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How to break into UI/UX design: Entry level UX job

Want to start your career in UI/UX design but don’t know where to begin? We’ve got you covered. Learn all you need to break into design.

10 min read

One of the key factors in the success of any product or service is user experience. The experience that users get is controlled to a great extent by the design. The value of design has increased even more in the last few years, primarily because of a switch to the online environment. This has prompted organizations to look for professional UI/UX designers, making the field of design valuable than ever. If you’re thinking of getting into UX design, now is the time to start developing your skills.

If you want to become a UI/UX designer and have questions such as how to get into UX design with no experience or what skills to develop for entry level UX designer positions, this article is exactly what you need right now. In this article, we talk about the skills you need and resources you can use to kick start your journey as a UI/UX designer. Think of it a as UX design bootcamp, something that can really help you launch your career and make your mark in the field. Some of the major things we’ll cover in this article are as follows.

Working as a UX designer is a unique experience. Professional designers get to interact with humans and technology day in and day out, making a huge difference in the lives of people. It is also a discipline where the creativity never ends. UX design has a lot of room for innovation and you get to learn new things every day. Additionally, with the increasing demand for designers, it is a financially attractive industry as well.

Break into UX design

UI/UX design is, beyond doubt, an attractive field. However, with talented designers in the market, the competition in the field is also increasing. It is true that the job market, overall, is saturated with tough competition but this aspect is more pronounced in UI/UX design. There are several reasons for this, including the aspect of innovation and new tools. UI/UX designers have to be on top of everything when it comes to learning new tools, software, and skills.

Any UI/UX design company has high expectations from its designers. The demands of the market from designers are changing at a rapid pace. On the one hand, UI/UX design is a diverse field in itself, requiring expertise in online and offline communication, marketing, and research and analysis. On the other hand, there are new software and tools being introduced, making the tasks of designers challenging. Even professional designers with years of experience have to stay updated to be successful in the market.

What about a junior UX designer?

If you’re new to the field of design, the content you have to absorb and the skills you have to learn may seem quite overwhelming at this point. As mentioned above, designers need a diverse set of skills. Some of the top skills required for UI/UX designers are listed below.

  • Comfort with design software and technologies
  • Ability to work with humans
  • Expertise in data collection and analysis
  • Understanding of market trends and user needs

The list, though not exhaustive, gives a good overview of the unique set of skills expected from a UI/UX designer. Take a look at this job description, for example. You’ll see that the expectations from a new grad UX designer are quite high. This is exactly what makes the field challenging.

This article is an attempt to make your journey easier. It is impossible to not get overwhelmed when looking at job descriptions and requirements of the market but no need to worry, we’ve got you covered. Read along to find out the most important things that you should be focusing on to become a successful UI/UX designer.

How to get into UX design

From technical expertise with design software to soft skills such as empathy, UI/UX designers possess a range of qualities. To become a designer, you need to get familiar with the basic principles of the discipline, learn modern tools, acquire some sort of formal education, and get as much experience as possible. There is, however, no standard route to becoming a UI/UX designer, primarily because the field is still new and employs an interdisciplinary approach. So, if you’re asking whether you can start your career without formal education and how to become a UX designer without a degree, you’ll find these answers and a lot more in this section.

As mentioned above, UI/UX design doesn’t require a standard approach. However, there are certain areas where you can focus to make your journey smooth and fruitful.

Formal education

There are a number of degree programs being offered in the field of design. Leading institutions of the world are offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in product design, information design, graphic design, and user experience design. These programs can be an excellent entry point for individuals with the time and resources to acquire formal education.

If, however, you don’t have time for long degree programs or it is not financially viable, there are various short courses and certifications that can help you learn the art and science of UI/UX design. One of the best certifications is offered by none other than Google. Additionally, Interaction Design Foundation and Nielsen Norman Group offer quality courses to get you started with UX design. These courses cover both the basic and advanced level concepts, making you ready for the job market.

Gathering more knowledge

Degrees and certifications can be excellent additions to your resume. However, the knowledge doesn’t end here. There are some quality books, blogs, and podcasts that can serve as your unique resources.

For example, The Design of Everyday Things and Don’t Make Me Think are two essential readings for all aspiring designers. When it comes to podcasts, Design Matters and UI Breakfast can serve as your weekly dose of design inspiration.

