Even before COVID-19, user experience (UX) design was a rewarding career option in India. With COVID causing all of us to stay indoors and perform all activities online, the need for digital products has grown exponentially. So, even those companies that did not see the need to digitise their products have jumped on the bandwagon now. This will open up a large number of UX design jobs that you can grab instantly and grow rapidly. However, this doesn’t automatically mean that it will be easy to get a job. Employers will be looking to hire the best talent at the best price. To stand a chance and confidently negotiate a salary, you need a strategy. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the foundation you need for applying to UX design jobs, as well as the tactics you can follow for success.
UX Design Jobs: Setting up the Basics Right
Before we get into the nitty-gritties of getting a job, let’s ensure you have strong basics.
1. Get the skills
This need not be a formal education. You can be self-taught as well. But learn about UX design, observational empathy, creating user stories, research methods, wireframing prototyping and design. Also, gain hands-on experience with some aspects of it. For instance, it’s not much use if you just know about animations and interaction design, you also need to have done it before.
2. Build a portfolio
UX design is a practical field. Here, real-life projects and hands-on experience hold more value than a degree. Build a UX design portfolio to demonstrate your practical experience, end-to-end — from problem statements and personas to prototypes and testing.
3. Write a CV
Make sure it presents you in the best light, and shows how you are suitable for the role you are applying to. Customise it for each role.
4. Boost your social profiles
Update your LinkedIn, Behance profiles etc. to present the latest and best version of you. Include client names and testimonials, if you have any freelance experience.
Identifying the Right UX Design Jobs
The job of a UX designer is not singular. Based on the organisation, team size, industry, location etc. you might be performing vastly different tasks. For instance, in a large product organisation, there may be specialist UX researchers in the team, which means your entire day goes in performing user experience research with customers, competitors, prospects etc.
In a smaller set up, you might be doing research, creating wireframes and prototypes for the product, as well as conducting usability tests. In some organisations, user interface designers also work on UX teams collaborating closely for the visual design of the UI.
Before applying for UX design jobs:
- Understand your skill set. Identify what skills you have and what roles that fit the most.
- Understand the market. Based on your location, current needs etc. one job role might have more opportunities than the other.
- Understand the career growth. Learn about how you can progress in your career if you choose a specialist role like UX researcher vs. a generalist role like UX designer.
Once you have enough information to give you a strong foundation, let’s look at actually finding and applying to jobs.
What to do to get UX Design Jobs?
Getting UX design jobs is not a destination with only one path. There are various ways in which you can get these jobs, which is what we’ll explore today.
#1 Search online
After understanding what kind of UX design jobs you’re looking for — in research, design, development etc. — scour the Internet for vacancies. Start with job sites like Monster or Naukri. Explore LinkedIn Jobs as well. Search using a combination of keywords and filters until you find the one that’s right for you.
Also look at specific organisations that you are interested in. This could be UX design studios or product companies. Make a list of the top organisations in your location and area of interest, and visit their website to look for job openings.
#2 Join the community
Most often, companies don’t advertise their vacancies and hire within networks. This means that you might never hear of certain vacancies unless you are a part of these communities. Actively join them. There are LinkedIn, Facebook and Whatsapp groups of UX designers — join these. There are many experts and thought leaders on LinkedIn and Instagram as well. Follow and interact with them.
Some of these might be exclusive, but once you join 1-2 groups and interact regularly, you will be able to find contacts who can introduce you to the other exclusive groups.
#3 Reach out to your network
Whether you’re a fresher or have some experience, we all have networks, irrespective of the size of it. Reach out to them actively. It doesn’t matter if they are a friend, professor, relative or online acquaintance. Send them your resume and portfolio and request them to refer you to any vacancies they might know of. You can also post on social media about your job search if you don’t mind talking about it publicly.
#4 Go to industry events
After COVID, you now have access to events involving some of the best minds in the industry at your fingertips. Leverage that. Look for events — webinars, online training, workshops etc. — happening in UX design and attend them regularly. You will not only increase your network but also your visibility, which can turn into a job offer.
When in-person events resume, continue to go. It helps to engage with the community.
#5 Pitch your own job
UX design is one of the most suited careers for freelancers. There are various ways in which UX designers freelance. You can work with technology businesses, who are very good at architecture and backend development, needing a hand in front-end and UX design. You can help them build better user experience for their products.
You can collaborate with web development companies, building websites and other web products. You can handle design, while they handle development, and you can deliver the client project together.
You can create products and sell them on marketplaces. You can independently build themes for websites, mobile apps, visual graphics etc. and sell them on online marketplaces. Every time someone downloads your product, you will earn money.
You can offer external UX audit and consulting. Many UX teams look for external consultants to look at their products with fresh eyes. You can build your own customised UX design process or framework for UX audit and offer suggestions for improvement.
The only sure shot way to get UX design jobs is to keep your eyes open for opportunities and be ready to grab them. In 2020 and beyond, there will surely be opportunities for UX professionals. What you make of it is entirely in your hands. If you’d like to get job-focussed training in UI/UX before looking for jobs, consider Springboard’s UI/UX career track programs. It offers a job guarantee — but it also enables you to work closely with a mentor, who will help and guide you to a successful UX design career.