How to Become
a UI/UX Designer
Education Pathways, Skills, and Certifications
If you’re interested in what goes into making functional and attractive apps and websites, becoming a UI/UX designer might be your calling.
With the increase in e-commerce in the past year, UI/UX design professionals are more sought after than ever. Without aesthetically pleasing and intuitive websites and apps, companies won’t be able to keep up with increased competition in the digital era.
In this guide, we’ll show you how to become a UI/UX designer, the duties you will be expected to complete, and the salary and job outlook for this profession.
What Is a UI/UX Designer?
A UI/UX designer is someone who has a combination of skills in web development, web design, and user psychology.
UX, which stands for user experience, starts with studying the behavior of a user in relation to a technology product. UX designers then create products based on what they discover is meaningful and enjoyable for a user.
On the other hand, user interface (UI) design involves what you see and interact with on the interface of a product. Learning UI design is all about developing the skills needed to create interfaces that are easy to use and understand. The main goal of both of these jobs is to provide a seamless experience for the user.
What Does a UI/UX Designer Do?
UI/UX designers work alongside web developers to complete a variety of tasks. They are responsible for designing apps and websites. They must also perform tests to make sure their final product meets users’ expectations.
Below are some of the most important responsibilities of a UI/UX designer.
Conducts User Research
The first job of a UX designer is to investigate users’ interests, goals, and needs. They perform this research through interviews and online surveys. The results will then be analyzed to create an insightful design strategy.
Organizes Content Within the Platform
Information architecture is crucial when it comes to UI/UX design. The users must be able to find the information they need from a website or app without putting in too much effort. Some websites use intuitive sitemaps, and others have chatbots that help guide users through the platform.
Prototyping is an important part of UI/UX design. It involves developing a first draft of a product, then allowing users to test it out and provide feedback. Designers can also utilize special prototyping tools to record users’ interactions with a platform to review later.
Determines Target Users
Once the designer has learned about the users’ needs, they must identify a target user. UX designers will then create a digital product targeting the behavior of a specific demographic of users.
Creates Wireframes and User Flows
A user flow can be described as the shopping process of a website. For example, if the customer’s task is to buy a particular product, the UI/UX designer must create a platform that guides them through this process using images and buttons. Creating a flow that is easy for the typical user to follow is the responsibility of a UI designer.
Conducts Performance Tests
UI/UX designers conduct tests to evaluate how a website or app is performing after it has been released to the public. This can be done by directly asking users questions about the product, or by waiting for users to provide feedback about their experiences.
UI/UX Education Pathways
A UI/UX designer can take many paths to start their career. Most companies will require that their UI/UX designers have at least a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. However, it is also possible to start a career after simply attending a coding bootcamp.
Since they need to be proficient in programming languages and have web and app development skills, most UI/UX designers have a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or a related field. Some even have a master’s degree.
UI/UX Designer Bootcamps
Today, bootcamps are becoming a more popular way to get certified in web design thanks to flexible schedules and affordable programs. If you’d like to get your UI/UX education quickly, there are many high-quality web design bootcamps to choose from.
Luckily, the number of companies that now accept bootcamp graduates into entry-level positions is on the rise due to the quality of education provided by many of these training centers.
Among the schools with programs in web design that you might want to check out are Springboard and Ironhack.
UI/UX Designer Courses
The best way to get started in your UI/UX design career is to learn the basics. There are thousands of UI/UX courses available online, and many of them are offered for free by massive open online course (MOOC) providers.
Although a MOOC certificate isn’t as well respected as a bachelor’s degree or a professional certification, it will still look good on your resume.
How to Become a UI/UX Designer: A Step-by-Step Guide
To become a UI/UX designer, you must first study and get some work experience. Practicing your craft is essential if you want to make it in UI/UX design. Get started by following the steps below.
Learn UI/UX design fundamentals
The first step to becoming a UI/UX designer is to get some training. You can either join a web design bootcamp or obtain a bachelor’s degree in a computer science-related field.
Learn from other designers
This is a great way to get inspiration and improve your technical skills. Check out other designers’ projects and see what makes them stand out. You might even find a mentor who can guide you as you continue to learn.
Develop your own projects
Once you’ve received some training, you should start creating on your own. Develop a few websites on your own before you begin searching for a job. That way, you’ll have a portfolio of work to show prospective employers.
Create your technical resume
A technical resume should showcase your expertise in a particular subject. You can start putting this together as soon as you’ve finished your UI/UX design studies.
Begin the job search
At this point, you’re ready to start job hunting. An important part of this process is to constantly be networking with others members of the IT community, either online or in person. Making connections will open doors for your career.
Top UI/UX Designer Skills
As a UI/UX designer, you must have certain technical competencies. You should also have soft skills such as logical thinking and communication, since you’ll be working closely with others in your new job.
One of the most crucial skills a UI/UX designer should have is usability testing and research. You must be able to perform qualitative and quantitative research to evaluate a web or app product.
Visual design is the aesthetic of a website or app. You must be able to create a visually pleasing interface.
UI/UX Designer Salary and Job Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for digital interface designers and web developers is $85,490. However, Glassdoor estimates that the average UI/UX designer makes about $92,500 per year.
In 2020, LinkedIn listed UI/UX designers as one of the most in-demand professions of the year.
Entry-Level UI/UX Designer Job Requirements
Most entry-level UI/UX design jobs don’t require that you have any work experience. However, they will give preference to candidates that have a degree or bootcamp training.
How to Prepare for Your UI/UX Design Job Interview
To prepare for a UI/UX design interview, you should go back to the basics, reviewing everything you’ve learned to date. It is also necessary to research the company you’re interviewing with, and the types of projects they usually work on. This way, you’ll be able to propose some of your own ideas during the interview.
Don’t forget to finalize your technical resume. Make sure it is polished and thorough, including all of your past UI/UX design projects.
UI/UX Designer Job Interview Practice Questions
- What UI/UX design project are you most proud of, and what strategies did you use to create it?
- What UI/UX design tools do you use the most?
- What are your preferred design methods and processes?
- What challenges have you faced as a designer?
- What is your goal in this particular role?
UI/UX Designer Certifications
Unlike some other tech professions, you don’t have to be certified to start working as a UI/UX designer. However, a certificate from a bootcamp course may help you secure a job if you don’t yet have any work experience. Below are a couple of the coding bootcamps that provide students with certificates.
Springboard - UI/UX Design Career Track
Springboard’s UI/UX design course will give you all the tools you need to become a UI/UX designer. You will learn user psychology basics and visual design. This course is self-paced and takes around six months to complete. At the end, you will receive a certificate stating that you have the skills required to start working as a web designer.
General Assembly - UX Design Immersive
General Assembly issues a certificate to students who complete its UX design immersive program. In this full-time course, you will learn prototyping, user research, and service design.
How Long Does It Take to Become a UI/UX Designer?
This will depend on the career path you decide to take. Many UI/UX designers choose to go to university and obtain a bachelor’s degree, which takes four years. Others attend a coding bootcamp, which should take about six months to a year.
Remember that you may also need to gain some experience in design before you can get a job. Consider adding another year to this time frame to account for practice and internships.
Why You Should Become a UI/UX Designer in 2021
If you’re passionate about design, psychology, and web development, you should become a UI/UX designer. Professionals in this position should have communication skills, an eye for design, and programming skills.
Another good reason to become a UI/UX designer is that it’s a well-paid profession that will provide job stability down the line. Many companies are looking to hire talented UI/UX professionals, and this trend is not expected to end any time soon.
UI/UX Designer FAQ
UI/UX designers work with many different programs. Some of the most commonly used are MockFlow, Balsamiq, Sketch, and InVision.
Although graphic designers and UI/UX designers sometimes work together, they have very different roles. Graphic designers create logos, images, and infographics, while UI/UX designers build projects based on how users interact with the interface of a particular web page or app.
UI/UX design will most likely be a challenge if you are transitioning from a non-technical career. Besides design skills, it also requires a lot of concentration and logical thinking. However, once you have become proficient in the technical aspects, designing will become much easier.
UI/UX design is a creative job. Although it may seem quite technical, you must have a creative flair to truly be successful in this role. You should also be creative when it comes to solving problems, as you will have to find solutions for programming issues.