Finding your place with a career in UX design

Finding your place with a career in UX design

Trying to find a new career can be difficult. If you are someone who loves to problem solve and wants to be fulfilled in a new job, UX might be for you.

What is UX? 

UX itself stands for user experience, but as someone new to the industry, many people will find themselves asking how that defines the work you’ll be doing.

As a UX designer you will create and articulate the experience a user will go through (whether that be a website or app) based on research done to amplify the voices of the users. In the career of a UX designer your actual work can range from the research done to help make the visual decisions or the designs themselves.

Where can I learn UX design? 

You have a couple options for UX design; a degree, a bootcamp, or self-teaching. Before you visit any of these routes I think it is best to do as much research as you can for the field in general.

This will help you make an educated decision on how much time and money you can spend and if this is really a career you would like to pursue. Different boot camps will be varying cost and time so it really is vital that you do your research on your different options. Best way to know which is best will be reviews on places like Youtube or Reddit (they can be a lot more candid than the reviews straight from their website).

What do I ask my mentor?

Getting feedback from a mentor will be extremely helpful in the beginning stages of a UX career. If you decide on a boot camp, you will usually be assigned a mentor! Otherwise you can use resources like ADPlist to find a mentor.

I recommend getting to know your mentor and what kind of work they do so you can see if they’re a good fit. Things like how long they have worked in the industry, what part of the UX process they specialize in, and where you could find their portfolio to have some comparison. 

What should I be getting out of an education for UX or UI?

The main things you want to get out of your UX education are: understanding of the full UX process, knowledge using design programs and research tools to create deliverables, skills in presenting design deliverables to best represent how your designs reflect the data you have collected. 

How do I apply my soft skills into my new career?

Translating your soft skills in a way to showcase them to job posters can seem difficult, but it can be very fun! Any job you have ever had will give you experience that you can spin to help you.

All experience is good experience, I recommend thinking about any jobs you have had in the past and how you use the skills learned there to help you in your current career transition. Skills like communication, teamwork, and being a fast learner are always skills that will look good on a resume or portfolio.

The best way to showcase those skills is to do things like practice and prepare for interviews or practice presenting your portfolio or resume. Doing those things will do more than just tell whoever is hiring that you have those skills but show them in action that they are present. Show them you are a good communicator by communicating concepts well, show them you are a team player with stories you tell for your behavioral interview questions. Don’t be afraid of the personality you have, utilize it by telling stories that show your great qualities!

What will success look like in the beginning?

When you start learning about UX it can seem very difficult to know if you are doing well. I started without knowing anyone else in the field so it felt really difficult to see if I was doing a good job or not. Just know that anyone who is a beginner will feel this way, it is ok if you feel like you have no idea what you’re doing. This is best curbed by trying to incorporate UX into more parts of your life.

Start watching videos about UX design and think about things in your life that could be improved with more researched design choices. When you start to think about things that will make your life/others lives better, you’re on the right design thinking track. 

What will success look like when I am getting a job?

When looking for a job you want to make sure you are hearing steady feedback or getting regular interviews. The job search process can be extremely daunting and especially if you are a total newbie it can seem impossible. Especially when you tend to compare your own work to others.

Try to always stay positive and remember, as long as you’re getting feedback, interacting, or getting steady interviews you are doing something that people like. That is what will eventually get you a job. 

What do I do when the job search gets quiet?

When the job search seems quiet (no interviews or no interaction) it is time for something to change. Start trying to reach out for portfolio and resume reviews, start seeing a new mentor, and make sure you’re applying to enough jobs.

Some say to focus on certain jobs but I think as a beginner it can be extremely fruitful to be flexible and open and apply to as many jobs as possible. I did this by setting a daily quota and applying to that many per day.

Try to keep track of jobs you have applied to to best track your progress as you go. Making sure that you are always trying to improve your work or find new projects are going to be what gets you hired!

Last bit of advice:

Best thing to do is stay positive and be seen. LinkedIn should be your new best friend. If you are feeling down about not getting hired, start posting about new projects, design ideas, design tool tips, or other things that have helped you learn through your process.

This will help you spin your negativity into positivity that employers can see when they view your profile. It shows that you are educated on the topic and can share those ideas to an audience. Not only that but it can help you track your own personal progress through your career.

Brigette Skylar is a guest author on Difference by Design. If you’ve interesting ideas to share, find out more about submitting a Guest blog here

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Brigette Sklar
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