User experience design, or UX design, is everywhere these days. On the hunt for a design job? It’s a must-have for working on pretty much every major app, program, or website nowadays. This makes it a great skill set to add to your online design portfolio—or a promising new career path to pursue. Not sure how to become a UX designer? We’ll help you get off on the right foot!
What Is UX Design?
Let’s get some definitions out of the way, first of all. At its root, user experience design is the process of creating products that are meaningful and relevant to users. UX design is (obviously) user-focused, and aims to create products that are easy (and even fun!) to use.
Good user experience is more than just the physical appearance of a design: efficiency and overall enjoyment are equally important here. While there is no single definition of a great user experience, a good UX designer meets the needs of the user based on their desired use of the product.
It’s a rewarding field, too: the average salary for a junior in the United States is around $59,489 per year, while a senior can expect to earn up to $120,000! Job satisfaction is also high. According to CNBC, UX designer is listed as one of the best 11 jobs in America.
You’ll have no shortage of career opportunities in the field, either, and you’ll be able to pick and choose the sort of place you want to work. There is a lot of demand—which is why we want to help you figure out how to become a UX designer!
What Skills Do I Need To Become A UX Designer?
UX designers have a skill set that is—by necessity—multidisciplinary. It may seem daunting at first, but many of the skills are already interrelated, and are generally learned together due to how they complement one another. If you want to become a UX designer, these are the user experience design skills you should master:
- Research: A solid experience needs to be meticulously thought-out and researched. You’ll need to determine requirements based on client needs and project objectives.
- Collaboration: You have to be able to work with people across numerous departments for a UX to really shine.
- Wireframing/Prototyping: UX design training in this skill is absolutely essential for the role. It is the most effective way to relay your ideas, as it helps establish requirements and functionality before you even get to implementing assets.
- UX Writing: Good writing can be leveraged to forge amazing user experiences. Every word on the iPhone interface is carefully chosen, for example, and the results are undeniable.
- Visual Communication: Conveying intent with visuals is super-important: it’s the heart of user experience design! Previous experience in user interface design or graphic design helps a great deal here.
- User Empathy: The ability to put yourself in the users’ shoes and comprehend their issues is an invaluable tool for successful user design experience.
- Interaction Design: Understanding how your users interact with the product (as compared to how you think they use it) makes a massive difference.
- Analytics: Being able to analyze metrics on how people use the product is a key part of the job.
- Communication Skills: Being able to effectively communicate with groups helps your team, and it also will aid you in selling your great ideas to upper management and clients.
UX Design Training
So you’re sold on becoming a UX designer? Fantastic! It’s a fascinating field that’s experiencing a lot of growth; acquiring the skills required for these positions can only serve to help your career in our technology-driven society.
As mentioned above, a lot of various skills go into becoming a UX designer. If you aren’t certain how to even go about acquiring all of these skills, you’re in luck. There are many ways to learn UX design!
Find A Great UX Design Course
Why not try a UX design bootcamp? These post-graduate UX design programs allow you to learn a wide variety of new talents in a relatively short time (many UX design bootcamps are around 10 to 30 weeks in length).
If you elect to take this route, prepare for a challenge! UX design bootcamps are usually full-time and immersive and will require your full attention to be successful. You’ll have a pretty heavy course load (regardless of whether you take an online course or one that requires visiting a campus) and your chosen program will be your full-time job until completed. You can generally expect near-daily projects.
The upside here, however, is that you’ll learn UX design in a short period of time and will be ready to face the challenges of the field quickly. There are many reasons to take this route:
- You’ll learn the necessary skills required to create an app from concept to completion.
- You’ll get the chance for one-on-one instruction from people that have worked in the industry.
- You can start adding your UX projects to your online portfolio right away.
- Successful graduates have a high employment rate and salary increase.
- The majority of bootcamp graduates find full-time employment.
Some of the best places to find these UX design bootcamps include:
- BrainStation UX Bootcamp
- Career Foundry
- Interaction Design Foundation
- 30 Weeks
- UX Design Edge
Try A UX Design Online Course
Don’t have tons of time to devote to a more intensive UX design boot camp? Sign up for a UX design online course instead. These will allow you to learn UX design and master UX design principles on the side while working full-time or studying other subjects in school.
Check Out Other UX Design Examples
Sometimes getting started is the hardest part. You’ll need a little inspiration! The best way to do that is through seeing what other pros in the user experience design field are doing. Seek out established UX designers’ work and study their UX design examples. How are they using design to improve user experience for their clients? What can you learn from their UX design examples? Familiarizing yourself with trends will also help fuel your creative fires. You can find some stunning UX design portfolios right here.
Never Stop Learning
Fifteen years ago, we had only just started using smartphones. User experience design as we now know it did not exist yet. Our culture and way of life have completely shifted since then, and now UX design is now one of the most important jobs in the tech space (or any space!). Thanks to an ever-evolving industry, becoming a UX designer requires you to keep pace with emerging technology changes—or you’ll be left in the dust. Thankfully, there are many places you can keep pace with innovations in user experience design. Here are some of our favourites:
This podcast is a fantastic way to learn the tools and tricks of the trade. Many unique insights can be gleaned from the super-smart hosts and their industry leader guests.
This community at Dribbble is huge. You can use it to reach out to an immense number of professionals in user experience design. It offers users the ability to show your UX design examples publicly (and leverage them to find new clients), get feedback from other professionals on ways to improve your design, or simply get inspiration from the work of others. The end result is a vibrant and valuable place to broaden your horizons.
Designer Hangout provides access to numerous design-related communities. If you have any questions about user experience design, this is a fantastic place to ask them! It boasts real-time chat, a job board, newsletters (with a ton of killer industry advice and design articles), access to local events, mentorship, and much more.
Representing 90 countries around the world, there are over 450 groups here that can answer literally any UX-related question you could think to ask. This community has plenty to offer, and it’s worth exploring it to see just what new information you might learn.
With a Reddit-like approach, UX Mastery offers a post-based community of professional UX designers. You’ll find challenges, real-world stories (both positive and negative) and helpful hints from a kind and outgoing group of people passionate about user experience design.
One of the most popular design communities in the world, HowDesign is known to just about everyone in the UX industry. It’s one of the best places to engage in conversations with other professionals about user experience design. In addition to the community itself, there’s a cornucopia of useful articles and tips posted on a daily basis to help you hone your craft.
Time To Start Networking
There is perhaps the most important part becoming a UX designer: networking! It will be your lifeline in this industry. If you don’t know any people in the profession, go meet some. Find local UX design meetups and show up. Engage fellow designers in conversation, and get to know them and their companies. Don’t forget to hand out your business cards to everyone.
Add Your UX Design Work To Your Online Portfolio
Now that you’ve got your start in this hot industry, you can start adding your UX work to your online design portfolio. Don’t have one? Pick an online portfolio builder with a free trial to see if it fits your needs—and shows off all that amazing user experience design you’ve been creating. We can’t wait to see it!