Starting a career in UX/UI design can be both exciting and frustrating. On the one hand, you’re about to embark the career journey of your dreams – designing products for clients, making innovative solutions, and so on. But on the other hand, you may just not know where to start.
Well, as with anything, getting started is often the hardest part. But once you do, you’ll see that everything eventually settles in place as you familiarize yourself with the new field.
But before you go, consider some of our career tips which you may find useful as you start out your career in UX/UI design.
So, without any further ado, let’s get started!
6 Tips for New UX/UI Designers in Starting Your Career
1) Focus on building your portfolio and experience
One of the common attitudes of those who want to be a UX/UI designer is that they need to have some form of certification to get started. But in reality, certificates are not needed – or at least, less important – in UX/UI design.
In reality, employers or clients focus more on your experience and portfolio rather than your degree or certificate. They are more likely to hire you when they know that you’re experienced in working on the similar project they need than when all you have is a degree or certificates. Of course, certificates can get you ahead, but not very far, especially in these times and age.
So don’t worry about certificates; focus instead on building your portfolio and experience.
2) Present how you can help your employer/client, not how great you are
Traditionally, we are told to present some of our skills, degrees and experiences. “I graduated from X university with X degree”, “I worked at X company with X years of experience”. However, employers and clients aren’t really concerned with what you can do; what matters is what you can do for them.
So, instead of presenting how great and experienced you are, let them know what you can do for them. For example, instead of something like, “I am highly skilled in user experience”, tell something like, “I can help you work on your project by doing this and that.”
3) Never stop learning
You may think that learning UX/UI design has a beginning and end, and that once you’ve learned all the stuff, your learning journey ends. However, as with any career, learning never stops in UX/UI design.
To begin with, the trends in UX/UI are changing at a very fast pace. If you want to keep in touch with the trends, you have to be in the know. Also, they are techniques which you probably have not learned while studying UX/UI design that can significantly improve your work. So, never stop learning!
4) Working for free for some time is not necessarily a bad idea
People’s opinions differ when it comes to working for free. Some say it’s good for a while, while others believe it’s just a way for clients to get free work.
While it’s true that you should not work for free for quite a long time, working for free as a means to get started can be a good idea. This is especially true if you don’t have confidence yet in your skills. When you work for free, you relieve yourself of the burden of matching your output to your pay. This helps you focus on “learning” and honing your UX/UI skills. On the part of your client, should you fail in your project, at least they didn’t pay for anything. But once you’ve done a good job, you’ve built a portfolio for yourself and they’ve received your service for free. It’s a win-win for both of you.
5) Remember that it’s normal to make mistakes
One of our greatest fears when starting out is making a mistake. But while this fear is completely normal, remember that it’s also completely normal to make mistakes or to even fail when you’re just starting out at your career.
The truth is that, no matter how much you’ve learned, you’ll still fail and make some mistakes here and there. The goal, therefore, is not to avoid making mistakes, but to learn from them the moment you’ve done them.
Also, remember that the fear of making mistakes and failure can be paralyzing. You may find out that you’re not pursuing your dream career altogether because of this fear. But no, don’t fear the mistakes. Just get started and you’ll eventually learn the ropes!
6) Learn to accept constructive criticisms
Finally, learn to accept constructive criticisms. While criticisms can be hurtful, always remember that criticisms are not meant to attack you personally; rather, they’re feedback which you can use to improve your work. Of course, criticisms as a form to attack you don’t count, but generally, criticisms are made simply to let you know where you’ve fallen short. So learn from them and use them to further hone your skills!