Well, you’re in luck.
Here I’ll lay out the exact steps I took to get my first UX job. Read carefully.
1) UNDERSTAND THAT UX IS A COPYCAT FIELD
If UX was a person, it’d be your ADHD cousin who dropped out of a Psychology PhD, then pursued graphic design, and tried to be a solo tech founder but didn’t have the coding chops. UX is a field of fields. It’s a great career for disillusioned business students and nurses who think they’re creative.
2) READ UX JOB DESCRIPTIONS
Why waste your time like all the other bozos when you can just UX job descriptions and figure out what the job market is asking for? Identify patterns like the skills and requirements companies want. Interview UX designers and get to know what they do day to day. You’ll feel like a sneaky tech hacker doing this.
Gary V er…Don Norman would be proud.
3) GET REJECTED MERCILESSLY
Start a Daily UI challenge. Read a quarter of The Design of Everyday Things. Learn that UI is not UX. Fall in love with Sketch. Realize that you shouldn’t add drop shadows to everything. Stop at Day 5 of the Daily UI challenge. Drop $5k on a bootcamp. Cheat on Sketch and switch to Figma.
Start telling all your friends and family why you love UX. They don’t give a shit. They want you to keep your stable accounting job. Your parents ask why they helped pay for 4 years of college and now you want to waste it all on a career no one can pronounce.
Ask a busy professional to mentor you for free. They ghost you. Start “hand-coding” your own portfolio website because you think it’ll make you stand out (“OOh, a designer who codes!”) Create a mess of a website that’s hard to update and looks worse than the stock Squarespace template.
Beg strangers on Facebook to do your survey. Barely do your bootcamp homework. Disappoint your bootcamp mentor on another call by announcing that you have not done the coursework.
Finish 1 case study after 3 months. Hop on a phone interview. Recruiter doesn’t call back. Complain on Facebook Groups seeking advice you know won’t help you but stroke your ego because every other UX Beginner can relate. Don’t fill out anyone else’s survey.
Decide that this time, you want it bad enough. Make a pact with yourself to actually finish your course and get some project experience. Hit up your friend with a startup and offer to do UX for free. Feel slightly taken advantage of but you get to call yourself Lead UX Designer. Update your LinkedIn profile. Get to the final round of a UX interview. Keep getting rejected based on “lack of experience.”
Actually pay a UX mentor for help. Fix up your resume. Ditch the hand-coded website and find a template that’s kinda unique and looks good. Update your portfolio for the 25th time. Start getting interview callbacks again. Stay up nights and weekends to update your portfolio. Feel more like a designer after being on this journey for 18 months and underemployed.
Land your first UX job.
4) STOP TRYING TO CODE
Takes too long!!!
Bonus step 5: Write a Medium article that tells someone how you landed a UX job in 3 easy steps.
Inspired by Aaron Bleyaert’s HOW TO LOSE WEIGHT IN 4 EASY STEPS.
This is kind of a joke, but not really.