How to Get Started
as a UI/UX Designer
Refine Your Skills and Remain Relevant
Even when remote work is the new normal, the demand for UI/UX designers is still high. On top of that, the future for this career also looks promising. So, if you want to know how to become a UI/UX designer or transition into this role, you can be assured that you will land a lucrative career that will continue to be in demand in the future.
There are different pathways you can take if you want to be a successful designer. While earning a four-year degree can give you a competitive advantage, it’s not the only option you have. You can also enroll in online courses offered by learning platforms like Udemy and Coursera.
Besides that, you can also take advantage of online coding boot camps as well. You will know all about these options in this guide. Read on and get ready to jumpstart your career as a UI/UX designer.
What Is a UI/UX Designer?
A UI/UX designer is responsible for gathering, studying, investigating, and assessing user needs and requirements. They make sure websites and applications are user-friendly. Their end goal is to deliver a compelling user experience through intuitive and exceptional application design.
How Does UI/UX Design Relate to Data Science?
UI/UX design uses data to develop design models that will make the most sense and add the most value to end-users. UI/UX design also uses data to improve and even power up the tech being worked on.
How Long Does It Take to Become a UI/UX Designer?
The length of time it takes to be a UI/UX designer will depend on the education path you will choose. If you opt for university education, it will take you two or more years to finish the degree. After that, you should be gaining relevant experience to raise your compensation.
However, if you take the alternative route of enrolling in online courses and coding bootcamps, you can expect to earn a certificate within a couple of weeks or months. Though these options won’t get you a diploma, you’ll be well-equipped before you finish your course.
Where to Study UI/UX Design
There are different paths to take when you want to land a UI/UX designer career. The good news is you don’t even have to earn a bachelor’s degree to be a UI/UX designer. However, you need to have a solid tech background to break into the UI/UX industry. Take a look at some of the most common UI/UX design education paths.
UI/UX Designer Community Colleges
If you intend to take the traditional route, you can finish a two-year degree in tech and software development offered by reputable community colleges. You can earn an Associate Degree in Computer Science or Web Development to learn more about UI/UX design.
UI/UX Designer Universities
If you want, you can also complete a full four-year bachelor’s degree and even pursue a master’s degree. You can enroll in programs like graphic design, computer science, information technology, software engineering, or web development.
UI/UX Designer Coding Bootcamps
If you don’t want to wait for two, four, or more years to earn a degree, you can enroll in coding bootcamps. Because the training only lasts for weeks or months, your sessions will be intensive. You will also be asked to complete a final project before finally earning a UI/UX bootcamp certificate.
UI/UX Designer Online Courses
Apart from coding bootcamps, you can also enroll in UI/UX design courses offered by such platforms as Skillshare, Udemy, Coursera, and more. These platforms differ in course content, so you should check the course syllabi before enrolling.
You can expect these courses to be self-paced, but with quizzes, activities, and projects at the end of every chapter. There will also be a final project before the end of the coursework to ensure that you’re well-equipped to become UI/UX designer.
How to Become a UI/UX Designer A Step-by-Step Guide
Below are some steps to help you start your journey in becoming a UI/UX designer. Although you don’t need to follow each one exactly, they can provide a helpful blueprint for your career path.
Earn the necessary qualification
Before you could jumpstart your future as a UI/UX designer, you first need to choose an education path to take. As mentioned above, you can opt to enroll in a degree program or choose the bootcamp and online course route.
Gain relevant experience
You’ll need to hone your skills to become a UI/UX designer. You can start doing freelance work, or you can try to start an internship. Either way, you should start working in the field and gaining experience as soon as you can.
Build your portfolio
After gaining all experiences you can, it’s time to showcase the same through your business portfolio. Compile all projects that you’ve worked with, and choose the best ones. The goal is to impress your prospective employer with your experience.
Network with fellow designers
If you want to get a great job in the industry, you should network as much as possible. Use online forums or in-person events to meet other UI/UX designers. If you meet the right people, you can have connections in highly regarded companies.
Apply for jobs
Once you have a good portfolio, you can start applying for jobs. Look at job postings in your area to get a feel for the requirements. You may need to get extra certifications.
Entry-Level UI/UX Designer Job Requirements
You don’t have to be highly skilled and seasoned to start working as a UI/UX designer. You will need a degree or boot camp training, but the requirements are flexible.
According to PayScale, the average salary for entry-level UX designers is $63,666 per year. As you upskill and earn more credentials, you can also expect your pay to go higher.