Build your network

UI/UX design is a field that works well if you inspire others and get inspired along the way. Product and service designs work well in a collaborative environment. Being a part of the discourse is important both for new and experienced designers. There are various online forums, such as the subreddit r/userexperience, where you can learn about the trending issues and innovative solutions in UX design.

Additionally, it is also important to expand your network by following and connecting with leading designers on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms. You’ll be amazed by the information and experiences shared on these platforms.

One thing to note is that, as a designer, you must not be shy of sharing your opinions. The online communities of designers are both accepting and supportive, so it is okay to ask questions and share your thoughts. This is one way of getting the most out of these platforms. If you do not participate in the conversation, you won’t be able to grow as a designer.

Getting a UX design job with no experience

If you are new to the field of design, you have no experience, and you’re finding it hard to secure a job, you’re not alone. Almost all individuals who are new to UX design feel frustrated, both because of the demanding nature of the job and the increasing competition in the field. The situation might seem daunting but the rewards are worth the effort.

There are several areas where you can focus to increase your chances of getting hired. Since the demand for UI/UX designers is only going to increase in the days to come, all you need to do is to keep learning and focusing on your growth.

Gather experience

It is not unusual to see even entry level jobs asking for some experience, may it be formal work experience, some short-term contracts, or even an internship. It is, therefore, important to gather relevant experience in the field of UI/UX design to make your profile stronger. There are several ways you can do that. Some are as follows.

  • Freelance projects: If you’re finding it hard to get a full-time job in UI/UX design, you may want to look for freelance options. One of the best things about the field of UI/UX design is that there is never any shortage of work. A number of organizations are looking for freelancer designers at any given time. These short-term projects can help you become a part of the network and also become a source of your income.
  • Open source contributions: Open source projects are an excellent way of learning from professionals and working in a highly supportive environment. Since most of the open source organizations rely on volunteer help and are almost always open to new ideas, there is a good chance that they’ll be happy to take you on board. Most of these organizations do not have a dedicated in-house designer, so they’re always looking for help with various projects.
  • Internships: Internships, although less rewarding in monetary terms, can be a good source of inspiration and learning for aspiring designers. If you feel that your skills need serious development, reach out to some organizations requesting an internship.

Find a mentor

Mentorship programs, such as STC Mentoring Program, are another excellent way to learn from professional designers who have been in the industry for quite some time. In one-to-one mentoring sessions, you can not only get dedicated support but also get a chance to understand the thought process of designers. It is always a good idea to initiate a short project in collaboration with your mentor and see it to completion. This way, you can also get a good entry for your resume and professional portfolio.

Build your portfolio

Learning the tools and techniques of UI/UX design is only one half of the process. The other, and equally important, part is to be able to showcase these skills. If the recruiters are not able to find your projects, identify your skills, and get inspired by your work, your chances of getting hired will be reduced. Creating a UX design portfolio is, arguably, the best way to showcase your skills.

Most successful UI/UX designers focus on their portfolios more than their resumes. A professional portfolio is one where you can not only highlight your skills but also display your work, making your application stand out.

Along with portfolios, mentorship programs, and freelance work, you can always start your own passion projects. Being a designer is all about being creative and inquisitive at the same time. You can literally pick up any mobile or web application’s existing design, apply your knowledge and skills to improve the design, and create a whole case study out of it. This will serve as an inspiration as well, helping you learn and grow as a designer.

Conclusion

Stepping into the field of UI/UX design requires a lot of courage. The rapidly changing nature of the field, though exciting, is quite challenging at the same time. If, however, you look at the perks of this field, entry level UX designer jobs salary, for example, it all starts making sense. Monetary benefits are just one part of the bigger picture.

The field of design is always open to new ideas and is appreciative of new thoughts and practices. If you’re an individual who wants to experiment, make mistakes, learn something new every single day, and keep progressing in your career, UI/UX design is a career made for you.

What is more, this field is not going to die anytime soon. The digital environment and social networks are only going to grow in the future, making the role of designers more important. Now is the best time to start building your career as a UI/UX designer. If you want to ace interviews, don’t forget to check out this article with the best possible responses to questions asked in a UX design interview.