Your Step-by-Step Guide to Launching a Career in UX Design
Choosing to become a UX designer can be one of your top career choices in tech. Aspiring UX designers should know that it is one of the highest-paying entry-level jobs, with an annual salary of over $90,000. As such, it can be an excellent career if you’re looking to enter the technological industry. However, just as with other such professions, UX designers require some key skills to be able to do their job.
What Does a UX Designer Actually Do?
A UX designer’s role is to make user interaction with products and services simple, easy, and enjoyable. Although this is applicable to a number of things, in tech, a user experience designer refers to managing human-computer interaction with apps and websites. It is the UX designer's job to design an app or website that is accessible and usable for the end user with convenience and ease, and that their experience isn't filled with inaccessible content, bad design, or excessive work just to browse.
At the same time, a UX designer will also focus their UX design skills to ensure that it also serves the business. The UX design should cater to business needs and ensure that it realizes the company's vision and goals.
Among their daily tasks, UX designers may find themselves working on websites, apps, and other software. In recent times, designing for Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) have also become part of the UX design portfolio. The goal is to create an interface design that enables easy access to an app or site.
Can You Become a UX Designer With No Experience?
Starting a UX career can be simpler than many believe. As an entry-level job, it is open to people without relevant experience in the field yet. Increasingly, many specialist agencies are also recruiting UX designers to create user interface design for their clients. While such UX design jobs don't require particular experience, they do prefer their candidates to have certain technical skills and the ability to use various design tools.
While your technical skills are important, it is also vital to develop many soft skills that will help UX designers in the learning process and in improving their visual design skills. Along with knowing UX design fundamentals, such candidates need to develop and hone a variety of skills that make you a preferable choice in the job market.
The UX industry can be competitive, and landing your dream job means working on your UX skills to gain a competitive edge. One of your best options to gain this type of knowledge and training it to undertake UX courses with UX design bootcamps and develop your professional portfolio.
What Do I Need to Learn to Become a UX Designer?
While a degree may give you an advantage, many employers don't specifically look for one. Many UX designers may not even have a UX-related degree at all. However, there are certain skill sets you need to acquire, which can be better developed in a structured learning environment.
The most important skill you need to become a UX designer is your communication skills. This is how you bridge the gap between what the company needs, and what the customers want. Among the soft skills you will need, it is important for UX designers to develop a multitude of interactional skills to perform their job well.
In addition to such skills, a UX designer will need to work on learning a number of concepts and UX principles. These include:
UX design fundamentals
Design fundamentals begin with an understanding of the basics of UX design. These cover the essential skills you will need in UX design, including design methods, developing solutions and learning to use various design tools.
UX design principles
The principles of UX design are focused on the concepts you need to learn and be familiar with as an aspiring UX designer. These include:
- Usability: conducting usability testing to ensure the service is simple to use.
- Empathy: creating an empathetic design which understands user needs.
- Strategy: setting out a plan of action before starting a design.
- Validation: conducting user testing to ensure your design works.
- Inclusivity: developing a design that is accessible to all.
- Critical thinking: foreseeing and understanding problems and implementing effective solutions.
New UX designers should take into account these best practices when creating any design. Hiring managers look for people able to consider all aspects of a design before implementing it.
When UX doesn’t consider ALL users, shouldn’t it be known as “SOME User Experience” or… SUX?” says Billy Gregory, Senior Accessibility Engineer.
When you conduct user research, you understand exactly what your users need. A key aspect of project management is to know user behavior and patterns and understand how they can translate into your design. Market research is designed to help you with your design- when you know what people need, your job becomes easier. As a UX researcher, you should develop a comprehensive user research strategy that is useful to the design project.
User interface design, or UI design, determines the display users work with on any service, such as a website or app. Understanding UI is a core part of UX design. It is important, for example, for UI designers to make the interface simple, attractive, and easy to use. It is also a feature for interaction design, which considers how users will interact with the service during the UX design process.
Responsive design principles
As a UX researcher, you should also be familiar with responsive design. It determines how your graphic design and UX projects must respond to user needs and environment. For example, based on the screen they are using, the web development process should include the ability for the site to adjust to the user's device. This type of responsive design is fundamental to the user experience.
Learning how to become a UX designer will require certain efforts on your part. However, there are plenty of UX design courses you can take that can get you started with the basics before you move on to more complicated design.
7 Steps to Become a UX Designer with No Experience
If you have no experience in the UX world, no need to worry. As a new UX designer, you might find it daunting to get started. However, there are many opportunities available for aspiring designers to gain UX designer qualifications. UX bootcamps, for example, are a great place to start learning what a UX design job involves.
To begin with, here's how to become a UX designer and start your job search in the field.
1. Understand the UX Design Field
The first step to entering the UX design field is to understand what it is all about. The UX design projects are not limited to any particular industry. In fact, as the world becomes digitized, more companies throughout various industries are looking to make use of a UX designer to improve their visual design.
For any industry, UX design ensures good workflow for the company and easy navigation for the customers. A poor experience when interacting with apps or sites can turn customers away from a particular company, if they feel doing business with them becomes more of a hassle than a convenience.
A UX designer should also understand what it takes to become a UX designer, product designer, or graphic designer, whatever their specialty. You should understand the skills required, not just to be able to work as a great designer, but also to stand apart from other UX designers. Look into what UX design course will help you learn and develop the right skills.
