How to Become a UX Designer in Less Than a Year?

Laura Angelica updated on 2020-09-25 16:26:16
become a UX designer

Becoming a UX designer is not a task that can be completed in a day. It takes time, hard work, and determination. Especially for people without any design experience or related design degrees, this can be very difficult. However, this does not mean that it is impossible. Following these simple steps below can help you achieve your goals and make it easier for you to become a great UX designer.

Few reasons why UX design

1. As we all know, UX design is at the intersection of several areas. This allows UX designers to take a scientific and creative approach. We can participate in the creative process when we work with designers and editors.

2. UX designer can't do their job effectively without knowing how other team members are doing theirs. This daily interaction with others makes the job of a UX designer really enjoyable.

3. Another reason is innovation: traditional corporations have to develop new business models, start-ups and small companies bring their own products to the start. At the moment there is a gold rush atmosphere, you can try out many new things.

4. Career development and prospects: I don't see any alternatives to the job description in the next ten years, it will be more diverse and broader, and more and more people are being sought. We can say that a UX designer will be needed in the long term.

5. Interesting every day: There is always a lot to learn in UX. It is a growing trend that changes as technology advances. We can use and adapt different research methods throughout the project based on a timeline, budget, and even the impact of the pandemic.

Master your Skills

Observation - an experienced designer immediately sees what needs to be improved in the product. Observe the people around you, study the products you interact with, study everything that surrounds you. Over time, you will learn to notice the nuances worth improving, as well as the problems and needs of the users.

Empathy is a very important skill. You should understand how your users feel, what their motivation is, their fears, what fuels their desire. A designer solves problems to make people's lives better, so it's important to understand what's on their minds.

Design Thinking is a methodology pioneered by IDEO. The methodology has already become a cult - this is already the standard of work for a designer. Design thinking is a human-centered creative process: at the start, you collect information about the problem, generate ideas and select the best ones, then prototype and test in battle. Design thinking is not a silver bullet, but the results are amazing.

Presentation skills - no matter how you insert your design, first of all, it should go to the team and clients. Therefore, it is important to develop presentation skills in order to convince and present the value of the design solution.

Related reading: Psychology in UX Discipline

Design school

A very important point in learning is to receive a stream of practical advice and applied techniques. There are two methods for gaining mass in this matter. First, you can enroll in a special course or take in-depth training from any design school. Second, study design books. Also, explore blog articles and tips from top frontline authors. For pumping to the fullest, I recommend mixing both methods. And keep my selection of sources:

Online courses:

  • Udemy
  • Interaction Design Foundation
  • General Assembly
  • Design Lab
  • Lynda
  • Coursera

I will not describe here the million books and articles that you need to read to become a UX designer, because the Internet is full of information on this topic, you just have to search.


  • Don't Make Me Think - Steve Krug
  • The Design of Everyday Things - Donald Norman
  • Emotional Design - Aaron Walter
  • 100 Essential Design Principles - Susan Waynshank
  • Luke Wroblewski - Mobile First!
  • Alan Cooper: Interface (4th Edition), The Mental Hospital in Patient Hands
  • Dmitry Satin "Consumer Psychology" (Start with it)
  • Jess Garrett "Web Design. Elements of interaction experience "
  • Web Design: A Book by Jacob Nielsen
  • Mobile Usability. How to create perfect mobile apps
  • Donald Norman "Design of the usual things"
  • Ilya Birman "User Interface"

Portfolio/Social Media Presence.

In this technological world, social media (including the famous Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Medium, etc.) benefit UX designers a lot. For newbies in UX design, it is necessary for you to create at least one account for all the above social media to share your own design and browse the creative UX design works of other designers. Sometimes these social media can even bring you great design work. "" As one of the largest social networking sites in the United States, LinkedIn can not only help you search for jobs to be recruited, but also connect with other UX designers registered here.

Practice and improve user experience design skills

After mastering the basic design knowledge and tools, the next step is to find some practical jobs to practice and improve UX design skills. You need real work experience, real clients, real projects under your belt. Here are some ideas for you to practice and improve your design skills:

  • Find some volunteer projects
  • Find a part-time job/internship
  • Redesign well-known projects to show your design talents
  • Daily design challenge-try to complete a design theme every day

In short, seize every possible opportunity to practice your design skills.

Learning HTML and CSS.

Theoretically speaking, there is a specialization in the technical industry, and the modern team only has a clear division of labor to be productive. But why are designers required to also understand "programming"?

A simple summary is that the implementation logic of the code is an important factor that restricts UI design. The more you master, the deeper your understanding of design usability. Just as the architectural design must understand engineering mechanics, product design must understand material science and production technology. If you want to know the differences between product designer and UX designer, you can learn about product designer vs UX designer.

So for UX designers, it is not too much to have certain "programming" skills. But with such a wide range of programming, we don't need to be proficient in all languages, we only need to master the basics of the front end of the web page, namely HTML and CSS.

An example is an adaptive layout. With proper consideration of the initial design, it is possible to create a layout suitable for the user's browser (i.e. screen size, mouse or touch screen, auditory/braille device, etc.); such things cannot be expressed in the model, and designers who know HTML/CSS usually do not create Static layout, and cannot fully utilize the functions provided by HTML/CSS.

Adapt existing skills to new conditions

You already have the skills that you leveled up in your last position, improve them to become a UX designer. Everything we have learned in the past will be useful for future careers in a new profession. For example, software developers are well aware of how a software product works. Graphic designers create beautiful things right off the bat. Business analysts and quality control specialists are good at understanding the details and quickly spot potential problems. Each of these skills can be a pillar in the start of a profession, a secret ingredient, a key to success in UX.

Join the community

One of the most important things for a new designer nowadays is knowing how to market yourself. I advise you to immerse yourself completely in design, watch other people's work and share your work. There are a million resources, here are the ones I use:

  • Dribbble is the most popular design community. You can love him, you can hate him, but you cannot ignore him. Most of the shots (posts with images) are cool quality combat products, but there are also just beautiful concept shots;
  • Uplabs is a fresh and fast-growing community. There you can take part in several UI design tasks, which is a good reason to practice;
  • Behance - here you will find a huge assortment of product examples: websites, mobile apps, smartwatch apps;
  • Pttrns - a selection of real shots of well-designed apps;

This practice of viewing other people's works and building your portfolio will help you get into the design rut, see what others are doing (also in good projects there are job descriptions and descriptions of decision making), you will be aware of fashion trends, you will be inspired.

Publish your portfolio

How to join the community, show your work? Take not the volume, but the presentation of certain strengths in each job, so it will be easier for potential clients and employers to navigate. Remember, a UX designer doesn't just create visual layouts. Your portfolio should include the entire design process, collect all the pieces you participated in, and present. Also, start a blog and share your approach to work.


UX designer is a dynamic, driving profession at the intersection of creativity, technology, and the benefits for people. Regardless of your current skill level, as long as you are willing to invest time, energy, and dedication, you can teach yourself UX design skills. Keep learning and improving your skills, and remember that nothing will happen overnight. Work hard and never give up!

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