Results of the UX Career Self Audit are in.

This report helps determine if UX Career Coaching is right for you.
Comes with a list of helpful UX career resources (free and paid).

As a refresher, this was the questionnaire that designers completed from the UX Career Audit:

  1. Rate the strength of your UX skills
  2. Rate the strength of your UX portfolio
  3. How would you rate your resume?
  4. Rate the strength of your professional network in technology
  5. How deep is your overall professional experience?
  6. How deep is your UX experience?
  7. Check all the UX career topics you’re seeking help with

^ select one of the anchor links above to jump to the relevant self audit response

Keep reading for my suggested action plan + resources for your response to each one of these questions…

1. How respondents rated their UX skills

More than half of respondents reported low UX skills, while 44% considered themselves average or above.

Action plan

You can learn UX from books, formal settings (bootcamps & universities) and of course through on the job experience. What will make the most difference is 1) learning consistently and 2) applying your learnings to real-life UX projects.

Prioritize learning over everything and you’ll be just fine.

Resources

  • Tuesday UX Trainer is user experience training in your inbox every week. It includes summaries of learning resources like videos & articles.
  • UX Master course – I’m working on a new UX course that teaches everything a UX beginner needs to land that first UX job. If you’re interested in getting on the waitlist, sign up here

2. How respondents rated their UX portfolios

Similar distribution to how respondents rated their UX skills (which makes sense). An overwhelming majority of respondents felt that their portfolios were average or mediocre.

Action plan

No UX designer I meet is ever satisfied with their portfolio. If you’re having difficulty getting started, lower the barrier by beginning to write just 1 case study. Don’t even worry about the visuals. Using just text, communicate what you did and the interesting insights that came out of your design process.

This content-first approach will help you gain the necessary momentum to start (and finish) your UX portfolio.

Oh, and remember – perfection kills. More likely than not, if you see a job you’re interested in, it’s better to apply now with what you have, rather than let the opportunity pass by as you make inconsequential small portfolio tweaks.

Resources

3. How respondents rated their resumes

Only about a fourth of respondents feel confident about their resumes. This is still much higher than compared to the previous 2 questions – people generally have more experience with resumes compared to portfolios (especially if transitioning from another career). The difficulty lies in tailoring your resume for UX hiring managers.

Action plan

The resume is another career artifact that many designers get wrong. If you remember one thing – anything – just remember that the resume should be a concise summary of your professional experiences tailored to the job you’re applying for.

Just as with the portfolio, if you’re stuck, don’t start with the design first. Just write out your resume in a plain text editor with the essential components: job titles, company names, dates

Resources

4. Rate the strength of your professional network in technology

This is one of the more promising scores: the majority of respondents rate their professional tech network as average or strong. The more connections you have in tech, the more likely you’ll be able to transition into a tech role like UX.

Action plan

Most people who rate themselves low often forget to look in their backyard. Start with your friends who work in tech (regardless of their roles) and ask if they can introduce you to any designers working at their company.

Surprisingly few designers ask their personal networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) for introductions.

Another vital point to remember in networking is to try to build relationships first. At the end of the day, it’s all about making genuine connections with other people. It’s not uncommon to see well-connected designers win jobs from their more talented peers.

Resources

  • Read Finding a UX Job: Farming vs Hunting, my most popular article on networking. It describes the two common “tracks” of finding a job, and why mixing the short term (hunting) and long term (farming) networking techniques will yield the best results. Hint: most designers don’t “farm” enough.
  • UX Coaching can help you identify “low hanging fruit” in your professional network, as well as develop an outreach plan for target companies. This turns connections into job opportunities. If you want to double down on networking as a way to get into UX, I’ll be happy to coach you through the process.

5. How deep is your overall professional experience?

The most evenly split response so far – respondents come from a variety of working experience.

Action plan

Beginning career: focus on building your technical skills and getting as wide a breadth of experience as you can.

Mid career: Translate your previous experience into UX. Also, consider picking a niche.

Career veterans: the challenge is starting over. Lean on your leadership experience to get lead or management roles within design. I usually advise against competing with junior level competition, and recommend making lateral moves.

Resource

  • UX Coaching can help you at any stage of your career. I’ve worked with executives to career beginners to transition into UX. Whether you need to craft a new portfolio piece or want to pick a niche to freelance in UX, I’ll help you through it.

6. How deep is your UX experience?

There’s a 70/30 split on this one. Most respondents have little hands-on UX experience versus the minority of respondents who are already working in UX.

Action plan

  • UX Beginner: work on a variety of projects, platforms, and team environments (e.g. agency and in-house).
  • UX Practitioner: deepen your knowledge and consider becoming more “T-shaped” – a strong generalist with defined specialities.
  • UX Veteran: opportunities bound, whether that’s moving up in management, starting your own business (or design consultancy), or teaching.

Resources

7. The UX career topics most designers want help with

Not surprising – portfolio, resume and interview skills top the list. However, more than half of respondents cared about personal branding & networking:

Let’s address each UX career topic with a round up of all the resources mentioned before (and some not):

UX Portfolio

UX Resume

Interview Skills

Networking

Finding & completing UX projects

Freelance skills + Personal branding (combined)

  • Get weekly remote UX job leads in your inbox with UX Leads (free)
  • UX Career Coaching is your best option if you want to figure out how to position yourself, where to look for potential clients in your niche and more.

Wasn’t that helpful? :)

If you need tailored help, UX Career Coaching is your best option to work 1-on-1 with a UX expert. I only take up to 5 students a month and spots sell out fast. 

Otherwise, bookmark this page for updated resources on each major UX career conundrum.