So you want to get into UX? Amazing! The world of user experience is constantly changing, and there are plenty of opportunities for growth. It's no wonder UX / UI designers are in such high demand. But where do you start?
Consortia have been recruiting within the UX industry for over 10 years now, and we get asked this question regularly. Our experienced UX recruitment consultants have plenty of tips to help you get started on your journey to becoming a User Experience professional. In this post, we'll walk you through what you need to do to break into the UX design field.
Understand UX Design Fundamentals
The first tip is to understand the fundamentals of UX design. While you don't need a degree or title to do this job, some understanding of what you're in for is critical. So is it really UX you want to do?
Anyone interested in pursuing a career in design will inevitably come across the terms UI/UX design, product design, and user research. And while it's true that all of these disciplines overlap in many ways, they each have their unique focus.
- UI, or user interface design, is all about creating interfaces that are both visually appealing and easy to use.
- UX, or user experience design, encompasses various activities, from gathering user feedback to developing prototypes to conducting usability tests.
- Product design, is more concerned with a product's overall strategy and direction.
- User research is about understanding how users interact with products and their needs and desires.
So which one should you pursue? The answer depends on your interests and strengths. If you're passionate about visual design and enjoy working on projects from start to finish, then UI or product design might be a good fit. On the other hand, if you're more interested in understanding how people interact with products and want to help make them as user-friendly as possible, then UX might be a better option.
Ultimately, the best way to figure out which path fits your skills and interests is to take some time to find out more about the fundimentals. Blogs covering UX design are always a great start. Read as many as you can. YouTube is another excellent way to learn everything you need to know about UX design.
Find a Mentor or UX Career Coach
Ryan, Consortia's UX President, has been recruiting the UX field for over 10 years now and is passionate about the market. His top tip was finding a mentor "A mentor can be an invaluable asset when it comes to learning anything new - including UX design. They can provide guidance, support, and advice as you learn the ropes of this exciting field. Do consider, though, that a mentor should be someone you feel comfortable talking to and who you can trust to give honest feedback."
There are a few different ways to go about finding a mentor.
- You can reach out to your professional network and see if anyone has experience in UX design.
- You can look for online forums or groups where UX designers share their knowledge and expertise.
- Consider attending industry events and meetups, as this is a great way to meet potential mentors in person.
- ADP List or https://www.careercoachfordesigners.com/ would be a good starting point too.
Once you've found a mentor, take advantage of their expertise. Ask lots of questions and use their feedback to improve your skills. With a little effort, you'll be on your way to becoming a master of UX design.
Do a UX Design Course
Once you understand UX design fundamentals, doing a UI/UX design course is probably a good first step.
There are numerous courses available - both free and paid - that can teach you more about UX design. Some of the most popular courses come from Coursera, Udacity, and edX, but there are plenty of others out there. Each type of UX course has its advantages and disadvantages. You'll need to consider your learning style and the realistic amount of time you can dedicate to your UX journey in and around other commitments to decide which will best suit you.
Build Your UX Design Portfolio
Speaking of portfolios, that's the next step.
Portfolios are essentially a single place to show off your skill as a designer. The best way to build your portfolio is to try to do some free work. You can also dabble in a few personal projects and include them in your portfolio while you're just starting out.
As your portfolio sells you and your skills, ensure there are no mistakes, like spelling errors, etc. It looks terrible and makes it seem like you have little attention to detail - a major no-no.
Consortia's senior UX recruiter Josh works with freelance UX designers and says 'Try to do some work for free to build your portfolio or work on personal projects and showcase them in a portfolio.'
Network, Network, Network
As with any field, networking is essential. Jess, one of our passionate UX recruiters, suggests, 'Broaden your network, add people and join the UX groups on LinkedIn, as they often share opportunities for junior designers!"
So if you're genuinely interested in getting into UX design, one of the best things you can do is connect with other professionals on platforms like LinkedIn. By joining networks and making connections, you'll be able to learn more about the industry, stay up-to-date on current trends, and find mentors and other experienced professionals who can help guide you as you progress in your career. Additionally, being active on LinkedIn can help you build your personal brand and make it easier for potential employers to find and contact you once you're ready.
Practice A Lot
When you're just getting into UX design, it's essential to practice as much as possible. Practice and experimentation will help you expand your UX skill set, contribute to your portfolio, and highlight improvement areas.
YouTube is a great place to learn, and you can practice on free sites like Figma!
Jess also points out that practice also comes from getting a foot through the door if you can, saying, "I think maybe when you're new to UX, you do have to accept you'll have to start with a lower salary to get your first role and then move up."
Get Into UI/UX Design
UX design is a process that takes time to learn and develop expertise in. If you're just starting out, don't be discouraged if it feels like you're not getting it right the first time. The most important thing is to keep learning and growing as a designer. As our consultants at consortia said, plenty of resources are available to help you get into UX design. For more pointers on how to get into UX, such as how to build your UX portfolio, essential tools or soft UX skills to have, check out further reading on our insights page.