How to Become a UI/UX Designer: Courses, Training, and Other Resources
Behind every successful product is a designer who created the look and feel of the product. The User eXperience (UX) and User Interface (UI) of a product are incredibly important, as few people want to use a product that’s unattractive or difficult to navigate. Because of this, UI and UX designers have become hot commodities. More and more businesses offer competitive salaries to find a dedicated designer for their software or web app.
In this guide, we are going to cover how to become a UI or UX designer. We’ll give you all the information you need to decide on the path you’ll take to become one. We’ll also share some helpful resources about expected salaries, the responsibilities of a UI/UX designer, and more.
With help from a bootcamp, you could be a UI/UX designer in 12 months.
How to Learn UI/UX Design
There are several ways of becoming a UX or UI designer, but here’s the most common route:
Choose a design career path
Learn about the design process through a UI/UX design bootcamp, self-study, or college
If possible, find a design mentor to guide you in your professional journey
Develop and refine your design skills while building your portfolio
Prepare for and start your job search
As you can see in the list above, there are a few ways to learn the UX design process and the most common design tools.
An increasingly popular way of learning the ins and outs of user experience design is coding bootcamps. Coding bootcamps boast flexible schedules and affordability, particularly when compared with college degrees. In addition, there is a staggering number of high-quality web design bootcamps to choose from.
UI/UX Design College Degrees
Many UI/UX designers have a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science or in a related field. College degrees teach you all the theory to begin the design process, although you may find yourself lacking practical experience once you graduate.
You can master the principles of design on your own by taking courses online and working on personal projects. To learn more about the best UI/UX design courses online, continue reading.
What Is a UX Designer and UI Designer?
UX design is the process of designing how users experience a product. They employ programming, visual design, usability testing, and psychology to craft a product that’s easy to use and navigate. UX designers accomplish this by thinking about the potential challenges customers may face with a product. They will also make changes to a design or feature based on their research to ensure customers can easily understand how to use a product.
UI designers, on the other hand, are responsible for creating the overall graphic design of a product. They will choose the colors of a site, and make sure the font is easy to read for as many people as possible. They will also consider accessibility features for a product, and the overall style each element will use.
UX and UI designers often work hand in hand to create the entire user interface for a product. In smaller teams, these two roles can be filled by the same person.
UI/UX Designer Job Description - What Does a UI/UX Designer Do?
UI/UX designers are responsible for turning an idea into a web design that meets a certain set of specifications. After they complete a design, it is passed onto the development team, who turns the design into a functioning application.
UI/UX designers will ensure that a site is easy to use and navigate. They’ll also work with other members of an organization to come up with designs that meet the specifications associated with a product. For example, a UX designer may work with the customer success department to find out what problems users commonly report, which will help inform new designs.
How much can you earn? (source: Glassdoor)
Companies that Hire Bootcamp Grads
What Is the Difference Between a UI/UX Designer and a Graphic Designer?
Both positions require expertise in graphic design. The main difference between the two is that the graphic designer role is generally limited to non-interactive elements. In other words, they specialize in how something looks, not how it moves, functions, or responds.
On the other hand, the role of UI/UX designers is more wide-ranging. They don't just care about how an element looks but also how it functions and how responsive it is. A UX designer's ultimate goal isn't simply to create something that looks good; it is to enhance the user experience.
Types of UI/UX Designers
There are different types of UI/UX designers. The most common two are UX designers and UI designers. As we have discussed, the UX designer will conduct research and identify problems customers face with a product. They will work with the UI designer, who will make an attractive and functional design for a product or service. However, here are a few other types of designers:
UX researchers focus on understanding how customers use a product or service. The UX researcher may use surveys, interviews, and other methods to identify problems customers encounter with a product and pass on their findings to UX or UI designers.
UI/UX designers perform both user interface and user experience functions. They’ll assist in designing the UI that a user sees and researching how the design should be structured by using UX design techniques.
Product designers work on all aspects of a product, from designing components to creating site maps. These designers will assist UI/UX designers, and work with other teams, such as engineering, to turn designs into a functioning end product.
Top Skills Needed for UI/UX Designers
In order to succeed in a design career, you’ll need to practice what you’ve learned while growing your skills and portfolio. The best way to do this is to find a junior position right out of school, where you can learn and grow as you gain work experience.
