Beyond the skill, strategy, and chance, games shape your thinking. These are a few games I've come across that pose challenges that correlate, in some small measure, to the types of problem-solving I do every day.
One of the misconceptions I see frequently is the idea that you must have a complete sense of who you are and what you do before you "present" yourself by participating. In fact, exercising your voice is one of the best ways to discover how you want to represent yourself.
No matter how well-arranged your interface is or how simple your flows are, the imagery you use in your designs will have a disproportionately large influence on how it will be received. Beautiful imagery, when done right, can be a powerful force for progress.
The opportunities to be successful don't necessarily come when you're ready for them. Though going down a particular path will not necessarily lead you to your dream job, don't discount where you're at now – you may be more ready than you think you are.
I can't stand seeing designers hit walls. The nature of designing is creating a reality from the kernel of an idea...but a vision isn't enough. This is my attempt to explain the techniques that I have seen work.