The “Entry Level” UX Design Job: An Op-Ed
Let me tell you something, really fast before I really take a deep dive into this. This is not going to be a feel good article. It might have a joke here and there, some funny graphic thrown in for good measure. But for the most part, this is going to be the truth.
The real, hard, scary, mildly unpleasant truth about looking for a job in the creative if not somewhat intimidating professionally world of user experience design.
I’ll break it down into a list. You guys like that right?!
At no point during my bootcamp course work and training did half of these design tools that I’ve seen come up. Literally. I have several in my toolkit for clarification but it seems to me that these job requirements are a bit much.
I worked my ass off for weeks learning how to use Sketch, Axsure, Invision, Figma and now you want me to know seven of them or you won’t even call me for an interview?
Super good to know.
If I am just getting started in this field why in the world would I have previous agency experience? That’s not a thing. Those jobs are clearly marked, reserved and kept for unicorns and the lovely people who having been doing UX since I was in second grade. Maybe that old. Maybe more like preschool. Who's to say.
If I have an impressive background and you admire my work, explain to me why I am not a good fit. You don’t like I’d get along with Kyle and Brent in Programing? You think that my portfolio looks too edgy? I have too many projects? My mission statement feels a like cagey to you? What?!
Just give me something to take, grow and learn from. Because that’s just not enough for me. I can only get better if I know what to work on.
I shouldn’t be scoffed at because I know the kind of work I want to go into and won’t settle. No, I don’t want to work on a huge ux team. Yes, I want to design for social and community good and work in the startup space and or non profit space.
No, I am not willing to forgo that to land a job at a company I have never heard of that builds products and platforms that have no real interest to me.
I didn’t get into ux for the paycheck, I found a passion and a place for myself and my skills within a profession. Sorry not sorry.
Everyone keeps telling me that something amazing will happen, that I’m going to land something good.
That only works if it’s true and let me tell you, it gets real dark real fast when you aren’t even landing interviews. I appreciate the vote of confidence but it’s looking a little, uh, rough.
Networking within companies only works if the people who work there are part of the creative and or design community. I once sent out 35 LinkedIn messages in one day and got one response.
(I’ve only been doing this for five weeks but still. I ran out of semi personal/professional sign offs ten people in.)
As much as I believe in the Bootcamp model, my experiences over the past month and a half have further intensified my imposter syndrome.
Of course there are resources, people to reach out to, volunteer and internship opportunities.
All of those thing are amazing, don’t get me wrong. I knew it was going to be hard because anything really worth it is.
But this week I’ve been wondering about that saying “Everyone has to start somewhere.”
So, my question is this: Where is the new ux designer’s jumping off point. If we can only go up, where is the red, green, or blue starting line?!