As the tech sector continues to top employment charts with the highest number of job openings, you may be wondering how you can land one for yourself. Many people leverage web development and data science skills to transition into a tech career. But in this high-demand, highly competitive field, user experience (UX) design know-how can be a powerful asset, too. In the past five years alone, jobs requiring UX skills increased by 15% with an average advertised salary of $99,177, according to a report by GA and Burning Glass Technologies. The UX industry is exploding.
Wondering how top pros enter the field and navigate the UX universe? Here’s what Damian Norton, a Sydney-based UX/UI designer at Qantas, had to say:
How did you get started in UX design?
Working in agencies, I was designing and coding heaps of websites, doing “expert design” without really considering the user’s perspective. When I was asked to design my first mobile app, I stepped back and thought about what was required for a functional and enjoyable experience in what was then a relatively new space. I started researching and discovered a lot of articles and information on user-centered design principles and psychology, which I started to apply in my design process, gradually adding more and more user input and feedback to inform design decisions. Ten years later, I’ve tried many different techniques (and sometimes failed), and I’m still experimenting and adapting the process for each and every project, using user input and research as the foundation of a successful design.
What advice would you give to aspiring UX designers?
Read everything you can get your hands on. Then, read some more — education never ends.
Try out the techniques of UX, but, more importantly, understand the principles of research and user-centered design so you can pick up and put down techniques. Get involved with the design community. Follow UX designers on Twitter. Go to meet-ups (e.g., IXDA and UX Australia, UX book clubs, etc.). Build your own product outside of work; a side project that will push you to learn things that may not be applicable in your current work environment. Get some technical skills, maybe even learn to code — it will help when working in a tech environment. Don’t be afraid to try and fail: In the user experience design industry, experience is golden.
What inspires you to achieve awesome UX?
People. People have problems — problems that you can help solve, making their lives better, even if it is in the smallest of ways. In solving their problems, why not try and add a little delight as well? This is awesome.
What makes UX a great career path?
User experience design is increasingly becoming a driving factor for successful businesses. Enterprises and startups alike recognize the benefits of design activity, and, accordingly, designers of all stripes are in great demand — particularly in Australia, where there is a shortage of experienced and talented design professionals. UX designers can make a real difference to users and businesses.
Want to start your own path as a UX designer? Check out GA’s part- and full-time UX design courses and introductory workshops. Take a class online, or visit us at any of GA’s locations around the globe.