2. Learn Core UX Design Skills
We have discussed above some of the core UX design skills you should have. There are many resources available today to begin this type of training. You can enter into a UX design program that covers all the fundamentals of UX design. Whichever UX design course you choose to take, you should do your research to ensure that it provides all the specific skills you would need for the job you are looking for.
3. Gain Knowledge of Human Psychology and Behavior
You might wonder what the study of psychology has to do with the technical field of a UX designer. The fact is, as a UX designer, you have to deal with human emotions and behavior. User experiences are defined by how they perceive a particular experience, and how they feel about it, which determines its success and usability. Therefore, it is important that you choose UX courses that also provide you with insights into human behavior.
For example, understanding how users may respond to the use of certain colors or designs is essential for graphic designers. A bad experience means that your design has failed, and this can greatly cost your company.
Along with this, one of the needs of users is to be able to understand how something works, in order to use it effectively. Providing relevant information architecture is important to the user experience, and plays to bring satisfaction into the experience.
4. Obtain Relevant Education or Training
Getting relevant training and education in the UX field can help boost your profile as a candidate- and improve your design skill as you become a UX designer. For example, many companies may appreciate it if you have a Bachelor's in Computer Science. A relevant degree may not always be necessary and can be replaced with the right kind of training.
Your training should include relevant courses that aim to build both soft and technical skills in the field. To become a UX designer, you should know graphic design, project management, user testing, and research, as well as human psychology, behavior, and needs. This is just a small list of the skills you should have- a comprehensive course should help you focus on various aspects of being a UX designer with ease.
The great thing about joining a design course is the convenience- you can learn at your own pace, as you are comfortable with it. Rather than rushing into a technical subject, you can move slowly, and ensure you have mastered every concept before you move on to more complicated principles.
5. Build a Strong Portfolio
Building a strong UX portfolio is an important tool for any designer. Your portfolio is the proof you have of your skillset, and this is how you show companies in your job search what you are capable of doing. To become a UX designer, you must be able to put your skills to the test and assure companies that you have what it takes.
Your UX portfolio shows who you are, and what skills you possess. It is especially important, when becoming a UX designer, to undertake projects particularly relevant to the specialty you are aiming for. This shows you have the necessary skillset to work successfully within that domain.
“The next big thing is the one that makes the last big thing usable,”says Blake Ross, Co-creator of Mozilla Firefox. Not only should your UX portfolio show the final result of your skills, it should also be able to highlight your design process. It's important to know you are capable of doing something, but it is equally important to show how you know it, and how well you can do it. If you create great and usable designs, but you end up taking twice as long as other designers to do, that can be a problem. Your portfolio needs to showcase your ability to implement an effiecient design process and show problem-solving skills for when issues arise.
Some best practices tips to creating an impressive portfolio include:
- Follow a structured template- after all, it's all about the experience.
- Showcase your most valuable skills and personal style.
- Backup your designs with empirical data that shows their usability and effectiveness.
- Don't stuff your portfolio- less is more!
6. Gain Practical Experience
Learning how to get into UX design is not complicated- but will require some practice on your part. While you don't necessarily have to have work experience, gaining some practical experience is helpful. Not only can you build up your portfolio this way, but you also get the inside scoop into the UX designer field. There are many opportunities you can take advantage of to gain this type of experience, including:
A. Seek internships, freelance projects, or volunteer opportunities
Many companies often look for interns in various beginner-level positions. This helps you gain valuable experience, in both working in the field and working with a company as part of a team. You can also take on freelance projects through sites like Fiverr and Upwork, which also give you the opportunity to work as you want.
B. Networking with professionals in the industry
Developing professional relationships with others in the industry is extremely beneficial for someone looking to join it. It can help you gain valuable insights, learn industry secrets, and when the opportunity arises, obtain access to a job. This network will also help you once you start working as a UX designer, in managing tasks and developing better problem-solving skills.
C. Participating in design challenges and hackathons
These days, there are a host of options available to test and prove your UX skills. Taking part in design challenges and Hackathons is just one way to hone your skills and test them against fierce competition. Even if you don't win, you can improve your skills and learn something new.
D. Creating personal projects to develop skills
There are many projects you can take on yourself without waiting around for some external opportunity to present itself to work on UX design. Create your own projects, and test out new skills and techniques yourself. The more designs you invest your time in, the more chances you have to develop your skillset and improve with each design.
7. Network and Stay Updated
Staying updated in an evolving industry is important as a UX designer. This is especially true because, as a tech field, it evolves and changes all the time. The introduction of new techniques and tools can make old ones obsolete, and you cannot be a valuable candidate if you are still working with outdated tools. Networking in the industry helps you stay updated on emerging trends, as well as take advantage of any job opportunities that pop up.
For you to learn how to become a UX designer is all about knowing where to start. You don't need experience, but having the right mix of skills and tools at your disposal can give you the boost you need. As such, focusing on your training and education in the field is important. Signing up for a UX design program that offers a good learning environment such as Uxcel is the way to go.
Such courses can provide the right mix of technical and soft skill training you need to excel in the field. Pair your training with exposure and practical experience to be the most ideal candidate for the job. Once you can prove you have the right skillset, you can start working as a UX designer. Sign up for a UX course today with Uxcel and make your dreams a reality.