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Career-Building Advice for UX Designers

No two designers are the same. Each of you out there are unique personalities, with different career aspirations and aptitudes. With demand for good design exploding across businesses, the design sphere is splitting dramatically into various specializations and super specializations. Even as some are gaining expertise in various functions of design, some are telescoping their proficiency into niche areas.

The question uppermost in every designer’s mind is whether to become a full stack designer or choose a narrow specialization. Here are strong pointers from UX Recruiter and Consultant, Vasudha Chandak to help you.

  • “Design can be overwhelming as it has many verticals”

You must have heard the options many times over: product design, UX design, UI design, marketing design, content design, business design, technology design and so on. So do pay heed Vasudha’s advice: “Take a step back and try to decide what exactly excites you, once you figure out which areas you are good at and which you want to get better at, it makes it so much easier.”

  • “There is no one size-fits-all approach in design”

You should  definitely have an overall understanding of the different verticals and their layers and sublayers, but you should not make the mistake of trying to be a unicorn designer. That may seem contradictory, but when you glance at the UX design verticals alone, you will realise why Vasudha tells you to take a good look before diving deep.

You can see that while a UX designer needs to know a little about each vertical, s/he will probably excel only in one or two verticals.

  •  Design Community has Grown & is Accessible

Look around you. There are so many webinars, design meet-ups and virtual interactions. Grab these opportunities to learn from experts in different domains and industries. Look out for mentors at your own workplace too. Both kinds of mentoring can help to speed the learning process and provide moral support. 

Always seek feedback from mentors. Do not be afraid to ask basic questions like a ux designer job description, how to become a UX designer, UX interview questions, product design vs UX design, how long does it take to become a UI designer and so on. 

You can also learn from books, online resources, case studies shared by other designers. If you wish to be a product designer you can take a second look at all the apps that are around, see how you can improve on them or you can take up a project on the side. Design assignments and challenges posed by hiring organizations are other instruments of learning.

  • ‘Do and Learn’ Should be Your Mantra

“Start doing side projects. There are so many problem statements, something that we encounter daily. Start working on them, get feedback from people, iterate on the solution, look up Google, go through what other designers have done, where they have done better than you…” stresses Vasudha.

An important part of career-planning includes the building of a design portfolio. Make sure your design portfolio is complete, with sketches, wireframes, screenshots, photos of the finished product, and why not? … a picture of the team too. If there are portfolio information sessions held by design schools, participate actively to improve your understanding of what hiring managers look for. 

To be a Specialist or a Generalist in Design
UX Recruiter & Consultant, Vasudha Chandak