If you’re having trouble finding a junior position, here are a few ways to gain valuable work experience and grow your portfolio:
Pro bono work
Let’s also take a look at the skills you should focus on during this time.
Essential Technical Skills for UI/UX Designers
Most design jobs require the following skills to succeed:
Wireframing and Prototyping
Wireframes and prototypes allow designers to communicate and test their ideas. UI/UX designers should be able to create low-fidelity and high-fidelity prototypes to showcase their ideas without creating a full design.
UI/UX designers should be able to conduct user research to find out what customers are looking for in a particular interface. This research may be conducted through surveys, heatmap research, and other techniques.
Every company has a unique brand. The UI/UX designer is in charge of developing a brand that represents the company. This involves designing logos, colors, and more. The UI/UX designer should be able to create effective branding materials, which will later be passed on to the marketing department.
Implementation with Developers
UI/UX designers do not stop after a design has been completed. A UI/UX designer should be able to work with the development team to help them implement a specific design. During this process, designers may be expected to walk their colleagues through their designs, justify their decisions, and ensure the development team has all the information they need to successfully implement a design.
Interactivity and Animation
UI designers should be able to create interactive designs that meet user needs. They should also be able to use animation to make designs more aesthetically pleasing for the user. This is important because a good design can give your product a competitive advantage; the better the design of a website, the more likely the user is to look at it. As a result, designers need to be capable of creating an intuitive design.
Essential Soft Skills for UI/UX Designers
Technical skills are not the only assets you will need to succeed as a UI/UX designer. You’ll also need to have a set of “soft” skills to be a great designer, including:
One of the most important skills UI/UX designers need is the ability to break problems down into smaller components. UI designers will often have to create a design from scratch, which will involve a lot of problem-solving. UX designers, on the other hand, need to be able to analyze user problems and come up with ways to solve them.
Empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and understand how they are feeling. As a designer, you need to be able to empathize with your target customer and learn what they need. This will allow you to develop designs that meet the exact needs of users and solve any problems they experience.
Designers need to keep up with the latest trends. As a UI/UX designer, you’ll need to stay on top of design trends and figure out how those trends can be added to your designs. You may also have to adapt to new requirements if a strategic product decision is made.
Essential UI/UX Designer Tools
Just a few years ago, designers had to make do with a very small number of software programs, with Adobe Photoshop being the most popular one by far. Fortunately, designers now have an arsenal that extends far beyond Adobe Photoshop.
These are some of the most important tools today's UI/UX designers must learn:
Adobe XD is a tool that every user experience designer should learn. It is a vector-based software ideal for interface design and prototyping.
Sketch is a vector graphics design editor used for user interface and user experience design of websites and mobile apps.
This software allows you to build wireframes, outlines, and mockups of your website through a very intuitive interface.
Primarily web-based, Figma is another excellent vector graphics editor and prototyping tool.
Red Pen is becoming popular among design teams as it allows their members to share feedback quickly and effortlessly.
UI/UX Designer Job Outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not track the job outlook for UI/UX designers. That said, they predict that the number of jobs in web development, including web design, will increase by 8 percent over the next decade. This is “much faster than average,” according to the Bureau.
How Much Do UI/UX Designers Earn?
UI/UX designers earn high salaries. The average salary for a UI/UX designer, according to ZipRecruiter, is more than $91,000 per year. Jobs that require more experience offer salaries of up to $149,500.
There’s no way to determine exactly what salary you can expect because many factors are at play. One of the main factors that influences salary is location. The average UI/UX designer in San Francisco can earn an average of over $100,000 per year, whereas the average designer in Atlanta, Georgia, can expect around $90,000, which is the national average.
The amount you earn will also depend on the type of designer you want to be. For example, UX designers can expect to earn an average of almost $98,000. In contrast, UI designers earn an average salary of $90,000. Your salary will also depend on your experience; the more experience you have, the higher your salary will be.
Some UI/UX designers choose to work as freelancers rather than working in an office. A freelancing gig can pay hundreds of dollars per hour if you have a lot of experience. However, if your experience is not extensive yet, you will only be able to charge around $50 per hour of work.
How to Find a UI/UX Design Job: Step-by-Step
If you’ve done all the above, you should be ready to start your job search. Here are some important steps to keep in mind:
Prepare a resume
Your resume is your chance to make a good first impression. It’s important to create a resume that highlights your experience and skills.
