This is my advice to anyone interested in pursuing a career in User Experience (UX) Design.
They’re plenty of online courses that are free and excellent for learning about user-centric design. There is no excuse not to do one. I would go as far as doing as many as you can; learning is vital. Here are some sites that provide design courses:
We are lucky that they are so many different mediums available to us that we can use increasing our learning. These include blogs, books, podcasts, videos and websites. Here are some of my favourite resources for knowledge and keeping on top of UX trends:
You’re not going to have a lot of design work to show off to potential employers, but there is a solution. And that is to take time to redesign some of your favourite apps and websites. You can also practice by completing design challenges on the following sites:
You need to learn the tools of the trade. There are plenty of tools that help to speed up your workflow so you should be trying these tools out.
For user interface design (and visual design) make sure to try out Sketch, Adobe XD, Figma, InVision, and Principle (actually for animation design).
For user research and usability testing make sure to try out UsabilityHub, Maze, and Optimal Workshop.
Create a portfolio that focuses on UX Design. There are plenty of options for creating a portfolio. A quick one is using something like Behance to create a free portfolio and upload all of your work (no matter how big or small). Here are some excellent articles about creating a portfolio:
Tailor your CV for UX Design and say what makes you different than the rest of the candidates. Make sure to remove the unnecessary parts. Here are some resources that will help improve your CV:
Interviews are not meant to be an interrogation, but employers do want to find out if you are the right person for the job. The critical thing is to prepare for it, and the better prepared you are for it, the better it will go. Make sure to understand the role and the company; do your homework on them.
It is worth noting that some interviews will be good and some not so good but understand that this is ok. Remember that you’re interviewing them too, so make sure to find out if the job is right for you. Here are some brilliant resources about interviewing for a design role:
We ask candidates to complete a short interaction design task. This is so that we can get an understanding of how they think and that we’ve got something to chat about during the interview. Ask questions if the task comes with vague requirements. This is to find out if you will have the initiative to ask questions, become comfortable with asking for clarity.
Your work is not going to perfect from the start or anything like it. Mastering your craft takes time, a lot of time and practice so just accept that your designs now are not as good as what they will be.
Reach out to other designers in your area and online. If you’re shy like me this will be tough, I find it awkward meeting new people, but I know its good for me. Networking helps you to learn, share and grow with other designers. An excellent place for meeting other designers online is the Designership slack community.
One of the best things you can do is finding yourself a mentor. Someone who will share their experiences with you and answer your questions. I was lucky to have a brilliant mentor who was also a close friend, every week we’d chat about any design issues I was experiencing. Below are some resources about why you need a mentor and how you can find one:
Be compassionate and empathetic to both yourself and others. Don’t have an ego and don’t be an asshole. People remember assholes, so don’t be one.
Each week I listen to a great podcast, "The Blindboy Podcast" is an excellent source for being mindful and compassionate. I’d recommend giving it a listen!
Don’t compare yourself to others but compare yourself to who you were yesterday. This is the biggest advice I can give you as it will help you grow. You have your skills, style, and personality, so embrace it.
That's it from me! I hope this helps and best of luck on your journey. I, too, have been in your position, and it does take time, but it will all be worth it.
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