If you’re passionate about design, psychology and making things work properly, then a career in UX could be for you. User Experience is a relatively new field, and with the explosion of websites and apps on the market there are more and more companies looking to make UX a priority.
But before we look into HOW to get a job in user experience design, let’s see if getting a UX job is even worth it. After all the skills required can be broad – ranging from programming and coding to design and analytics – and many companies are only just beginning to wake up to the value of good User Experience.
A quick bit of research shows that the answer is a pretty clear “yes”. A study by the Nielsen Norman Group evaluated 1015 so called “UX people” and found that career satisfaction among UX professionals is pretty high – averaging out at 5.4 / 7. (We did the math, that’s about a 77% satisfaction rate).
Just Getting Started?
Since you’ve read this far you’re probably already sold on the idea of a career in UX, so let’s get straight to the details.
If you’re brand new to the professional UX world but determined to make a go of it, then there’s a lot of information out there for you.
Here are a few key resources we found for getting started as a UX researcher or designer:
So, You Want a Job as a UX Designer?
Hanno.co have a detailed and comprehensive article on how to boldly enter the world of UX professionals. They share a bunch of great tips and link to a lot of resources. Here’s the link to the full article.
One of the best finds is Whitney Hess’ list of dozens of essential training programs and resources that can help you go from job seeking beginner to professional expert is record time.
“But Seriously, I’m Brand New to This.”
If you’ve started scouring job listing and are terrified by the outrageous demands for experience and qualifications made by a lot of hopeful companies, then relax. UX Beginner have a great article on how to really start from scratch – no experience, no references – and establish yourself as a credible candidate. Here’s the full story.
Lindsay Norman, a UX designer for LinkedIn, has also written a great articles with 9 tips on how to go from nothing to becoming a UX designer. You can read the full piece here.
The key things you should take away from these resources are
- Become an autodidact. Make educating yourself a priority. Take the online courses, read the books, make connections and learn. There’s absolutely no shortage of information out there, and with enough time and effort you can learn everything you should know.
- Show off your skills with real projects. Create real websites based on your newfound UX knowledge and build a portfolio of things that you have done. Employers will be impressed because they’ll have actual, tangible examples of your skills in front of them, which can more than compensate for apparent lack of experience.
What’s Is It Like to Be a UX Designer?
Stewart Mccoy is a UX designer who wrote an article in a response to a question from a graduating high school student who is interested in going to university and pursuing a career in UX. Here’s a quote which sums up how your day could look as a UX designer:
“I work with [engineers] to define project goals and functional requirements for the applications that we design, and I also conduct user interviews and user testing to ensure that we’re building software that’s useful and usable for the people who will be using the apps.”
Of course UX is a very diverse field, and depending on the specific niche you fall into and the company you work for your responsibilities could vary widely. It’s important you work for a company that understands that value of UX and your importance as a UX designer.
Choose The Best Company and Get a Job Which Suits You
Experienced UX Pros, if you’ve been skipping over the newbie stuff then it’s time for you guys to come back to the party.
We’ve been in touch with UXswitch, a job community designed by UX people for UX people. Their humanized job board can help you get offers from the best suited companies, with a simple, free and of course user friendly system.
UX Switch Gives you three key features:
1) Members Club
You can be contacted by only the best employers/recruiters in UX, based on what a wishlist that you create. This includes information on preferred income, work location, availability and other life considerations. The big networking and job sites are not entrusted with as much information which is crucial to making better matches. They rightly trust us because the site was designed by UXers, for UXers. Also employers/recruiters are invited based on their track record in UX and the promise to treat UXers with integrity. Not every recruiter/employer makes it.
2) Humanised Job Board
UXswitch presents the world’s first Humanised Job Board, where only the most useful, usable and engaging job ads live. No one presents the most important information about the job in such a visual and efficient manner. The result is a job ad that stands out from the crowd, motivating the right people to apply. This makes the process of hiring someone more efficient and enjoyable for everyone involved.
3) Career Advice
UXswitch presents career advice from some of the industry’s most established and respected practitioners. The aim to to relay honest tips and guidance to genuinely help the UXer in progressing in their career, anything from how to future proof their skills to asking for a rise.
As you can see the internet contains a treasure trove of resources for the aspiring UX professional, so if this is your passion you have no excuse not to pursue it! Invest the time and energy in absorbing the resources we linked to in this article and upgrading your skill set, and the keys to the exciting world of user experience design will be yours.