UI/UX Designer Salary and Job Outlook
The excellent news for UI/UX designers is that they have a bright and lucrative future. PayScale reports that the average salary for UX designers is $74,687. PayScale also reports that a user interface designer’s average salary is $64,944.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), web developer and digital designer job opportunities will grow by eight percent. UI/UX design falls under this wide umbrella. The BLS also reports that the average job growth for all occupations is about four percent, which means web design is almost twice the average.
Example UI/UX Designer Job Interview Questions
Aside from writing a customized resume and portfolio, you can also practice for your job interview by answering these questions.
- What is the difference between UX and UI design?
- Please discuss your day-to-day workflow.
- Please share an experience where your project had last-minute issues. How did you solve the problem?
- What do you think is the future of web design?
What Does a UI/UX Designer Do?
A UI/UX designer is responsible for creating an optimal user experience whenever they interact with a website. Some UI/UX designers focus on website branding, and others work on interactive web apps. Generally, their duties fall under any of the following categories.
Conducts User Research
UI/UX designers are expected to research user needs, motivations, goals, and behavior. They are also tasked to collect this data through different focus groups, online surveys, competitive analysis, and user interviews. The information they gather will then be analyzed and translated into usable data to guide decision-making.
Makes User Personas
UI/UX designers also identify user groups and create personas representing their demographics and behavior. These can also be used to recreate in-depth scenarios that show how a particular product fits its target market.
Identifies a Digital Product’s Information Architecture
This involves organizing in-app or in-website content to educate users about a specific product or accomplish certain tasks. Efficient information architecture will tell users how they can access the information they need. They are like sitemaps or chatbots that provide quick answers. If this interests you, you can also become a web developer.
Designs Wireframes and User Flows
UI/UX designers are also tasked to create a low-fidelity design representation. Wireframes usually represent the user’s journey while interacting with an app or website. This includes UI elements like images or buttons. The same is described in placeholder’s simplified versions.
Essential UIUX Designer Skills and Certifications
There are plenty of UI/UX designer skills and certifications, but these are the top ones that you should consider.
UI/UX Designer Skills
Prototyping and Wireframing
These are the two core skills of every efficient UI/UX designer. Most jobs in the field require these skills. Prototypes and wireframes are the most efficient tools to check designs, pinpoint mistakes, and improve the product before launching.
This is the language used in your designs to impact the user’s experience while interacting with the product. The way UI/UX designers select and phrase captions, calls to action, onboarding pages, app instructions, and error messages determine how seamless it would be for users to navigate through the interface.
User Interface and Visual Communication
A high percentage of customers are visual learners. If you have a thorough understanding of this fact, improving your UI skills can yield better designs. Learning good visual communication, like making things clickable, establishing visual hierarchy, and using typography and color to your advantage are essential skills for UX designers.
When working as a UI/UX designer, you’ll also need to gather quality user information to know how they interact with your product. This information is critical in developing your products. You’ll need to observe how people interact with their likes and dislikes.
UI/UX Designer Certifications
Below are some professional certifications you can also consider earning as a UX/UI designer. They are not mandatory to become a designer, but they can help you get a job with more credentials on your resume.
Nielsen Norman Group UX Certification
This in-person certification program costs $4,448 for a five-day intensive training. This certification is ideal for people who want to upskill to gain more credibility and be certified as an expert in UX design.
Certified Usability Analyst (CUA)
CUA is a ten-day in-person certification program that costs $6,000 per person. This is ideal for people who are new to the field and are willing to gain a solid UX design foundation. To be admitted, you have to pass the CUA course first.
Reasons to Become a UI/UX Designer in 2021
There are plenty of reasons you should aim to be a UI/UX designer this year and beyond. As mentioned above, UI/UX designer jobs will grow by eight percent, according to the BLS. This is enough reason to pursue your passion for design. In addition, as long as you upskill and continue to grow in your job, your compensation will grow exponentially.
UI/UX Designer FAQ
How are UI and UX design different?
UI stands for user interface, while UX stands for user experience. UI design is all about elements that allow users to interact with a particular service or product. On the other hand, UX design is all about the individual customer’s takeaways while interacting with the products and services.
What are the rules in UI design?
Ben Shneiderman, a Computer Interaction Lab professor from the University of Maryland, has eight rules to follow regarding interface designs. These include consistency, easy action reversals, and readable feedback.
Are UI/UX design certifications necessary?
These professional certifications are not mandatory, but they can help you upskill and add to your expertise. You can improve your career and compensation by earning these certifications. You can also earn certificates after taking a course, which takes longer.
Is becoming a UI/UX designer easy?
While it can be difficult to learn new skills, becoming a UI/UX designer is fairly easy. People passionate about this field may find it easier than those who know the field from scratch. However, just like in any degree or career, you will surely reap the benefits later on if you work hard.