How To Become A UI/UX Designer With No Experience

In this digital age, where most of the population is on the internet in some capacity, nearly all tech-related fields are growing. One of the fastest growing sectors in tech is UI (User Interface)/ UX (User Experience) design. Companies are more invested now than ever in users having a positive experience with their websites and mobile apps. UI/ UX designers are as in demand as software engineers. With so much competition on the market, these companies cannot rely on simply having a tool that works well. They must ensure their product is easy to use (or at least easy to learn) and aesthetically pleasing. 

If this appeals to you, the good news is that you don’t need to go to college for four years and get a degree. According to a study by Adobe, most hiring managers for entry-level UX designer positions care more about your experience than a degree. But that leaves you with the classic chicken-and-egg dilemma, how do you get experience without a job? As with any career change, this will require some work. Here are some steps you can take to land that first job.

Do Your Research

UX design is a complex, multidisciplinary field. Before diving headfirst into a career change, do your research. Get a big-picture view of the whole process, then read up on the different elements that make up UX design. There are a variety of jobs available within UI and UX design that requires a specialized skill set, such as: 

  • UX Researcher

  • Program Designer

  • UI Design

  • Information Architect

  • User Testing

  • Content Strategist

You need to know what each job entails to decide which one might be the best fit for you.

Identify Translatable Skills

Even if you have never had a job in tech, you may already have skills that can be useful in one area or another of UX or UI design. For example, if you are an artist with a good grasp of color theory or know how to balance visual elements in a space, visual / UI design might be an area you want to focus on. Or, if you have a background in science and know how to conduct qualitative or quantitative research methods, UX research might be a good fit for you.

Choose The Path That Suits Your Goals

Once you know what direction you want to take, you will need to decide how you want to meet your goals. For example, do you want to go to college and get a degree, take a training bootcamp (like the one we offer online at LSU), or do you prefer self-directed study? Of course, there is no wrong answer for building your skills in this field, but each option presents different advantages and challenges, and you will want to evaluate which option will set you up the best for success. 

If you already have a four-year degree in something, it is optional to go back to college to break into this field. Having any undergraduate degree can help your resume stand out, and students with no higher education may consider this an option. However, many employers today are more concerned about your ability to do the job and less concerned about your level of education. So while an undergraduate degree is worth considering, college is not the best option if you do not have the time or resources to devote to a four-year program.

Self-directed study is the cheapest and most time-flexible option. There are many free or low-cost online courses you can take and tons of free resources. You can learn at your own pace and focus on the areas of study that interest you most. However, there are a lot of pitfalls with self-directed study. You won’t have the guidance, structure, and support that students in formal education receive, and it may not prepare you for the requirements of working in the industry. With this option, you are your own boss and professor, and you should carefully examine your ability to keep goals and deadlines for yourself before you choose this option.

A tremendous middle-of-the-road option is a UX training bootcamp. For example, the UI/UX Design Bootcamp offered by LSU generally takes nine months to complete and is designed to be fast-paced to build your skills and portfolio in a short time. As a result, they are considerably less expensive than university degrees but with many of the same benefits, such as structured learning, networking, and guidance. In addition, most people who take a bootcamp are working adults, so you have the option of online courses, and you can do it on your schedule.

Showcase Your Skills With A Portfolio

Whichever education option you choose, you need to build a UX portfolio of your work to show to prospective employers. So how do you build a portfolio with no experience? You can include coursework from a college or a bootcamp, or if you are doing a self-directed study, you need to assign yourself some projects. You can also bring some of your ideas to life, volunteer to improve a non-profit’s web presence, do freelance projects, or get an internship (paid and unpaid internships are available). 

However you decide to build your portfolio, you want to demonstrate a mastery of a few commonly used UX designer tools (i.e., Figma, Adobe XD, Sketch, Balsamiq, Maze, and Origami Studio). Pick the best tools for your specialization and use them in your portfolio projects. Finally, present your portfolio projects as case studies so you can show the decisions you made and your reasoning.

Apply For Entry-Level Positions

Here’s the scary part: you have to apply for a job now. UX designers are in high demand, including at entry-level, so a quick google search shows hundreds of listings for entry-level UX design jobs. Not sure which jobs are entry-level? Keep an eye out for keywords like junior or associate. If you have a specialization you want to break into, there are entry-level positions available, such as associate UX researcher, junior product designer, or interaction designer. In addition to specialized jobs, make sure you apply for generalist positions like junior UX designer.

Are you ready to get on the fast track to a career in UX design? Then, enroll in our UI/UX bootcamp at LSU today!