How can I start my career in UX design? UX Question #51

Watch on YouTube

YouTube player

Listen to the podcast

Read the transcript

Jim from Seminole, Florida, asks: How can I start my career in UX design?

I love that question. Thanks for asking, Jim. This is UX Question number 51 and I am Ben Judy.

How can I start my career in UX design? Well, there are many paths you can take. I’ll tell you five things that, in hindsight, worked for me, and I think these will help you, too.

One: It started as a hobby, not a job. The things that led me to UX design were my personal, nerdy interests. I was fascinated with computers from early childhood. So in my teenage years I taught myself HTML and started building websites just for fun. I kept that hobby mentality as I began to explore UX design.

Two: I learned how I liked to learn. Yeah, I went to college and got a degree, but in my case, I had already figured out how I liked to learn about design and technology. I was self-taught from experimentation, books and blogs, and experts and design communities that I liked.

See episode 8, What is the best way to learn about UX?

If you think a bootcamp might be thing for you, check out episode 6, What is a UX bootcamp?

Three: I discovered the power of relationships and professional networking. I got interviews and jobs early on from recommendations from a friend at church, and my cousin’s co-worker’s husband. Yes, I also got jobs by submitting my resume and applying to job postings. But early on I found networking was the easy button for getting my foot in the door.

Four: I did a lot of volunteer work and freelance projects for small businesses and church ministries. Anybody and everybody who might need a website or some digital design.

See episode 37 on how much to charge for those freelance gigs.

Five: I enthusiastically did a lot of really bad freelance work for very little money, but it’s how I cut my teeth and got better. I knew I wasn’t great at it—yet— but I worked late into the night, early mornings, I persevered.

If you struggle with feeling unqualified check out episode 36, How can I fight against imposter syndrome?

So, based on my own experience, these are five things you should do to start your career:

Make it your hobby.

Learn the way you like to learn.

Get busy networking.

Pursue freelance and volunteer projects.

And fearlessly do low quality work, while you hone your craft and get better.

Oh, and you knew I would finish on this, tip number six for getting started in your UX career: keep asking your questions about UX. Next time, I’ll answer the question: What’s the best way to document design decisions?

Referenced in this episode:

Support UX Questions

Visit us on Patreon and check out the great perks at each level of support!

Become a sponsor

You can advertise your products or services—our promote yourself as a UX professional—by sponsoring episodes of UX Questions! See the Sponsor page for details.

Hire Ben Judy

Ben is available for consulting engagements as a workshop facilitator, mentor, design coach, and more! See the Ben page for details.