‘UX designer’ is a pretty cool job title right now, with CNN stating that the number of positions is likely to rise by 18% over the next decade.
Not to mention it ranked seventh in Forbes list of top 25 jobs for work-life balance in a recent study. So really, it’s no surprise many people are wondering how to get into UX design. Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane are only a few Australian cities that are bustling with UX talk and competition – so it’s definitely worth trying to stand out from the crowd by working on the following 5 things before applying for your next UX gig.
I’m not talking any experience – relevant experience to the job you’re applying for. If you don’t have any, go get some! One of the biggest roadblocks and misconceptions for young creatives (and something I’ve personally struggled with in the past) is the belief that they have to fill their portfolio with paid work. Find something online with UX that drives you crazy (booking movie tickets anyone?) and re-invent the experience. Stuck for ideas? There are great resources such as BriefBox that does the brainstorming for you by providing a library of practice briefs.
Surprisingly, you don’t always need a degree in Design or ‘UX’ specifically to get a job in the field. It could be argued that very few UX professionals studied user experience design at university. They come from a wide range of backgrounds, from psychology to project management to librarians, the passion for research, prototyping and other UX practices is incredibly diverse. Begin by watching online courses, start reading, learn the lingo and get involved in the UX community by joining a meetup like Ladies That UX or any of these.
Humility might seem like an obvious trait, but when it comes to hiring it takes top priority. Afterall, people are asked to join teams to provide value to the greater good of a company. Regardless of how much experience you have “…fight your own pride and ego and be open-minded and always learning new techniques, new things from anyone.” Sam Sheridan A Fighter’s Heart
If you’re keen to check in with yourself, check out Niklas Göke’s article on Medium covering humility exercises to help win inner battles with aspiration, success & failure. For many employers, humility is more important than confidence and a great asset for self-improvement. I’m a strong believer that by remaining humble, you are much more receptive to opportunities to improve.
Okay, so you don’t have to be jumping out of bed every morning feeling this enthused about your career (but if you do, can I have some of what you’re having?!). Passion for UX isn’t something you can fabricate – but conveying your love for it is. If you’re truly in love with your job and obsessed with UX don’t be afraid to show it. A great UXer designs to solve problems. When discussing processes/case studies in an interview, put some emotion into it. Recall the last time you had a big UX win? What about a big failure? How did you overcome it? Try to talk about your journey through research, defining the problem, iterations and analysis of results with conviction.
The right questions
If you’ve sat through job interviews before, you’ve probably been asked the typical closing line ‘Did you have any questions for us?’
Even if you think you know everything there is about the role and company you’re applying for, it’s good practice to have a question or two up your sleeve to show genuine interest in the position. Not just any question though – avoid giving off the wrong impression with ‘what are the standard work hours’ and ‘will there be overtime?’ and ask something along the lines of the following:
- How does this position help your team achieve its goals?
- How does your team fit into the organisation overall?
- What is the history of this role? Is it a new position, or was someone in the job previously?
More personal questions can be insightful too, like:
- How did you get to the company, and to your current position?
- What do you love most about your job?
If you found these 5 things helpful, let us and your UX friends know!
Or, if you’re on the other end of the spectrum and looking to hire a UX Designer for your team? Check out my article on ‘5 most common mistakes when hiring a UX Designer.’