Considering a career as UX/UI designer? Ask these questions first.
min video //
min read //
June 15, 2021
UX/UI designers are increasingly popular. Analyzing LinkedIn’s 2020 trends show that UX Design was one of the top five skills wanted by employers and a still unpublished employer survey conducted by Re:Coded show that 70% of employers in the Turkish tech industry are looking to recruit junior designers in the coming year.
So, the demand for designers is there - the question is whether you want to be the supply? Re:Coded introduced our first UX/UI Design Bootcamp in Iraq in 2020, and we looked at some of the questions we received from our community in the application process.
What is a UX/UI Designer?
If you don’t fully know what a UX/UI designer does, then let’s get the basics down first. UX design means ‘user experience design’ which basically focuses on anything related to the user journey - how is their experience on your website when they look for the answer to whatever problem you’re helping them to solve.
UI design is the ‘user interface design’ and it’s the look and feel of it all. How smooth and delightful are you designing your solution or product?
Although these are separate things, you will often see them combined into one role because you are designing to enhance a user’s journey effectively and aesthetically.
Basically, your job is to make apps, websites, or products simple and compelling. It can basically make or break the success of a company if you’re in a highly competitive market.
Why should I become a UX/UI Designer?
You can look at the rising job offerings and general salary level in the digital economy, but perhaps you’re motivated by something entirely different. UX/UI design gives you a chance to be creative, find meaningful work and have an impact.
All of these are traits necessary to become a designer, whether you become a designer for a company, a charity, or go independent. You can see the effects of your design through view counts, user loyalty, and even revenue increases. The design world welcomes freelancers, artists, and all other types of creators, so what’s stopping you from being one?
We asked our UX/UI trainer Siddhartha Phillips why he was drawn into a career as designer.
"Transitioning to being a UX/UI designer really opened up a world of possibilities, I realized the power I held as a designer. You have the power to make the imaginary tangible. Not a lot of people can do that."
When you combine that with empathy and awareness to make people’s lives better, it’s like a superpower.
How creative do you have to be to become a UX/UI designer?
Becoming a designer isn’t about difficulty, it’s about dedication. You might think of designers as someone who possesses a gift of creativity, but even designers themselves say this isn’t true and there is much more to it than just visual aesthetics.
Sure, it’s not a bad thing to have a sense of design, but design can be taught and it’s often an iterative process built on intensive research so those skills can be your strength as well. Apart from the visual and technical aspects of design, designers also need to have attention to detail, communication skills, and time management - all things that you must master no matter what career field you’re in.
In the end, though, it’s mostly about motivation, according to designer and Re:Coded UX/UI Trainer, Sid Phillips:
Think about why you got into design. Are you designing things just because it looks cool? Are you designing because it’s something you’re good at?
Do I need design experience to get started?
The transition from artist to UX/UI designer is a road that many have taken. There have been people from art galleries, graphic designers, marketing professionals and the administrative field who have become UX/UI designers with little to lots of experience in design.
In fact, the google search “UX/UI design career change” leads to over nine million results, showing that this is something that many people are thinking of and something that many people are also doing. UX/UI design is a practical career where you learn through hands-on experience, so if you don’t have experience now, any time is a good time to start learning.
Are there jobs out there for UX/UI designers?
Digital industries are booming worldwide. A report by InVision showed that 80% of the companies they interviewed worldwide had design teams working on their projects in industries like banking, entertainment, and retail.
Alongside this, the Middle East and North Africa region will invest $40 billion into digital transformation by 2022. In the United States, we see that the job outlook for UX/UI designers is increasing while demand for graphic designers is decreasing, which means that UX/UI design skills are necessary for the future.
You can even see this for yourself if you look at UX design on LinkedIn, which shows over 31,000 job postings.
What kind UX/UI designers are companies looking for?
Whatever sets you apart, just know that diversity is an asset and it’s sorely lacking in tech. This is a problem that the UX/UI design world faces as well. Unfortunately, there is a gap with the type of people who hold tech positions and the type of people who use them. 83% of tech executives are white while one of the biggest tech giants, Google, has staff that is 60% white, 31% asian, and 9% percent for all other ethnicities.
If tech and design is meant to solve people’s problems, we have to have people of all backgrounds in the industry to make it easier for everyone, not just people currently in it - which is why the tech industry needs you.
Can I work remotely as a UX/UI designer?
One of the best parts of being a UX/UI designer is that you can both pursue a career in a company or as a freelancer. While companies have been increasing their design teams in-house, there is plenty of freelance work available. Positions can be found on freelance websites like Upwork or traditional job sites like LinkedIn.
Opportunities present themselves
Says Sid, a previous freelancing designer. "You have to know what you want to do and be willing to put yourself out there."
Where do I start learning?
There are plenty of resources out there and it’s a good place to start with this introduction to Design Thinking at IDEO. But since you’re here anyway, you might as well go check if we have any open UX/UI Design Bootcamps open that will prepare you for a career as a designer.
Our design bootcamps are 18-weeks long and free of charge as all our programs are funded by donors who support our mission to give talent living in untapped communities the opportunity to access the digital economy.