Craft your portfolio
Your portfolio is what matters most to the majority of hiring managers. It will determine whether or not you break into the design industry. Unlike many coding positions, you can demonstrate your skills as a designer with a portfolio. When building your portfolio, focus on projects that show the most skill and cut out the ones that don’t. When it comes to portfolios, four amazing projects far outrank eight average ones.
Prepare for a technical interview
A technical interview gives potential employers the chance to assess your knowledge of the field. While your projects might look good, they want to see how you handle the design and user testing process, and how you will fit into the company’s team.
If you’ve attended a bootcamp for UI/UX design, these steps will be a breeze. Most bootcamps have robust career services with mentorship, interview prep, portfolio guidance, and resume reviews.
Kenzie Academy offers a variety of courses. Its part-time courses include a six-month design program, an on-campus course in Indianapolis, and a 12-month online design program. In all of these options, students learn a wide range of web design fundamentals and coding languages.
Thinkful has an incredible range of coding bootcamps and other useful courses for those interested in web design. Topics include digital marketing, data science, data analytics, web development, and full stack development. The two web design courses above are between 20 and 24 weeks long and are well worth the time and money investment.
Springboard offers students a four-week introductory course on web design. This is a great alternative if you’re unsure about investing in a full bootcamp. If you decide that web design is for you, they have a 36-week UX/UI design bootcamp and a 26-week course for those interested only in UX design.
With more than 100 videos on their website, Webflow University students will learn the basics of HTML, Webflow CMS, and CSS. Page design construction—with elements like containers, DIVs, flexboxes, and grids—is also part of the curriculum.
SkillShare offers an array of courses for different skill levels. This platform is a great tool for complete beginners who want to get to grips with design and for those who want to add skills to their CV. SkillShare even has some free basic web design courses.
UC San Diego has courses on advertising campaign development, digital illustration and photography, and Adobe software. You can also study web design, HTML and CSS coding, UI design, and content management systems.
Gnomon is for web design students that are more artistically inclined. The school is focused on art and game design. In this program, students will learn Photoshop for digital production, digital painting, color theory and light, life drawing, character sculpture, character drawing, and much more.
This online course with Brigham Young University in Idaho combines web design and web development. This is an excellent option for students who want to create aesthetically pleasing and responsive websites while improving their coding skills. This course will help you in the real world when applying for jobs.
UX/UI Design Overview
Bootcamp certificate, Bachelor's degree, or self-learning.
Essential Technical Skills
Wireframing and prototyping, user research, branding, implementation with developers, interactivity and animation
Essential Soft Skills
Problem solving, empathy, adaptability
Online Web Design Resources
UI design and UX design are exciting and constantly changing fields. There are always new ideas and standards, so keeping up-to-date with the latest design trends and requirements is essential. You can keep abreast of the latest developments with UX/UI blogs, courses, and books.
Here are some of the best UX design blogs available in 2021:
Anyone can learn how to design. However, certain qualities can mean the difference between success and failure, and between enjoying and dreading your job. Here are a few qualities happy UX/UI designers see in themselves:
A love or knack for visual design
An interest in how other people think
Humbleness and a willingness to learn and grow
The ability to present or sell
A passion for technology
If you possess these traits, then you should most definitely consider a career as a UX/UI designer. As always, Career Karma is here to help. We would be delighted to aid you in your journey to become a successful tech professional.
Check available UX/UI Design courses
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Full-time, Part-time, Self-paced
Deferred tuition, Financing
Full-time, Part-time, Self-paced
Income Sharing, Financing
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Options for both in person and online bootcamps
Immersive and structured program
Mentors, instructors, and peers at your fingertips
Quick-start to a new career
Learn to collaborate with others
Build a strong professional network in technology
Requires motivation and hard work
Fast-paced learning style
Staying up to date with evolving web technologies
Apply to Designer Bootcamps
Whether you’ve decided you’re ready to apply for a designer bootcamp or you still aren’t sure which coding program you want to attend, Career Karma can help. Our mentors are here to not only help you find the perfect coding bootcamp for you, but we will also help you every step of the way from the application process to supporting you with any questions or hiccups you run into while interviewing with multiple bootcamps.
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