For those pursuing a career in user experience design, breaking into the industry can seem very difficult. Companies understandably want experienced professionals who have worked in user experience in order to meet their requirements – so how can junior UX designers who are starting out in their career find their way in?

We spoke to industry expert Nelson Pimenta to get some essential tips on how to start a career in UX design. Pimenta has worked and hired for the likes of BBC, HSBC, American Express, Lloyds Bank and most recently J.P Morgan – so he knows the score. 

Although this advice was made for UX Design, each point can equally be applied to careers in UI or product design. 

Top Tips for Junior Designers

  1. Like many jobs outside design, experience is important. Volunteer, work part-time and get internships: these are all experiences that will provide you with the hands-on skills needed in a real workplace.
  2. Always be willing to learn. No-one wants to hire someone who thinks they know everything. In an interview, mention the places you visit the most for inspiration and knowledge; the events you attend; the material you read in your spare time and why you really love design.
  3. Learn how to put yourself in the mind of a user. If you’re not sure how to do that, find someone who has never used a smartphone and ask them to go through a simple process that illustrates how user experience works – for instance, sending a WhatsApp message.
  4. Building a portfolio is key. They are stories of your “design life”. Don’t make it all fictional or theoretical: design a real-life solution. This may mean helping someone who needs a logo – do it for free if necessary. Having real-world examples goes a long way in impressing employers compared to conceptual designs.
  5. If you’re struggling to find real-world projects to work on for your portfolio, find a hard technology or topic that can be visualised. Create an infographic showing how Facebook bots work and present it to people that don’t know much about the topic. If they understand it, you’ve succeeded.
  6. Design for areas you are passionate about. The first project will drive the next one and the next. If you like music, or film, or cars – design for those. You will find the momentum will carry on and you can express your personality through your design work.

Looking for help?

Remember to reach out to the RedCat Digital team for more advice on a career in UX design.

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