Guide to Starting Your UX Design Career

Guide to Starting Your UX Design Career

Get started with all the most frequently asked questions about starting your UX design career. We take you chapter-by-chapter through all the most essential information and resources you need to kickstart a successful design career.

Chapter

4

UX/UI design, like any profession, has certain tools of the trade. The most obvious tools you’ll need to learn are specific design tools. There are currently three UI design tools that you’re most likely to encounter: Figma, Sketch, and Adobe XD.

Figma has become the most popular UI design tool on the market. It’s the only one of the three tools mentioned that is browser-based, making it within reach of a much wider audience. Don’t let the browser-based platform fool you, though: Figma is just as powerful as downloadable design software.

In reality, once you’ve learned the basics of one UI design program, you’ll be more easily able to learn others. And depending on the company you end up working for, you may not be able to choose. So pick one to learn on, and then familiarize yourself with the others. (If you have a dream job at a particular company, you may want to start with whatever software they’re already using.)

How to Learn

There are a number of resources out there for learning to use design software. But the first step is to download your software of choice. Most design software offers a free trial, so you can check out each one before making your final decision if you choose. Don’t forget that most companies provide extensive documentation for their apps, which can be an excellent place to start learning.

Tutorials

Thousands of tutorials exist online for virtually every design software. And the best part? Most of them are free.

Try searching for “Figma for beginners” or “getting started with Figma” (or whatever your tool of choice is) to find the most basic tutorials. From there, you can search for tutorials to tackle specific topics you might want to learn. Any time you get stuck on a particular task, search for a tutorial that can walk you through the process.

Courses

If you want something a bit more in-depth than a tutorial, try finding courses for your specific design application. Just be sure to read reviews prior to paying for courses, as the quality varies significantly.

You can find beginner courses that will walk you through setting up your application and workspace, as well as more advanced courses for specific types of design projects. If you’re a fan of structured learning, a course may be the perfect solution for you.

Practice

One of the best ways to learn a new design tool is to practice using it! Once you’ve got the basic features and functions figured out, start designing something. It’s the quickest way to reinforce the skills you already have as well as figure out what you haven’t learned yet. From there, you can find answers to your questions in tutorials, articles, or courses, and continuously improve your skills.

Not sure what kind of projects to practice with? You could start by trying to emulate or improve upon an existing design you love.

Beyond design tools

While design tools are vital for any UX/UI designer to learn, there are other tools you’ll likely encounter in any design job.

Collaboration tools

Collaboration tools can range from a shared whiteboard to software like Zoom or Google Hangouts. Be sure you’re familiar with the basic functions of these tools, especially if you’re looking for a remote position. The good news is that many of these tools can be learned in an hour or less.

Wireframing tools

Wireframing is a major component to UX design. While you may choose to use your general design software to create wireframes, learning dedicated wireframing apps can speed up your workflow. Be aware that some of these apps allow you to directly export your wireframe files into other design programs, creating an even more efficient workflow.

Research and testing tools

Another major component of UX design is user research and testing. There are a lot of app options out there for both of these aspects of design. Pick a few of the most common ones (such as Maze, InVision, and Hotjar) and familiarize yourself with what they can do and how they work.

You don’t have to become an expert at these tools before getting started as a UX/UI designer. But understanding how to use at least their basic functions will set you up for success in your first design job! Plus, as you use them more, your skillset and knowledge will naturally grow.