Getting a UX Job: Do You Want It Bad Enough?

On the 5th mentoring call, I’ve had enough. My mentee was making excuses for making zero progress in several weeks of design assignments.

Every UX Mentor’s worst nightmare…

“What happened? Are there any barriers I can help you remove?”

“You know, I got busy. Life, right?”

At that point I stopped and asked point blank.

Do you want it bad enough?

As in, do you want a UX job bad enough such that you’re willing to do what it takes?

If you’ve been stagnating in your UX job search and making little progress, all you need to do is ask yourself this one question.

These are the classic Signs of Not Wanting It Bad Enough™ :

I’ve been through all of the above personally, both as a UX student and UX mentor.

UX students face an interesting paradox in today’s job market:

In terms of resources, there’s no easier time to transition into UX.

In terms of competition, there’s been no harder time to transition into UX.

The barrier of entry used to be lower because UX being a new field that was just forming. But there were also less resources to transition in…and that’s why this blog was started!

In 2010, people barely knew what UX was. I remember interviews where hiring managers earnestly asked me to explain to the what UX designers do.

Fast forward 10 years and the barrier of entry is higher now. This is normal, and a good thing for any maturing field.

Doing the bare minimum no longer works.

All the students I know who’ve crossed the UX finish line are going the extra mile. They know that just finishing a course is just the bare minimum.

The successful students not only wanted the job bad enough, but they had a burning desire to constantly improve themselves as UX designers.

It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be

Paul Arden

They pour their hearts and souls (and some blood & tears) into their UX projects.

If that sounds hard, frustrating or difficult, then you’re right. It is.

  • UX job descriptions still suck and are confusing
  • You might be juggling a full time job, parenting, and other responsibilities on top of Covid and 2020
  • Ageism may still be a barrier
  • You have bills and other expenses to worry about

But that’s what everybody else is dealing with.

The job market doesn’t care that about your bootcamp, your bills or your personal responsibilities.

It only cares about having qualified, talented designers to design their user experience.

You can’t do what everybody else is doing. And that’s the bare minimum.

Pay attention to those who’ve gotten jobs, and what they’re doing.

There’s endless Medium articles on how people got their first UX jobs.

One theme shows up again and again. It’s not some extra fancy UI or some unobtanium secret sauce.

They wanted a UX job bad enough and they worked like crazy for it.

How do you know if you want something bad enough? By asking yourself some real, confronting questions.

  • What’s my commitment to learning UX and getting a UX job?
  • Have I clocked in at least 100 hours of dedicated UX and UI practice?
  • Am I trying to get 1% better every day?
  • Where do I think I stand compared to other ambitious UX students? Am I competitive?
  • Am I in a shitty job market and unrealistic about landing a remote UX role out the gate?
  • What are my blindspots? How can I find out what these blind spots are?

I promise you, by working just a little harder and a little more creative than everyone else, you will land that first UX job.

If more information was the answer, then we’d all be billionaires with perfect abs.

Derek Sivers

The information is all there. It’s waiting for you to act on.

Do the work, and you will succeed.


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