UX designers are in demand, and it’s no surprise. Companies are always looking to improve and optimize their user experience. After all, great products lead to life-long customers. 

If you’re considering starting a career in UX, we’ve got you covered. With the six steps we’ve outlined below, you can start working your way toward a UX design role—picking up key knowledge and skills along the way.


  • UX design can be self taught in as little as three months.
  • UX designers perform a wide variety of tasks, including user research, usability testing, creating wireframes, and more.
  • Testing your skills and knowledge is essential for improving and developing your skills.
  • UX certifications can be earned online, and don’t have to come from academic institutions.
  • You can connect with employers on UX job boards.

Frst, let’s find out more about the industry right now.

Breaking into the UX Industry in 2024

2024 is a great year to become a UX designer. The industry is brimming with design opportunities—both remote and in-person—due to an industry-wide need to optimize products, services, and experiences for users.

Due to their crucial role in the product development lifecycle, UX designer salaries currently come to around $85,000/year on average in the US, £53,000 in the UK, and 55,000€ in Germany. And that’s for entry-level design jobs; senior positions come with much higher salaries.

UX designer yearly salaries by country

It may be easy to look at professional UX designers and think you can’t break into the UX and tech industry without a formal degree, but that’s not the case. There are ample ways to learn more about UX design, whether it be via online courses, self-directed study, or a UX design bootcamp.

Learning UX design vs self-studying

Wondering how to learn UX design? There are different routes you can take. It mainly comes down to learning UX design or self-studying.

the comparison table of instructor-led and self-study methods

There’s no right or wrong way to learn UX design. Ultimately, your choice comes down to your needs, circumstances, and preferences.

6 Steps to learn UX design & become a self-taught designer

Here are six steps to help you become a self-taught UX designer.

1. Understand what UX designers actually do

Before you begin learning, you want to fully understand the actual responsibilities of a UX designer. Not to be confused with UI designers, professional UX designers are responsible for many essential steps in the product design process, such as:

  • Creating user personas
  • Conducting user research
  • Conducting usability tests
  • Creating wireframes and prototypes
  • Determining a product’s information architecture

UX designers make sure that a product is perfectly structured to meet all of the user’s expectations. Knowing the role and responsibilities will enable you to structure your learning to encompass all the essentials without skipping ahead to the icing on the cake.

2. Start learning the fundamentals of UX design

At a basic level, UX focuses on these four elements of responsive design to optimize the user experience:

  1. Usability: this focuses on all the elements of UX design that ensure the ease at which users interact with a product.
  2. Value: designers need to create products that support the user's implicit and explicit needs and wants while solving problems. 
  3. Adoptability: this feature relates to providing users with easy access to a product by designing seamless workflows. 
  4. Desirability: with desirability, you create products that tap into the user’s emotions to provide enjoyable user experiences. 

Alongside these essential features, UX designers also need to learn and improve UX design skills when considering a career in UX. These include:

  • User research: learning more about your user, their needs, concerns, and expectations to design user-centric products through surveys and user interviews.
  • UX writing: coming up with a compelling copy that makes it easier for the user to navigate the interface.
  • Cross-team collaboration: focusing on working with teams to share ideas, feedback, customer insights, and more, to create strong products.
  • Empathy: being able to step into the user’s mindset to design an interface that builds connections and resolves pain points.
  • Research methodologies: having a deep understanding of storyboards, wireframes, prototypes, mockups, and more.

With a combination of design fundamentals and key UX skills, you’ll be one step closer to your dream role


3. Practice and assess your new skills

Practice makes perfect! Once you’ve gotten the hang of all the basics of UX design, it’s time to practice—and ultimately assess what you’ve learned. This will help develop your knowledge and turn you into a skilled and confident UX designer. 

There are plenty of flexible, affordable, and autonomous ways to practice and assess your skills, such as online self-paced UX design lessons, free courses, UX challenges, and more.

Plus, if you’re not sure which areas of UX you need to improve in, assessments can help guide your learning. You can assess yourself with Uxcel’s skills assessments, which test for a wide variety of skills needed to succeed in modern UX teams. These include:

With Uxcel’s skill tests, you’ll be able to validate your understanding of UX design and gain useful insight on how to improve your UX design abilities.

Uxcel's Skill Graph and assessments by 6 categories

4. Master the most popular UX design tools

With the help of the right UX tools, you can take your UX design to the next level. These tools assist designers in a wide variety of key UX tasks and techniques, such as wireframing, building prototypes, conducting user research, and usability tests.

