chapter and savor the future possibilities of your new role. Don’t make the mistake of jumping right in without proper recovery — you won’t be able to start off as strong, and you may even burn out in the long run.

Create your learning plan

After a period of rest, plan what you need to learn and accomplish by the end of day one, week one, month one, month two, and month three. You should adjust your plan as you gain new knowledge, of course, but planning now will help you keep your career priorities in mind, especially when you…



Dan Shilov
Writer for

Designer and author of Land Your Dream Design Job ( a guide for UX Designers to find their next role.