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I'm “still” a UX/UI Junior Designer

What you can do to begin your journey

I'm “still” a UX/UI Junior Designer

Introduction

We have been following a huge amount of new UX/UI Designers entering the market. And this is excellent news - Companies need trained people who are willing, determined and passionate about what they do. But days after your boot camp is completed, the question remains: What do I do now? Where do I start? Well, prepare yourself because there is a lot to do. We'll see that in today's article.

 

 

Beginning a journey

Surely you have read articles that list the best courses, tools, books, blogs, channels on YouTube and professional references to develop. Since our role is to guide your career planning journey, we are here to help you eradicate all the eliminatory factors for your first big opportunity in the field. Listed below are some very important points for you to start your journey:

 

Create a portfolio

Even if you only have the boot camp projects, detail them well and tell your stories as fully as possible, clearly specifying your participation in the project and your main learning. If you have other projects that are not UX/UI Design, put them in the background or don't present them at this time. 

 

Direct your Résumé to UX/UI Design

As much as you've had previous experiences that you can add, your goal now is not to look back. Direct your résumé to what you're looking for, highlighting skills and competencies that can set you apart from other candidates.

 

Prepare for interviews

At this time, many candidates do not perform well. Either they are too nervous, or they know little about the company in question, or they miss some details. Be emotionally prepared to be questioned not only about technique, but about behavior as well.

 

Prepare to be tested

It's common for companies to ask candidates for a test to find out how you would cope with certain situations. Embrace these challenges, do your best and make your own mark.

 

Embrace the "impostor syndrome"

Understand that you are a new professional, and that your delivery may not be satisfactory at first. But you just need to evolve quickly, learning from your mistakes so you don't give the impression that the company made the wrong decision when hiring you. Prove your value constantly.

 

Look for a mentor

It is very important that you have a more experienced professional accompanying you on your journey. Even if unofficially, seek that person, get advice, and don’t be afraid to ask. This will make you learn faster by not making mistakes that others have already made.

 

Expand your network

As in any other sector, having contacts is a great facilitator. Join WhatsApp groups, interact with industry social media, go to events. Meeting people is an extremely important practice for your career as referral is still one of the strongest and most determining factors for your hiring.

 

 

Surprise at the unexpected

In the article How to apply to a UX/UI Designer opening we have mentioned that companies expect Juniors to deliver UX/UI Design end-to-end, once they have learned all the methodologies, practices and processes. What is not expected, that is, the point where you can surprise, is more connected to your behavior – the way you will adapt and relate to the team and the leadership. Taking into account the expectations of the contractor, make this point very clear in your mind as a daily goal so that the quality of your work is noticed little by little, and gradually increased.

What differentiates the maturity of a professional is not the Hard Skills, but the Soft Skills. With that, be aware that besides having the opportunity to develop your Hard Skills, you also have the opportunity to develop your Soft Skills. Pay attention to how the most experienced professionals behave, how they act, the way they talk, how they organize themselves, how they manage to add to the team, and how they prove the need for your presence. Interpersonal relationships are the golden factor that makes you extend your stay in a project.

Listed below are some points that go beyond "knowing how to do", which can help a lot in this process:  

  • Be nice to people, being yourself;
  • Respect leadership, listen to criticism and be prepared for a "no";
  • Accept to be driven, not (yet) drive;
  • Strive to make a difference in the team;
  • Be organized, so that your work does not get in the way of others.                   

 

 

A Junior UX/UI Designer can make a difference

Many newcomers are looking for the ideal place to start their careers. Such goal is very good, but even with the market heating up, companies tend, for several reasons, to look for more experienced professionals, giving fewer opportunities to new graduates. So, what to do while the opportunities do not arrive? Well, besides the points mentioned above, you can perfectly roll up your sleeves and "dig" a project. For a newly graduated professional:

Taking the initiative is a factor of the highest impact    

 

Enjoy the growth of digital products

We know that Brazilians are a people "to be studied". Nobody takes from the Brazilian entrepreneur the courage, determination and resilience to open a business in such a challenging scenario. Foreigners say that "if you can develop a business in Brazil, you can do it anywhere in the world". Even so, our beautiful people get up early and go into battle. But the reality is tough: 6 out of 10 companies that open, close their business in less than 5 years. Some of these companies were/had digital products, where something happened for them to close. What if what they missed was a the strategic vision, a transforming agent, someone who knew the user in depth and helped to avoid mistakes, creating products focused on them? It's a fact that these companies needed a UX/UI Designer. We see Brazilians being creative every day - opening online stores, inventing services with online booking, serving through WhatsApp to get closer to their customers. I bet they would love to hear from you  about how you can guide your products to users, after all you have a lot more knowledge on this subject.

Sarah Doody says every UX/UI Designer must be a problem spotter. That is, we need to have your eyes open to the companies around you, identify their problems, and do something to help. What if, while waiting for job opportunities, you would go to these companies and offer your services? It's one thing to join a team of mature people, who already work on a product in a company with good Design maturity. Another thing is to get to a business where the team will be you; the product will only be created with your help, in a company with no maturity in Design. Challenging, right? Of course. But understand that a project from this scenario is worth much more than a bootcamp case. Having a story like this to tell certainly multiplies your attractiveness to the market.

 

 

Hands on

Identify a company that you think is cool and needs a UX/UI Designer, make them a proposal that they can pay for, develop a project, implement it, and collect the results. Any positive impact generated by your work is worth a lot not only for the company, but for your career. This is the premise of UX/UI Designer: To be a transformation agent, oriented to results with the potential of Design. The difference is that at this moment, everything has come from you.

 

 

Conclusion 

If you're looking for opportunities while waiting for the doors to open, don't stand still. Get your homework done and find companies you can add to with your skills and knowledge, even with a simple job. This will keep you active, increase your experience and have real cases to tell your stories.

 

About Mao Barros

Over 15 years in the Design field, working on visual projects such as graphic, illustration and Brands. For the last 10 years I've been working in digital projects as UI Designer, understanding UX and buildings processes using no-code tools to have a good deliverable to them.

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