UI/UX design is one of the most promising career paths in the IT sphere. If you decide to become a UI/UX designer, there are many things you need to consider before you take any real steps. What exactly do you want to do? Where to build skills and knowledge? How to get a dream job? This article answers the most pressing questions and explains whether there is the best way to start a career as a UI/UX designer
Narrow Down Your Interests
The first thing you need to know about the UI/UX design is that it consists of many sub-areas, such as:
- User research
- UX writing
- Usability testing
- Information architecture
- UX strategy
- UX design
- UI design
The UI/UX design may be confusing because some companies prefer to hire a one UI/UX designer, responsible for both user experience and user interface. Designers often perform both jobs because they overlap. However, larger companies may divide UI and UX responsibilities, which means you will need a narrower set of skills. All in all, we suggest learning more about each of the specializations to understand which you like more and what training you need to advance in the selected area.
Gain Skills and Knowledge
College and university are the first things that come to your mind when you think about education, right? However, you can learn UI/UX design perfectly well without getting a degree. The best educational institutions provide many short-term training programs, courses, and bootcamps. It’s possible to combine them with your current job so you won’t lose time and money. Designers from outside of the IT field often use this option because it allows them to learn how to apply their design thinking to UI/UX design.
You can also take advantage of online resources if you are an independent learner. This option is flexible and gives you the freedom to draw information from diverse sources and experts. However, if you are a beginner in the IT world, we suggest relying on professional educators and well-designed programs to structure your knowledge and build a sound theoretical basis.
Source: from Pexels
Practice Makes You Perfect
UI/UX design knowledge is meaningless unless you apply it to real-world projects. You need to find opportunities to practice your skills while you study so that by the time you finish your training, you’ll be well-prepared for a job. Try the following options:
- Take simple low-paid or free projects online
- Participate in competitions
- Help out a friend who needs a website
- Find internship
The best thing about practice is that you can add the most successful projects to your portfolio and mention your experience in a UX design interview.
Create a Portfolio
An excellent portfolio is a necessity if you want to impress employers. Here are several tips on how to create an appealing portfolio.
Templates available online can be a great guide for people having little understanding of how a UI/UX designer portfolio should look. Do your research, find several options you like, and use their structure to create your portfolio.
It’s a standard practice to present design projects as case studies. These present the problem, design process, challenges and steps taken to overcome them, lessons learned, etc. Case studies also set the context for your prior work and demonstrate your thinking patterns.
Seek Feedback and Revise
Ask an experienced UI/UX designer or mentor to look through your portfolio before sending it to recruiters. Be ready to hear constructive criticism and revise as needed.
The Most Stressful Part: Doing Job Interviews
The previous steps were preparatory work. Now, you need to pull yourself together and apply for the first job. Looking for a job is always a stressful, overwhelming process. It consists of doing job interviews, waiting for responses, and facing rejections. Interviewers may feel that you lack skills in design, which is understandable. However, your task is to prove that you are a skilled, well-trained, and committed worker.
To increase the chances for success, do the following:
- Learn about the company
- Prepare answers in advance
- Role-play an interview with a friend
- Be honest and open to feedback
It may also be helpful to build social networks and get acquainted with people working in your target companies. They may provide valuable insights regarding job requirements or maybe even recommend you to the recruiters. Even if they cannot help immediately, having a vast professional network may help you at the latter stages of your design career.
Focusing on a specific UI/UX area is a good strategy, but don’t narrow your opportunities to only one. Select a couple of job titles to increase your chances of success. After all, maybe you will fall in love with a job you did not even consider at first.
Source: from Pexels
Is There the Best Way?
Don’t trust anyone saying they know the optimal way to become a successful UI/UX designer. There are too many variables to consider before you start this journey. These include but are not limited to:
- Prior experience in IT
- Computer competencies
- Personal preferences
- Time and financial resources
- Preferred UI/UX area
Some people take their time and learn UI/UX design from scratch using informal and formal education. Others need a quick upgrade of their skills before there are ready to take their first job. It’s also normal to try different UI/UX design areas to understand what interests you more. In other words, any path to UI/UX career is good as long as you listen to your intuition and find options that work best for you.
Try to create your plan and set achievable and measurable goals. For example, you can write: “Become a UX researcher and get the first job in 6 months.” Be specific and don’t allow anyone to get you off track.
UI/UX design is a growing field promising immense career opportunities to creative and hard-working designers. It has never been easier to enter this profession with hundreds of excellent programs and courses available online. The path to a UI/UX design career is not straightforward, but you cannot avoid education and practical training. The rest is up to you because you are free to choose how you want to study, what design area to choose, and how soon you want to get your first job.