If you are starting your journey as a user experience designer, or you are interested in this field and want to start with it, you need to work very hard to be of the great designers you are inspired by.
Thinking of what to do in this phase is worrying and stressful. You in this phase have a little or no experience, you need the experience to get a good job and you need a good job to have experience.
Making a plan and following some tips can help you in gaining the experience and knowledge needed to get your first UX job.
Tips For Getting Your First UX Job
1- Copy professionals work
“Start copying what you love. Copy copy copy copy. At the end of the copy you will find your self” Austin Kleon – Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative
In his article, Erik Kennedy talks about improving UI design skills through copying professionals work. Also, you can improve your UX design skills (Sketching and Wireframing) using this technique.
Copywork is a technique that writers and painters have been using for centuries. It is the process of recreating an existing work as closely as possible in order to improve one’s skill.
It’s a simple technique, you need to pick some work that inspires you (Popular web pages or applications) that is better than your skills and start copying it.
Design skills is one of the essntials skills needed for your first UX job. Using this technique, you will improve your design skills, learn about best practices and design trends.
2- Expand your knowledge
“Knowledge has a beginning but no end.” ― Geeta S. Iyengar
A lot of designers nowadays ignore expanding their knowledge, they just follow best practices and design trends which makes them really good designers. But mixing best practices and trends with real knowledge will make you a better designer.
Acquiring knowledge can be done through various ways and methods, it can be done through reading books, attending design events, watching online courses, reading articles and talking to professionals.
As a great designer, you must expand your knowledge in different fields. You need to read about design, psychology, interaction design and business.
Here are some links that could be very helpful for expanding your knowledge:
3- Join design communities
Learning from experienced professionals is one of the best methods to learn about any field. Learning from experiences of other professionals is a shortcut for you to learn about design.
You will find a lot of educational design events, people sharing their experiences, and case studies that could help you a lot. In addition to the opportunity for networking with professionals and job opportunities that you can get them.
You have a good chance to find your first UX job in design communities.
4- Just do it
Copying great designs, expanding your knowledge and joining communities are the first part of your journey in learning about user experience design but they will have no meaning and benefit without getting your hands dirty doing some work.
Now you are armed with some knowledge and experiences, you just need to try doing some simple projects to put your knowledge into practice.
Start small with doing, for example, a usability testing for an app you like or revamping a website you think it could be better. Try applying the knowledge you have learned and the experiences you have exposed to talking to professionals.
You can take your practicing skills further by working on real projects for your friends, family or your relations even if it is for free. This will help you learn better how to deal, communicate with clients and persuade them with your ideas.
5- Sharing what you have learned
“Teaching people doesn’t subtract value from what you do, it actually adds to it. When you teach someone how to do your work, you are, in effect, generating more interest in your work. People feel closer to your work because you’re letting them in on what you know.” – Austin Kleon, Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered
Sharing what you have learned and discussing it with people is the best way to fully understand and digest the knowledge and information you have read and learned.
You can share what you have learned through writing articles about different topics, talk to other people about these topics and present your experiences through design events and communities.
6- Create your portfolio
Your portfolio is a reflection of your personality and your work.
You will need a portfolio if you applied for any job, this portfolio will help the job recruiters to evaluate your skills and knowledge. Your portfolio is a showcase of your skills and abilities.
Your portfolio should contain your best pieces of work. You can add your small personal projects, projects that you have done for your family or friends and projects that you have worked on during your internships.
It’s not about the quality of your portfolio piece but also the way you present your work is very important. Storytelling is very important when we talk about the portfolio.
Following these tips will help you expand your knowledge and improve your practicing skills. and after a short period of time you could get your first UX job and start your design career.
Some helpful links