The colorful world of UX design is an enticing one for sure.
Many designers will tell you that they simply gravitated towards it after studying different subjects and working different jobs.
While others will tell you that you need to follow a prescribed course to get into UX. The truth is that there is no set path into the world of UX.
It's about what your background is and how you wish to continue in the field. If you have no clue where to get started, here is a handy guide to help you through the entire way.
Before we dive into the world of UX, let us first understand what it truly is. UX i.e., User experience design deals with crafting the most optimal experience for a user with a product or service.
It is not to be confused with UI design which is user design that mostly deals with the aesthetic elements of a user's experience with a process. Both are closely related. UX design is a popular career choice.
Ux designers are high in demand with our society digitally advancing so fast. It is also a job that has a smaller learning curve but an abundant potential for success that entices people to it.
If you want to get started in UX but haven't a clue where to begin, you're in the right place. This guide will walk you through setting your foot in the UX industry step by step. Without further ado, let's get started.
The first step toward getting started in the UX industry is knowing about what is UX research in detail. Many people wrongly assume that the first thing you need to do is study UX and the rest will fall in place.
No, you need to learn what UX is and what a job in UX entails before you even consider a course, certificate, or job in the field. Understand what the profession is, what a UX designer does, and what their role is in the setup of an organization.
Then, look up what the job scenario is in your region along with salaries. These elements will give you an overview of what a career as a UX designer will entail. After that, you can dig deeper into the skills required for the job.The idea is to see if this is something you want to get into as a profession. If you can, you should talk to a UX designer to get a real idea about the job. See what a day in the life of a UX designer is like and if it is something you wish to do.
Now that you have umpteen knowledge about UX and are set to move forward toward it as a career option, it's time to get yourself educated in the craft. Learning about something on the internet and through books doesn't really suffice for formal education.
Again, this doesn't mean you have to go invest in a university course. There are many higher education courses that cover UX. You can also opt for part-time courses if you wish to continue working alongside them. Covering topics such as the foundations of consent management are important as privacy laws may be breached if you are not careful with design usage.
With the rise of the digital age, it is entirely possible to pursue online courses that are inherently easier than following a program physically. Keep in mind that formal education is not a necessity to break into the UX industry.
However, it proves to be a massive help. A course covers all fundamentals about the subject and comprehensively trains you in it. Moreover, a certificate validates your credentials in the field, helping you land a job with less hassle.
UX is all about practicality. Perhaps more so than in other fields, you need hands-on experience to get hired. The education you receive in your course will help form a formidable base for the practical knowledge you now receive.
Now, you're not going to get paid clients right away. But you need projects to build your portfolio and get intricate knowledge about UX. So, get the needed experience, you can either work on projects on your own or work under a professional UX designer.
Both alternatives come with their own pros and cons. Finding a mentor is great as you get to work on real projects but not everyone can find a UX designer that may agree to take you under their wing.
Even then, you still need projects on your portfolio to demonstrate your own expertise. The best way forward would be to dabble in both alternatives in some capacity. However, it's about what works for you. The bottom line is to focus on getting projects under your belt.
As discussed above, working on projects should be your first priority. Though it is going to be hard to find paying gigs right away. The best way to find projects is to look around yourself and turn things into projects.
Think about your favorite websites and apps that you use on a regular basis. What are the ways that you could improve on them? Then go through the entire design to put your knowledge to practice.
You may ask your friends and family to give you projects. Work for them for free. It's a win-win as you get the needed practice and they get a project done free of cost. At the most, you may not be able to complete it the way it is supposed to.
In that case, you were doing it for free so they don't lose any money and can always get it done professionally. However, if you complete it alright — you get to have a valuable addition to your portfolio. If you feel adventurous, give a completely new project a try to test your skills.
Also, whether you're a freelance designer or part of a creative team, tracking your time is essential. It helps you bill clients correctly, manage your time, and enhance productivity.
Working under a mentor is something that may not be possible for everyone. In this day and age, when working from home is the norm, it is hard to find someone to work within a physical capacity.
And a virtual mentorship may not be that effective. However, if you do find a professional UX designer to learn with, it can do wonders for your career. You get to have first-hand experience with real projects.
You get to learn tips and tricks that help you avoid rookie mistakes. Think of it as taking a shortcut of sorts to learn the most optimal approach for any kind of project. Ask your mentor questions and request feedback to improve yourself.
The mentor may even be a reference that your future employer can consult. You can also mention in your resume that you have worked under the designer to denote that you have real-world experience with your job.
Building a strong portfolio is of utmost importance because most employers will want to look at what you have already done before they hire you. This is why we focussed on completing projects in the earlier steps.
The employers don't have to know you did your projects for free or for your own self. The fact that you created something of value would be at the forefront. A portfolio is an ideal demonstration of the skills you possess.
Make sure to put your best work at the forefront to get it noticed. Though it's alright if your portfolio is simple as UX designers are not expected to be artsy as their UI counterparts.
UX design is a profession that requires a relatively shorter learning but offers exceptional growth as a career.
If you are looking to make a career in this field, first look into it deeply to know that it is truly something you wish to pursue.
You may learn about it on your own or through a professional course. Make sure to work on projects to build a strong portfolio.
Network around to land a desirable job in the field. And make sure to keep yourself updated with the new trends to excel in the field.
Let us know in the comments what you think is the best way to get started in the field of UX.