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What types of projects do UI/UX recruiters look for?

I'm trying to build my UI/UX portfolio and although I don't have access to Adobe products at the moment, I'm trying to use other platforms available to build my portfolio in the mean time. I recently learned how to use Figma but I'm not sure what I can make. My first thought is would a recruiter think anyone can use Figma? The reason why I'm asking is because I think it's pretty user friendly if you come from a tech background (or at least I thought it was since I learned how to use it in a day). My question is: Is Figma too basic meaning, should I go for a more complex software?What kinds of projects could I make from Figma that would stand out to someone recruiting for UI/UX jobs?

So far I'm working on building out the mobile UI for an app I wanted to make but other than that I'm not sure else I can make to catch a recruiters attention. As someone who majored in Comp Sci/IST and not a design/art major, I want to show that even though I may not majored in what may be required I'm still eager to learn more about the UI/UX field.

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Dexter’s Answer

Hi Sam,

I've hired UI/UX designers before and at least from my perspective, Figma is a great resource to show off your design skills.

Our team does use Adobe products, so knowledge of them is a nice-to-have, but when I hire designers, what I am looking for is if their design skills are up-to-snuff, and if their design aesthetics is similar to the team's. This means that I don't really care what products they are expert with, as it's my belief that most people can learn how to use tools. So if you become an expert Figma user, that's great! It means that you can learn the Adobe products in the future, and it also means that I get to hire a Figma expert that can help others on the team with Figma. :)

As Ashley stated, it really would help for you to learn front-end web development. For me, thing I'd look for is CSS, Javascript, HTML. If you get really good with those, then you can try to get really familiar with Angular or React or some other popular framework. This way, you become a uber flexible designer that can also get hired by small teams that require a designer as well as a front-end dev.

Anyways, I wish you the best of luck!

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Dexter
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Ashley’s Answer

Hi there! My team actually just hired a UX engineer. I wasn't very involved in the hiring process, but the other devs and I were involved in picking criteria. We were looking for someone with expertise. Anyone can just make a best guess based on modern websites. A UX engineer should have some sort of specialized knowledge. As Michael stated, this doesn't mean you need a 4 year degree in web design or human psychology. Do some research, reach out to UX engineers on here and ask them if you can job shadow, anything that you can put on a resume that says "this person knows better than a backend developer".

Another thing was ability to code. It wasn't a must, but it was a big plus that informed our decision. As a UX engineer, the best languages for you to learn are JavaScript/TypeScript, Angular (including the Angular Material library), and HTML (just the basics). Being able to contribute at least some to actually enacting the design that the rest of the team may not understand will go a long way.

Last but not least, don't be afraid to apply even if you don't have all the requirements. If you don't have the experience or the degree, apply anyway. Hope this helps!
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