Do your homework first
I am not much of a subscriber when it comes to design. Besides Nielsen Norman Group—which, if you're doing product, you should be already subscribed—I also love the people at Mule Design—and you should follow them too.
This doesn't mean that you won't find me reading articles full of nonsense from people that call themselves designers.
While the number of digital products is increasing day by day, along with it comes the request for designers, and this hunger leads to getting raw and unprepared people into the industry.
It's not their fault, though, it's the hiring manager's fault. Those who employ young designers, that have some design experience, and place them in roles that require more in-depth design knowledge. They're the bad guys, and here's why.
While it feels great to be appreciated and, if I may add, overvalued, you must stay in a reality check. Just because you're in a leadership position doesn't mean you are ready—and it also doesn't mean the company has to know that.
Skipping the early stage, not getting mentorship at the start of your career, reading only half-baked articles about design, or not understanding all the research and design methods, all this can lead you to dreadful ideas and on a wrong path. It may be an awful product or writing on medium how wireframes are dead and other cacophonies.
I am not saying that you need to do things by the book, stay in the grid or that improving things is forbidden. But to break out of it or improve something, you first need to understand the principles and practices of good design.
If you're just beginning your road trip, stop and don't jump headfirst into work. Get your hands on some good books first, filter through the online noise and do your homework before starting to work on whatever you're doing.
Below are some books that helped me along the way: