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What are the steps needed to be a UX designer?

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From your experience and journey to a UX designer, what online resources & bootcamps you have used to get where you are right now?

Which bootcamps or online learning platforms you would recommend for a person w/o much prior knowledge in coding and programming language?

Thank you! #technology #computer #computer-science #design #computer-software #ux #industryprofessionals #userexperience #jobs #career #coaching #mentoring # #programming #uxdesign

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Todd’s Answer

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Hi Cindy -

Everyone's journey is a bit different. There is no 'silver bullet' per se to get into UX and depending on who you ask, you may get a lot of answers as to what UX even entails.

Speaking from experience, it took me a while to get here. I started as an art/mass communications major in the early days of the internet. I took some BASIC HTML courses but that was about the extent of my coding knowledge. To this day, I would not consider myself a 'coder' at all. The helpful thing is to know enough of the basics to develop an understanding with the developers you'll inevitably work with. Let them do the work but it can help if you know what their limitations are (be it technology, timing, scope, etc.)

As far as my journey, I started out an animator using Flash (showing my age here!). Over time, Flash was being phased out and I found myself doing more web-design work. That is where I stumbled upon UX. I was fortunate that my employer at the time offered to pay for me to take course through "General Assembly" after work hours. It was extremely helpful in breaking down the UX processes you'll need. As others have said, Im sure you could cobble together a lot of info by searching various resources throughout the interwebs, but I felt a structured setting with deliverables and due dates helped me. I feel a classroom setting was a much better experience than a conference, but that's just me.

Quite a few people I work with today came out of General Assembly and they've all been great to work with, so there's that too. (I promise I don't work for them. Know this is sounding like a commercial!)

Todd recommends the following next steps:

  • - Look for an online boot camp (like General Assembly)
  • - Follow some folks in the UX space on Twitter (Jared Spool, Paul Boag)
  • - Check articles on Medium, Smashing Magazine
  • - Try to find some online resources to learn some BASIC coding, but don't get too hung up on becoming a master programmer.
  • - Network as much as possible! You'd be amazed at what opportunities those connections can turn into.
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Alwyn’s Answer

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Cindy, there are many flavors of UX; some UXers code while other do not. You do not need coding to be an active and contributing UX designer working on a team developing products and services. Experience is best learned by doing. Aside from taking course of online in human factors, I’d stay away from schools that offer to make you a fully competent UX designer (no prior experience required) in some short months. Read everything online at places like Medium and Smashing Magazine; connect with an experienced UX designer as a mentor; network with UXers through LinkedIn and Twitter; attend local, national and international conferences (if you can afford the latter). Remember that UX requires becoming the end user, having empathy for their pain points, providing them solutions that solve problems and that simplicity of interface, flow and user journeys is best and that ultimately requires insight through interviews research and data. Not dinging UXers that program, more power to them, they are gifted but concentrating on all the things i’ve listed while also keeping current on tools for wireframing, prototyping and gathering user specific data is a full time job. Be a master of one craft not two even if they are the progression in product development that duality may dilute your expertise. This has been my walk so I’m speaking from personal experience. Work at it hard and good luck!

Thank you for your detailed reply! I appreciate your insightful comment and sharing your personal journey in UX! C L. Translate
You are very welcome Cindy. Wish you the best of luck. Do connect professionally through LinkedIn as help is always an ask away! Alwyn Velásquez Translate
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Faz’s Answer

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If you're leaning towards being a designer with code skills, there are certainly online classes to get you there. But coding is not a required skill in every UX design role. It certainly can make your collaboration much more effective with developers.

Obviously online learning is a great option, few recommendations:
http://dschool.stanford.edu/dgift/
http://uxmastery.com/ux-training/
https://generalassemb.ly/education?where=online
http://teamtreehouse.com/library/topic:learn-design
http://www.lynda.com/search?q=ux
https://www.udemy.com/courses/search/?ref=home&q=ux

Overall, try to get fully immersed without overloading yourself. Maybe a good routine of reading and trying things out. Podcasts and blogs are a great way to get a regular dose of this stuff on a weekly basis, this one is great and very frequently updated: http://blog.invisionapp.com/
Probably a good place to start are free sources and level up to paid ones if you feel the need or as you narrow your interest area. Sites like http://uxmastery.com/how-to-get-started-in-ux-design/ are great intro into the field. Or summary posts like : http://whitneyhess.com/blog/2009/06/30/so-you-wanna-be-a-user-experience-designer-step-1-resources/

There are too many sources of content to list (such as http://alistapart.com/), but you need to just start somewhere and expand from there. I would suggest also following a few well established practitioners and see what they're talking about. It's a great way to follow the trends and understand where the market is going. Here is my list from twitter: https://twitter.com/i/lists/47235705

Don’t forget online communities and there is probably a robust meetup community near you. This is great for both networking and it can even allow you to get some actual work exposure. At least some practice time along with others around real world problems.

Good Luck.


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Federico’s Answer

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Sketch and InVision are two important tools in the UX space, but I recommend taking a look at Adobe XD that is pretty interesting. It's free and has a cool tutorial to get you started.


As Alwyn said above, don't forget that UX has a huge component of strategy: competitive analysis, ethnographic studies, usability & concept testing are some example of a typical, structured "discovery" phase that just a few UX designers can do. And if you don't like coding, this could be an interesting angle for you.

UX Strategy can extend to the definition of personas, journey maps. gap analysis, value props, user stories, briefs and functional requirements. If you're not sure how all these things come into play check this article I wrote and please let me know if it's helpful or if you have additional questions.

Federico recommends the following next steps:

  • Learn how to use Adobe XD
  • Explore and understand the strategic side of UX
Thank you so much for sharing these info! I will definitely check them out! C L. Translate
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Lyndsey’s Answer

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I have hired a number of UX designers and am actually married to one as well. I have had success sourcing talent from General Assembly and heard their students recommend their program as well. As a hiring manager I am confident that GA students know enough to get started. After that I recommend getting involved in as many projects as you can - paid and unpaid. Just to get the experience.

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Archana’s Answer

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Hi Cindy,

What is beautiful about the user experience design industry is that there is no traditional path to become a UX/UI/Service designer. I work with 70+ user experience designers on my team and no two people have an identical path to where they are today in their career.

Personally, I started with business and communications undergrad college degrees (I had no idea UX even existed!). From there I went to work in product management/ merchandising for an e-commerce company. Then I transitioned into UX with the help bootcamps, online workshops, and freelance projects.

Since then I have been a UX Designer, Product Designer, UX Researcher and now I am a Design Strategist focusing mostly on research and service design. As you can see there are many roles / job titles in the space of UX and they are constantly changing as the industry grows!

There are so many different options available to people looking to transition into UX right now and which path you take depends on what areas of the user experience/ service design world you are interested in and the resources available to you.

Here are some things that you can start exploring:

- Medium articles are a great source for all things user experience. I've learned a lot of new techniques and methodologies just from reading articles on Medium. Find and follow accounts that interest you!

- Nielsen Norman Group - https://www.nngroup.com/about/ : Tons of great articles, methodologies available here. They also conduct conferences, workshops, and trainings.

- Meetups : Look for UX and tech meetups in your area. It's a great way to network and learn about new topics and trends. (there are also a lot more virtual meetups available now due to coronavirus)

- UX Workshops: Look for mini workshops or a small series of classes. Great way to get your feet wet and learn about a specific part of UX that you want to get deeper on and sometimes they are even free! e.g. Skillshare and Udemy

- Bootcamps: There are a lot of options out there now for you to choose from. Do your research as you compare and contrast the different bootcamps available to you and try to talk to past students about their experience with the bootcamp! I highly suggest a full-time bootcamp if you are looking to make a career move with no past experience for the best chance at success.

- College undergrad / post grad programs: This is the more traditional path, and it's definitely not needed to succeed in UX but it can offer a lot of resources. There are now undergrad and post- grad degrees that focus on user experience design, design management, and/or service design. If this interests you, definitely do your research as you compare programs. I would also start by testing out some of the free/ less expensive options mentioned above!

Whatever path you end up choosing, remember to always be curious and keep learning because UX is always evolving!
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Lori’s Answer

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Hi Cindy: As others have mentioned, there are a lot of ways to be a UX designer. You may be more interested in visual design, you may want to code your own interfaces, or you may have more an aptitude for research and enjoy watching people use software so you can learn what they do and how their work could be easier. If you're not sure yet, I recommend reading a lot of articles about UX designer to get a sense for all the flavors. Early in my career, I learned about a company called User Interface Engineering (www.uie.com) that published articles, wrote books, and taught courses that helped people learn about UX design. Their work taught me a lot, and I was so inspired, I went to work there for a few years. I still refer to their work a lot, and suggest that you read through some of their articles to see what you can learn. Good luck! UX is a great career with tons of opportunities.

Lori recommends the following next steps:

  • Read some articles at https://articles.uie.com/all/
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