UX (user experience) is all the rage in the tech/design industries, and for good reason. The demand for UX designers is high at startups and large corporations alike, as they realize that a key to being competitive is focusing focusing on usability and human behavior for their products. While some UX designers attended design-specific schools, my path into UX has been less traditional.
Four years ago, when I started college, I had never heard of UX design, nor did I have any real experience with design in general. I knew I wanted to get into the tech industry, but all I had in mind was software engineering. I started off as a math major/computer science minor, but when I realized how much I despised multivariable calculus, I decided it was time for a change. I took my first cognitive science class my sophomore year and fell in love. I was infatuated with the idea of applying psychology, computer science, neuroscience, philosophy, and linguistics to the study of the brain. With my cognitive psychology class, I developed a deep interest in the intricacies of human behavior.
Or am I?
It turns out that breaking into the UX world is more complicated than I had previously expected. What is the experience (the UX) of becoming a UX designer like? The job application process for a graduating college student is much different than that of the college application process for a high school senior. I found out that I had to make a portfolio for my job applications! Given the impending deadlines for applying, I had to find a way to make a good-looking portfolio in a short amount of time (shoutout to content management systems!). While I’ve been a fan of WordPress for years, I discovered the wonders of Weebly and stuck with it.
So what else did I need besides a portfolio? Resume? Check. Cover letters? Check. Networking events? Check (Occidental Career Center and Facebook events are great). Besides learning online and in class, I found UX workshops to attend at General Assembly, which I highly recommend.
So far, I’ve had two interviews and I’m excited for more possible opportunities. In the winding journey that is a career, the UX of becoming a UX designer is complicated but rewarding.