UX design is an increasingly popular industry to work in and as it continues to expand globally, so does its need for skilled professionals. Like any new job, you might have some misconceptions about what it takes to establish yourself in that world, but a career in UX design is more accessible than you would think.
When people ask about our courses, we find that the same questions keep on popping up so we have decided to clear up any confusion and answer them here. If you’re in need of a professional overhaul or just fancy upskilling to add to your current role, let’s debunk any myths around a career in UX design so that you can choose the path that’s right for you.
1. Do I need a graduate or postgraduate degree to start a career in UX design?
It is not necessary for people to have a graduate or postgraduate degree to study UX or to become a UX designer.
Degrees that are specific to UX are a rarity as the university sector has been slow to provide them. And employers typically don’t expect candidates to have them. Instead, shorter, skills-focused courses (like the Professional Diploma in UX Design) have become a popular way for aspiring UX professionals to gain an education, a qualification and a pathway into UX.
Employers are increasingly confident that these qualifications can equip students with the skills to immediately enter the UX workforce. It’s a similar scenario in the software development field. Online coding courses and bootcamps are overtaking mainstream universities as the preferred route into the profession.
Having a UX certificate on your CV or resumé will appeal to potential employers as it will prove that you are ahead of mainstream education, an independent learner and proactive in improving your skills.
2. Do I need years of experience to work in UX?
UX is an industry that has shown unprecedented growth in the last ten years, creating a shortage in skilled workers.
Employers are realistic. They don’t expect all their candidates to have multiple years of experience in UX. Instead, they will often hire based on enthusiasm, attitude and transferable skills from previous careers. You can demonstrate your enthusiasm by gaining a qualification in UX (see above) and building a portfolio.
And you should make sure your CV or resumé showcases any skills that are relevant to a career in user experience.
If you worked in the police force, you will have strong interviewing skills. If you worked in customer care, you’ll know what makes consumers tick. If you worked in any office job, you’ll know how to behave and operate in a professional manner.
Any background that shows an understanding of customers’ needs, requires clear communication or critical thinking will be hugely beneficial to a career in UX.
3. Do I need a background in graphic design?
No, a background in graphic design is not necessary. While an understanding of design is beneficial, so much of UX revolves around research and analysis that it is not essential. Unlike most traditional designers, UX designers go out into the world and interact with businesses and customers to learn where products and services can be improved.
However, UX design goes beyond aesthetics and is concerned with problem-solving, research-driven functionality and creating a product that has the most practical user experience.
Jyothis took a UX design course when he realised that as a web and UI designer, he overlooked the users’ needs in his designs.
I previously worked as a web designer in the travel industry for over five years. I think I have a good eye for design and that’s my passion… In a rebrand, one of the designers redesigned the search box. But as soon as it went live, we noticed that there was a drop off rate in searches and revenue. So I wanted to investigate why this happened.
When I started looking into it, I realised that it is a UX designer’s role to solve problems like these. To jump from UI to UX, I knew that I needed a qualification.
4. Do I need to know how to code?
No. While coding is part of the larger tech family, a UX designer does not need to know how to code or have any expertise in software development. UX designers examine customer and product psychology when designing a product. Software developers use those designs to build products.
UX requires a certain understanding of technology and having a background in software development certainly helps. But you don’t need to code to work in UX.
5. Am I too old to become a UX designer?
Definitely not. Most people who come into UX have switched from an existing career so when you enter the job market as a qualified designer, you will be competing with people from an older age demographic than school leavers or graduates. According to research conducted by career experts Zippia, the average age of a UX designer is 37 years old.
In UX, career experience is valuable as it proves that you understand the importance of clear connection between customers and design. In areas of problem solving and research, maturity, self-motivation and personal responsibility are huge assets and they are qualities that people with less professional experience may not have on their side.
After 20 years working in the same company, Jenny initially found the idea of UX daunting but when she upskilled with us, she landed a fulfilling job in UX research.
I felt like I had some UX experience from my previous role but I had no official UX job title. I had been looking at UX jobs online and so much of it was off-putting because it sounded like you needed a million things.
I thought this course would help me get recognised as somebody with a certain level of skill in UX and differentiate me from other people applying for jobs. And it did.
6. Is the job market oversaturated with UX design roles?
You may have noticed that UX roles are becoming more prominent in job listings. Why is that? While user experience has existed for a long time, UX has become mainstream because no matter what business you are in, an online presence is now essential. With that, the demand for an easy online experience has increased, along with the demand for quality UX within businesses big and small.
Currently, there are more UX design roles available than there are qualified professionals and the need for these roles will continue to rise as more businesses and industries – like health, finance and education – move towards the UX way of thinking.
So, in short, the job market is not oversaturated with UX design roles, it’s in the early stages of growth.
7. Will UX design disappear?
As long as new products are made and existing ones are updated, UX design will be around. Like most jobs in tech, the requirements for a UX designer may adapt as the industry itself evolves but good products will always need good UX to thrive.
Companies will always want to find new ways to improve their products so they will always rely on UX designers to solve any problems and be one step ahead of their competitors.
While careers in tech can sometimes appear to be tough to break into, that’s not always the case. With the right attitude and a lot of commitment, getting started in UX is easier than you might think.