Are you considering a career move in 2022? The last two years have made us all reevaluate what we want from our jobs. Perhaps it’s time to try something new, reskill, or pivot into a different field. One role that is constantly in high demand is UX design.
If you think you’d be a good fit for this job you probably have a lot of questions in the back of your mind like, is the UX market still booming in 2022? Do I have the necessary skills to break into this field or how can I be successful?
Don’t worry! We’ve gathered together all the information you need into our handy guide below. Now all you need to do is spruce up your CV and start applying.
What does a UX designer actually do?
The term “user experience” (or UX) describes the interaction a person has with a product or service. For example, you decide you want to buy a new pair of trainers. Ideally, you’ll be able to quickly find a website or app that sells the shoes you want. Within a few minutes you should have selected your size, entered your delivery address and purchased the shoes. They arrive in a beautifully branded box. But… oh no! The size isn’t right.
Not to worry, within a few minutes you’ve registered your return and were able to easily repackage and ship the box it came in back to the store. Within a couple days you receive the right size and the website saves this information for your next purchase. That’s a seamless user experience.
This interaction didn’t just happen by chance, it’s the result of good design. Behind the scenes, UX designers will have considered every element that shapes the user journey, from your first interaction with a brand to returning a product. UX design combines product development, strategy, design and market research to create a straight-forward process for the customer.
Their work is something that we often take for granted. But, if you’ve ever experienced a frustrating website that is impossible to navigate or a difficult return experience, you’ll know just how important it is.
Why are UX designers in such high demand?
Since 2020, our worlds have changed completely. Remote work is now the norm, online shopping is bigger than ever, and social distancing has become a key issue. As a result, many companies had to find new ways to bring value to their customers. For many, this included investing in strong UX.
Good design helped companies go digital, maintain customers, and win important contracts. UX quickly became something that brands could no longer ignore and this was reflected in the jobs market.
In the Onward Search Top 20 for 2020 list, UX designers came in as the second most in-demand creative professionals. Product designers topped the list, a profession very closely linked to UX.
What skills do I need to get hired as a UX designer?
UX is a varied field and no one can be a jack of all trades when it comes to user experience. However, there are a few key skills that employers will be looking for.
Wireframing and prototyping
A huge part of the product development process is envisioning what a product will look like. Depending on the stage of development, you might do this by creating wireframes, low or high-fidelity prototypes, mockups, or user flows.
If you want to be a UX designer, you need to be up to speed on lots of different design software like Figma, Sketch, Photoshop, and Illustrator. As well as tools, you’ll need knowledge of best practices such as color theory, layout, and general design theory.
Once a UX designer creates a user experience, they don’t just sit back and relax. They are constantly observing the way people interact with their designs, what they like and dislike to make modifications and improvements as they go.
In a nutshell, information architecture refers to effectively organizing and structuring content. UX designers can contribute to this by making it easy for users to understand where they are, where they need to go, and what’s next.
A huge part of UX is being able to put yourself in the users’ shoes and understand their problems and issues. In order to do this effectively, UX designers need to have a lot of soft skills such as empathy as well as strong communication within their teams.
How can I stand out on job applications?
Although UX designers are in high demand, getting your first job in UX design can be difficult, especially if you don’t have a lot of experience. Here’s a few things that you can do to boost your chances.
Find your niche
UX design is a broad discipline that includes people who create the actual design, people who focus on research, people who write UX content and people who conduct product testing. Find the niche that you enjoy most.
Don’t have experience in UX design yet? Not to worry. As a relatively new field, there are very few people who go to uni to study UX design. Most come from different design disciplines and backgrounds — including graphic design, product development, and even psychology — and cover their knowledge gaps with the plethora of online classes and bootcamps that have sprung up in the past few years.
Create a portfolio
An impressive portfolio is a must-have if you want to make it as a UX designer. Most clients and companies will use it to assess your design process and problem-solving skills. Make sure your portfolio is online, if you don’t want to buy a domain you can use a site like Behance. If you don’t already have experience in the field, some UX design bootcamps will help you create a portfolio based on your study projects.
Establishing a network of contacts is necessary when you’re first starting out in the UX field, since many jobs come through referrals. A great way to do this is by joining meetups and online communities. Go to these events with an open mind and you might just meet your next mentor.
If you’re considering a UX career this year, start your research now and you could bag your dream role in 2022!
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