These tools are suited for users of all skill levels—from novices to advanced designers. However, selecting the best tool from a pool of various options can be daunting, especially if you’re a complete beginner. 

We’ve listed down the different types of user experience design tools that can benefit you as a designer:

  • User research tools: These tools allow designers to conduct user research efficiently and effectively by facilitating research, transcription, participant recruiting, real-time reports, and more. Some popular tools used for research include Maze, Lookback, and UserZoom.
  • Usability testing tools: The tools are used to streamline the user testing process. Usability testing tools help designers test how user-friendly their product is. Loop11, UsabilityHub, and Userlytics are a few known tools you can use. 
  • Wireframing and prototyping tools: These tools help nail the product design by helping you create wireframes, and fine-tune prototypes. Designers turn to wireframing and prototyping tools such as Adobe XD, Figma, and Sketch.
  • Collaboration and communication tools: These tools enhance teamwork, productivity, and collaboration, a professional UX designer relies on tools such as Zoom, Miro, and Asana.
🧠 Test with Uxcel: Ready to test how well you know Maze, Sketch, Figma, and Adobe XD? Try Uxcel’s assessments now.

 5. Get your certification

So, by this point in your learning journey, you know what user experience designers do, the fundamental skills they need, and the tools they use—now you need to prove it. UX designer recruiters and hiring managers need to certify your skills and ensure you’ve got the walk to match the talk—certifications are one way of doing this.

By earning a professional certification, you can prove to the world that you have a firm grasp on fundamental UX ideas. It can also make your UX portfolio stronger, giving you an edge over other designers. 

If you’re looking to showcase your design expertise, try Uxcel’s UX Certification program. The globally-recognized UX design certificate will validate your learning and skills to potential employers.

Uxcel's UX design certifications
🧠 Uxcel top tip: Prepare for UX certifications with purpose-built UX training on the Uxcel platform. These challenges help you sharpen your knowledge in line with what’s needed to earn your UX certification. 

6. Build out Your UX Design Portfolio

Every UX designer needs a portfolio. Employers use the design portfolio—alongside other factors—to evaluate your experience, strengths, and accomplishments by taking a look at your past work.

Taking interactive UX lessons, completing real-world projects, and gaining certifications all help strengthen your design portfolio.

Make sure to update your portfolio regularly with your own projects and designs to help display your commitment to keeping up-to-date with the UX design industry. Doing so will enable you to shape it according to the position you wish to apply for, and put you in a better position to land your dream UX role.

Additional tools to learn UX design

If you feel like you want a multi-faceted approach to UX learning, consider combining learning resources to find a plan that works for you. There are many other resources available that can help you learn UX Design, such as:

  • Offline or online UX design courses that can offer some useful recommendations
  • Books, blogs, and vlogs suggesting great designing tips
  • Mentors to guide you personally
  • Internships to get hands-on training early on in the learning process

You can decide which learning path(s) works best for you by considering your availability, flexibility, current UX knowledge, and goals. Maybe this looks like taking an online course and joining a community. Perhaps it’s contacting a mentor about can’t-miss UX design books or podcasts? Self-taught learning is flexible—take advantage of that.

Uxcel's courses

You’ve learned UX design, now what?

You’ve learned UX design, developed technical and soft skills, and created real-world UX projects with the intention of moving into a UX role—you’re likely now wondering: what’s next? Landing a UX design role requires you to look out for jobs that suit your interests and profile, but finding these jobs can often be a big hurdle to overcome.

Uxcel’s design job board is a great place to find open UX roles and connect with companies—especially if you’ve used the platform as part of your self-learning journey. Through learning UX design on Uxcel, you can build a skills graph that highlights your strengths to potential employers and enables quick and easy communication over roles. 

You can apply in minutes for UX jobs at leading companies that fit your time zone and skill set, often without a resume or prior experience.

Launch your UX career with Uxcel

Getting started a UX designer career is a step-by-step process. 

Take some time to understand the responsibilities of a UX designer, master the fundamentals, practice and test skills, and earn your professional certification—you’re a whole lot closer to launching a new career.

If you’re looking for a place to do all this and more—check out Uxcel. The online UX design courses, lessons, skills assessments, and challenges are a great help. Made for aspiring designers, the platform provides you with the hands-on training you need for a thriving UX career.