The Honest Truths: What it takes to become a UX designer in 2022
I’ve been talking to a lot of people who are interested in UX design and want to make the transition into the field. While I’m no expert in the field (yet), I do have experience of going through the transition early last year and wanted to share what I’ve learned throughout the process.
Truth #1: There is no linear path
A lot of people think that there is a singular “best way” to get into UX. While I think there’s things that everyone should do in order to have a successful UX journey, there is no one path that you need to take in order to become a UX designer.
Everyone’s journey is going to be different. What works for one person may not work for another, and it’s up to you in order to figure that out. How? Here are some tips that I found useful during my journey:
- Try a little bit of everything: don’t commit to something if you haven’t at least tested it out; this can be as simple as trying a new design tool, a new concept, etc.
- Take things with a grain of salt: don’t expect that what someone says is the only way to do something; if something doesn’t feel right or work well for you, move on from it.
- Only compare yourself to your past self: comparing yourself to others is a surefire way to lead you to imposter syndrome; keep track of your work and look back every once in a while to see how much you’ve grown.
Truth #2: A certificate will not guarantee you a job
UX isn’t like becoming a doctor or a dentist where you need a certificate or license in order to become one. UX is unique in that anyone can be a designer regardless of your work background. While it does help with getting started, a certificate ultimately is just proof that you did a program.
What really matters when getting a job in UX isn’t the certificate itself, rather it’s the following:
- Your soft skills: communicating effective is key in UX and any job in general; how you communicate your design decisions and thinking is going to help people understand your why.
- Your portfolio: showcasing your work is how you prove to people that you know your stuff; case studies are important, but don’t forget to show off who you are as a person as well.
- Your experience: I’m not just talking about your UX experience, I’m talking about everything; whatever you did before is going to be proved useful in the future, so don’t ignore it and let it go to waste.
Truth #3: You gotta commit
Just like anything in life, if you really want something you gotta put in the work. People who are new think getting into UX is as simply as taking a program and sending in your portfolio and resume hoping that some company will hire you.
While that scenario is possible, the chances of that happening are super slim, and you’re going to have to doing some things that make you uncomfortable in order to successful transition:
- Leverage your resources: learning UX or anything really has never been easier; there’s so many books, videos, podcasts, etc. that you can lose yourself in so take the time to immerse yourself in them.
- Network, network, network: talking to strangers can be intimidating at first, but just like any skill you’ll get better at it the more you commit; take the time to network and learn from others within the industry.
- Find a mentor: mentors are going to be your biggest help because they’ve been through the journey and can help guide you to not make the same mistakes that made; find someone who can guide you through your journey.
If there’s one thing you had to take away from this article, it’s just to do it. The more you think and ponder about something, the more time you’re taking away in actually doing investing in your journey. Learn from your experience and mistakes, and you’ll get to where you want to be in the future.
I know this transition can be intimidating, believe me I was there literally a year ago, but if you put your mind into it, you will be successful. Just know that it’s going to take a lot of hard work, dedication, and self-reflection. Don’t focus on the destination, focus on the journey, because you’ll get to your destination faster if you don’t hyper-focus on it.
Wanted to chat with me? Feel free to use my Calendly to schedule a coffee chat where we can talk about UX, my journey, or anything Marvel/Star Wars related.
Looking for a mentor? There’s this awesome platform called ADPList where you can find people to guide you. This is where I found most of my mentors in my life.