The role of the UX designer is only going to get bigger and more important as we move into the future and no wonder. As someone who gets to make products or services more usable, enjoyable, and accessible with technology on a daily basis — it’s a role that’s both significant and rewarding.
Take a look at the top stats to understand how much of an in-demand role the UX designer is;
- According to a survey conducted by NN/g, from 1983 to 2017, the UX profession grew from 1,000 to about 1 million professionals.
- LinkedIn even ranked UX design as one of the top 5 in-demand skills as of 2020 while Glassdoor added it to their list of best 50 jobs to have in 2022.
- According to a survey by adobe, 87% of hiring managers prioritise UX designers for hire.
- CNNMoney and PayScale.com reported that a user experience (UX) designer is among the top 50 careers with a 10-year growth rate of 22.1% and pay ranging from $95,000 to $150,000.
- And lastly, The US Bureau of Labour Statistics predicts that jobs for UX designers will grow at 8%—much faster than average.
In this article, we take a look at 7 steps to become a full-fledged UX designer, and be job-ready!
7 steps to become a job-ready UX designer
Enroll in online design courses for UX.
The first step in becoming a UX designer is developing your skills. And the best way to learn anything new is by enrolling in online design courses for UX. Select a course that is comprehensive and covers all the important aspects of UX design such as UX design foundations, wireframing, UI components, common design patterns, design accessibility, mobile design, UX writing, and UX research. Also, make sure the course offers a certificate of completion which will help you stand out from the crowd when applying for jobs. Some of our top picks for the best UX courses are — Uxcel, UX Design Institute, CareerFoundry, Interaction Design Foundation, Udemy, and Lynda.
Build a portfolio.
While you are learning, it’s best to work on some projects and apply your learning for better retention. That way you will be building a portfolio on the side too. After all, it is your best bet to score your dream job as a UX designer. Next, curate all your best work or take up spec work and showcase it in an easily accessible format, but at the same time try to stand out.
Don’t forget to add a link to your portfolio in your resume as well as your email signature. Dribbble and Behance are also excellent platforms to showcase your portfolio and eliminate the headache of creating one from scratch. Doing this is important, as it will help you get discovered by potential employers and clients — and of course, you can show it to potential employers.
Quick tips for a UX designer portfolio;
- Keep it short, sweet and to the point;
- Cherry-pick the work you are proud of work (like top 3, or top 5) but also showcase a variety of projects;
- Be sure that the visuals are good quality;
- Add a well throughout the description, for example, the problem and how did you solve it;
- Update the portfolio regularly, and ensure it is accessible across the board;
- And lastly, add a link to the portfolio across all your social media profiles, including Linkedin.
Gaining industry insights and networking is important for every job-seeker, but it is especially important for UX designers.
By networking with other designers and professionals in the industry, you will be able to learn about new design trends, get feedback about your work, and find mentors who can help guide you in your career.
Up to 70% of employees received their current company position through networking. So how do you network as a UX designer? There are various ways you can do it. One of the most popular ways is by attending events and meetups. This way you can meet other professionals in your field and learn from them. Also, when you are actively involved in such events, people will start recognizing you and it will eventually lead to better opportunities.
Stay updated with trends, books, and blogs!
Besides networking, it is also important to keep up with the latest industry trends as things change rapidly in the world of design.
You can do this by reading design blogs, magazines, and books; following design leaders on social media; and subscribing to newsletters.
This way you will always be up-to-date with the latest trends and changes in the industry, and you will be able to apply them to your work.
The top books to read as a UX designer are
- The Design of Everyday Things: Revised and Expanded Edition by Don Norman
- Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal
- Don’t Make Me Think (Revisited) by Steve Krug
- 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People by Susan M. Weinschenk
- The User Experience Team of One: A Research and Design Survival Guide by Leah Buley
- Rocket Surgery Made Easy by Steve Krug
- Universal Principles of Design by William Lidwell
- A Project Guide to UX Design: For user experience designers in the field or in the making by Russ Unger & Carolyn Chandler
Top blogs to keep up with as a UX designer are:
- UX Planet
- The Nielsen Norman Group
- CareerFoundry blog
- XD Ideas by Adobe
Top UX designers to follow according to UserGuiding blog:
- Luke Wroblewski – Product Director at Google
- Farai Madzima – UX Lead at Shopify
- Whitney Hess – CEO of Heart Work
- Graeme Fulton – Designer at Prototypr.io
- Viktor Goliaš – UX Consultant for Better SaaS MVPs
- Arda Aksoy – Founder & Head of Design at 43 Design Studio
- Kristy Tillman – Head of Global Experience Design at Slack
- Pablo Stanley – Lead designer and co-founder at Carbon Health
- Josh Brewer – Creator of ” 52 Weeks of UX ”
Land an internship.
By this point, you have taken a UX design course, have a solid portfolio ready, are networking, and immersing yourself in the world of UX design. The next step to becoming a successful UX designer is to land an internship with a well-reputed organisation.
It will give you first-hand hands-on experience and potentially lead to a full-time job offer.
Landing an internship will help you learn about the workflows, thought processes, and tools that go into UX design in real-time and allow you to test your skills in the real world.
According to prospects.ac.uk “Starting salaries for graduate junior UX designers are typically between £19,000 and £25,000, depending on your experience and location. Experienced UX designers can earn between £30,000 and £50,000. Senior UX designers and consultants can earn salaries of £40,000 to £65,000 or more.”
Here are some quick tips to land an internship as a UX designer:
- Search jobs on job portals like Linkedin, IxDA Jobs, UX Jobs Board, Dribbble, Krop, Authentic Jobs’ UX board, Coroflot’s UX design jobs, Smashing Magazine’s job board, Remotive, AngelList, Glassdoor, LinkedIn job, Google Jobs, and social media groups.
- Do your research about the company. Who is the lead designer, what are the company’s clients, and what case studies have they worked on – all of this will help you gauge if your portfolio aligns with the company. It will not only help you create a more personalised pitch and increase your chances of landing the job.
Pro tip: Duration of the internship should be at least three months, as this will give you enough time to make an impact and prove your mettle.
Look for a full-time job
After, you have a month left for your internship to be over, start looking for a full-time job as a UX designer, or if you plan to go the freelance route, then look for potential clients.
Remember that you can start networking with the designers of your dream company or companies to make yourself seen as a trustworthy person.
When the right time comes, you can pitch them, and since they are already acquainted with you, your chances of landing a job may increase.
Work towards becoming a UX leader
Lastly, to be successful in your career as a UX designer, you need to stand out by becoming a thought leader in your field. Share your knowledge and expertise with peers and what you learned from various case studies — be sure to include your failures and successes. Share your work on platforms like Dribbble, Behance, or social media sites like Instagram or Linkedin, write guest articles and blog posts on reputed sites, and give talks at meetups and events. In addition, you can start or join a close-knit community of UX designers to expand your footprint, and add value.
Kickstart your UX design career today!
Becoming a UX designer has never been this easy. While there is a learning curve, if you fancy the idea of improving products, applications and services for the masses by making them more accessible and delightful, then UX design is just for you.
No matter the role, there is no perfect formula for success. But a tried-and-tested formula is to get the right education and training, build a strong portfolio, network with other designers, stay updated with trends, books and blogs, land an internship, and finally, a job or a roster of clientele if you wish to go the freelance route. Lastly, you can become a thought leader in the world of UX — the sky is the limit, truly!
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