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Complete Guide To Starting A UX Design Career

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What’s UX Design

In the early 2000s, most companies did not give much thought to their digital strategy and were more technology-focused rather than user-focused. Over the past years, the user experience (UX) field has gained a great deal of attention. Companies are now looking for designers to solve complex business problems, from junior to management levels.

In today’s world, businesses understand the need to design products and services according to customer’s needs. People now rely on digital products and services for daily activities in their life. For this reason, there is the obvious need for UX designers to make these products accessible, inclusive, and easy to understand to provide a positive experience that encourages loyalty to the brand.

This article would provide a clear overview of User experience design, skills needed to start a career in this industry and a guide to starting a career as a UX designer.

UX Designer

User experience (UX), describes the interaction a user has with a product or service. UX design is the process of creating products that provide user satisfaction in product branding, usability, design and function.

UX designers are primarily concerned with understanding the needs of target users and improving their experience with the products. They create seamless user experiences for products, services, and processes by conducting intensive market research and adopting the strategy of the brand in product development.

User interface (UI) design is a popular discipline closely associated with UX design. UI is a subdiscipline of UX design concerned with the visual styling of a product. UI designers focus on determining how users interact with a digital process while UX designers are more concerned with studying the needs of target users to design products with great user experience.

Skills needed to start a career in UX design

With the demand for digital products and services rising, user experience design is one of the most in-demand careers in the tech job market. People from different careers are transitioning to the UX design industry and learning the skills needed to be a professional.

Some non-technical skills UX designers need to have are:

• Empathy: Empathy is particularly necessary for professionals in this industry as UX design is centred around the needs of people while using a product. Empathy allows designers to gain insights into users’ needs and frustrations when using a product and create designs that meet these needs.

• Curiosity: UX designers carry out intensive research to gain a deep understanding of user experience and expectations of a product. Curiosity allows professionals in this role to challenge assumptions and make well-informed design decisions.

• Team skills: UX designers are likely to work with other designers, programmers and other professionals. To work as a part of a team, UX designers need to have good communication and interpersonal skills, and a positive response to constructive criticism.

UX Design

Steps to start a career in the UX design industry

There is no specific path to starting a career as a UX designer. Some professionals in the UX industry start with a university degree in a related field, while some others switch careers from an entirely different profession.

If you are considering starting a career in UX design, here are some practical steps to consider:

1. Get required training and skills: Getting the right training and skills to start a career as a UX designer does not mean you must invest in a university degree. Some universities offer UX courses and programs, however, they focus more on the theory leaving out the practical design.

The internet serves as a major resource for learning fundamental UX design skills. From online courses, blog resources, books, and even YouTube tutorials, the right training and skills needed to meet the growing demands of the industry can be self-taught.

Taking an online UX course, however, fills in the gap of knowledge created by an unstructured self-teaching, by putting these concepts into practice.

Formal credentials are more recognized when applying for jobs and also help learners build a portfolio while being guided by professionals in the industry.

Here are some online resources you could explore to broaden your UX learning process:

Udemy: Udemy’s design programme covers a varied catalogue of self-paced online courses where professionals can share their expertise.

Coursera: Coursera offers courses in interaction design to give a thorough understanding of principles of visual design, perception, and cognition that inform effective interaction design.

Lynda: Lynda, now known as LinkedIn Learning, provides one of the best online UX design courses for learning and advancing UX design skills to suit users with different levels of experience.

Careerfoundry: Careerfoundry’s courses on UX design provide users with detailed training on UX concepts and a platform to build a portfolio of UX design projects.

2. Learn the key UX principles, design methods and process: Another step to starting a career in UX designing is understanding the process and methods used in User experience design. UX designers adopt different methods and techniques in implementing their design.

As a beginner, you should understand the key methods that make up the UX design process and develop your skills with design tools such as Sketch, Mockplus, Adobe XD and Figma.

3. Surround yourself with design: Structure your daily content to be on User experience design, from the books you read to give you a strong foundation, to the blogs and social media accounts you keep up with to be updated on new trends and development. This would prompt you to become curious about the designs of products you come across and identify areas of improvement in designs you see.

4. Build up your UX design portfolio: A design portfolio is a necessary asset for User experience designers. It showcases a selection of the designer’s work, processes involved, how a problem was solved and the final design of the product. Your design portfolio shows that you have mastered the needed skills and understands how to apply them.

UX designers typically include their best and newest projects in their portfolio. To build your portfolio as a beginner, you would need to do a lot of practice with real-world projects to improve your skills. User experience design is a hands-on field, so it requires as much practical experience as possible.


UX Design

Here are some strategies you could adopt to improve your design skills:

• Remake designs of professionals: To improve your design skills, you can recreate works of more experienced designers. This process is possibly the fastest way to improve your visual skills and gain a better understanding of how to create a good design. These imitations, however, are not to be presented in your portfolio as your designs.

• Volunteer your design skills: Volunteering is a great way to expand your network and gain real-world experience while working on projects for your portfolio.

• Design fictional projects: You can choose to redesign an existing app or website and include ideas you think would improve the product, then include your design in your portfolio. this opportunity challenges you to improve particular experiences you had while using a product.

UX Design is one of the fastest-growing disciplines in the tech industry. Modern organizations are now accepting that a user-centred approach to business is more important than a product-centred approach.

Design is gradually becoming a top priority in organizations, as a result, there is an increase in the demand for UX designers to make user-friendly products.

UX designers just starting in the industry with little experience, earn an average annual salary of about $56,000-$100,000.

As a beginner in User experience design, your early career status in the field gives you an advantage when seeking opportunities as employers are looking to train and develop newly qualified candidates who bring unique skills and perspective to the industry.


If you need further guidance on degree options and career paths in User experience Design or counselling regarding schools to apply to for your degree, please click here to chat with our counsellors. 


You may also like: Who is a UX Designer?


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