Great advice I received regarding this question is that you will never feel ready for your first job because you probably aren’t. Most companies, at least the good ones, hire juniors knowing well that they will lose them money for months before they are competent enough to bring profit, they are investing in you and committing to your improvement!
When I started in UX design, I often wondered how seemingly even decent designers knew the reasoning and techniques behind good design. The short answer I discovered — experience. The long answer? Learning and honing in on the many psychological principles that have proven to be effective in design over time.
It is a common opinion that Front-end Development has the lowest barrier to entry and beginners are often encouraged to learn it to be able to land a job as fast as possible, although this is sound advice I kinda dislike HTML and especially CSS, knowing I wouldn’t be passionate in it I put my effort in studying backend and I was able to land a job for it despite being more challenging on paper. My take away is that following your passion is more important than choosing the easy route.
There are plenty of different options for aspiring programmers and that makes it difficult to choose, are you interest in Web Development? You always aspired to program games? Or would you like to explore rising trends like Cloud Development or Artificial Intelligence?
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Leverage your previous experience, whether you are changing career or you worked in the service sector put it in your resume and mention it during your interviews, even if not technical previous occupations prove other important skills like being able to handle clients or interact with colleagues.
Remember, that a freshly publicated website is just the beginning — the work never ends here. Make sure that the landing page reflects the spirit of your product, it’s distinctive enough, it catches attention from the start and it’s friendly for your visitors. Use tools to observe user’s behavior and constantly tailor your website so it meets the user’s needs!
So don’t wait until you feel you reached perfection, but rather ask a friend who is in the field or even people you don’t know on social media but are willing to help if your portfolio and knowledge are at the level necessary to pass a technical interview.
But before actually setting your mind on a specific goal I encourage you to try as much as possible, I was sure Artificial Intelligence would be my passion when I realized that training models is actually quite boring and sometimes frustrating and that I would much rather work with the data infrastructure or write algorithms.
Enter designers William Lidwell, Kritina Holden, and Jill Butler with their excellent reference book Universal Principles of Design exploring and researching exactly this. An invaluable cross-disciplinary resource I’d been recommended before, and now can myself recommend to any designer as a solid addition to your bookshelf.
Speaking of Github, if you already didn’t you should definitely open an account and use it to showcase your favorite creations using a well-formatted Readme file, mine are my custom programming language, and this AI model to predict life expectancy.
Let’s be honest, with this job market is going to be weeks or months before you receive an answer anyway, you might as well start searching and applying early, but not so much that you risk burning bridges by being completely unprepared when an opportunity eventually arrives.
I think most people have an intuitive understanding of what design means, and signal to noise ratio is at its core. It’s what we’ve all heard at one point or another before from people like Don Norman or Jared Spool:
Do you need a group of UX experts to work on that? Not really. What everyone can do is to install a simple tool called Hotjar and take a look at how users interact with the website. One skilled designer with some usability knowledge and experience can analyze the numbers and recordings, and track down the problematic patterns. These incentives are always incredibly helpful and can lead to solid conclusions, resulting in boosting up your sales and overall visitor’s satisfaction.
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