Are you on the lookout for a new career path? Maybe you’ve spent a good few years in the tech world, yet feel like now is the time for a new challenge?
Has becoming a UX designer ever caught your eye? UX design has recently become a popular career path of choice for many, along with becoming a key driving force for business. Not only have business owners gauged how user experience is important for customer loyalty, sales and engagement, job seekers have found that becoming a UX designer offers a rewarding role and industry to grow into.
With its recent emergence, job seekers are a little confused with knowing what it takes to become a UX designer. Most believe that design qualifications or experience are a must, yet there are many different routes to take. Therefore, if you are both creative and analytical, have the drive to penetrate a new market and fancy yourself as a UX designer, read on.
What does a UX designer do?
Firstly, lets fully grasp what a UX designer does in the workplace. User experience design (UX) is the process of boosting user satisfaction by enhancing a products usability, functionality and value. A UX designers’ task is to analyse a product’s current value, by then making changes to enhance consumer interaction.
UX design is ultimately a process to help companies reach their goals. It is used in every industry and with every product type, however, has largely taken off with online offerings.
If undertaking market research, sketching up new ideas and problem-solving sounds like the type of activity you excel in, becoming a UX designer could be your next career step!
What it takes to become a UX designer?
As mentioned above, many people believe that being a creative individual with a design degree or experience is required to build a successful career in UX design, when actually in reality, it is very different.
Not just a design degree
Now of course, having a design degree will serve you well in the industry, however this isn’t the be all and end all. There are many other degrees which support the growth of a UX designer, including psychology, marketing and IT routes. However, in many cases, a degree alone won’t kickstart your career, especially in the UX world, as experience and skills take over.
Therefore, do not worry if you’re not armed with a shiny degree, becoming a UX designer is still possible. However, if you are a complete novice, it is recommended to source some online courses to help you at least start to understand UX design terminology and workflow.
When you think of the word design, creative skills come to mind. However, there are many other skills which overtake creativity when considering a career as a UX designer. A key factor hiring managers and recruiters look for when assigning a new UX designer is an array of appropriate soft skills. Here are a few soft skills which are vital to becoming a successful UX designer:
Observation: A successful UX designer will have the ability to sit back and observe customers and products with fresh eyes, moving away from a biased view. This is important for user experience, as a key responsibility of a designer is to observe and find areas to improve for interaction.
Empathy: This is key to ensure that you can put yourself in your customers shoes and understand how they feel and their motivation when interacting with your product.
Problem solving: Once you have observed problems in the interaction, it is a UX designers’ role to solve these problems through brainstorming and sketching out new ideas.
Design thinking: After gathering data and brainstorming ideas to overcome the problem, design thinking is important to develop prototypes and wireframes of your ideas.
Presenting: At the end of the process, it is vital that a UX designer can communicate and present their findings, along with a justification of their new ideas to push forward and boost interaction.
It is more than likely that having an interest in UX has stemmed from your previous tech experience. This means that you probably already understand processes and are able to transfer your current skills over. For example, if you’re currently a graphic designer, it is likely that you have a great eye for detail and understand how to make unbiased design changes to reach a goal.
Have a working knowledge of industry tools
Technology is a huge part of the current UX industry, therefore it is vital that you have working knowledge of industry tools. Gaining knowledge of tools such as SurveyMonkey, Adobe and InDesign will set you up nicely as you begin to gain UX experience.
Ability to adapt
User experience is continuously changing, as are customer desires and perceptions, therefore it is highly important for a UX designer to be adaptable. If you are the type of person who can change route and work with new tools easily, this may be the career for you.
How to kickstart your career as a UX designer
If you feel like you have what it takes to make it as a UX designer, here are some tips to kickstart your career:
Get inspired: There are many different industries out there looking for UX designers. The best step to take as a newbie is to find your niche through inspiration. Take some time reading through UX focused blogs, job descriptions and further opportunities to learn the field.
Learn the skills and tools: Once you have an idea of your niche, it is important that you begin to home in on your transferable skills, while learning new skills which will help you grow as a designer. Additionally, it is important to get ahead and learn the workings of the latest industry tools.
Sketch: Now you don’t need to be a budding artist, however having the skill set to sketch new ideas is a must as a UX designer. This is an effective way to get your ideas to paper, therefore we recommend sketching, sketching and then some more, you guessed it, sketching to boost your skill.
Showcase your portfolio: To stand out in what’s becoming a populated market, it is vital that you have an online portfolio available, showcasing your skill as a designer. This can include any previous relatable work, such as website development or graphic designs, along with showcasing any of your new skill in UX. This can be anything from a side hustle, to work you have completed through a course. In design, it’s all about what you can do, therefore it is important to have visuals at the ready to push you through the application process.
Find a role: Once you have completed the above, it’s time to find your first role as a UX designer. For those currently working in tech positions, employers may offer a move over to the user experience department. However, if you’re starting from fresh, it’s time to find a role that shouts out to you. Utilise online resources and networking opportunities whilst armed with your portfolio and you should be well ahead.
If becoming a UX designer sounds up your street and you’re looking for support with finding the ideal role, contact our WeSource team today! 01244 455222 / email@example.com
We specialise in placing IT and Digital talent with great companies offering career progression opportunities! We will take your personal requirements into consideration and help you find your UX role.