I’m not sure what the reason for this might be, when I was working at agencies I saw a lot of junior designers as agencies seemed to welcome talent from all backgrounds regardless of experience. When applying for roles, always have more than your CV, showcase fun ideas or personal projects to show them your potential. In your examples try to show the problem you’re solving with the desired results.
I would recommend going to a design agency when starting out as they offer a wide range of projects to work on which will really give you lots of experience. Design agencies can offer more creative challenges which might be a good fit if that’s what you’re looking for.
If you have a specific preference there are lots of different industry types to choose from e.g. Finance, Logistics, Sports. I’ve worked as a contractor client side at First Direct, Jet2.com and Sky, they all have requirements to work specifically in developing their own products which from a UX point of view may benefit you when building up your exposure to processes and how bigger teams work together.
When I went for my first role the term UX didn’t really exist, it was more web designer at an agency. The difference then was that the expectation of that role encompassed Graphic design, UX, Illustration, Animation and development all wrapped together. User experience was overlooked, and the depth of a website was diluted after the home page. Things have moved on a hell of a lot in recent times and the focus for UX has become an important part for any new online business.
My main core skill was Art, which then moved on to Graphic design, Web design, UI and UX. The point I’m trying to make is find what you love to do most, explore and expand on it – do what you love and the rest will follow.
The good thing about UI is that it’s creative, visual and subjective, but can be meaningless unless it’s trying to help make the user’s life easier and that has to be thought through logically, which is where the UX is needed, one doesn’t sit well without the other. I focussed on design as I loved art and am a visual person. Try to become better at understanding problems and finding ways to help improve products, make the complicated ‘simple’ and enjoy the challenges it may bring.
That is a different career path, so I don’t touch code, UX designers aren’t really expected to.
Being a developer is a slightly different mindset. I’m a visual person so being a developer just isn’t for me, but you do interact with them a lot as a designer on projects.
Here’s a list I’m currently putting together:
I love to use Figma, a very powerful collaborative design tool with features such as Auto layout, variants for components, prototyping with animation and commenting for client feedback. However with Adobe recently acquiring Figma – we’ll see how things pan out in the coming months.
I’ve used Upwork in the past, but I’d get your portfolio up to date and continue to use LinkedIn, sign up with recruitment agencies to start with and build up your experience in that way. Try and make opportunities come to you and post work either on your website, Dribble or Behance.
I use Twitter just to keep an eye on other designers and trends, I like to post on there regularly to keep my social feed active.
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