Three discouraging things you might hear when starting in UX (and why to ignore them)
On a sunny day UX designers are a bunch of lovely and creative unicorns who care about the users and the company they work for. They are helpful, empathetic and friendly people who want to gain and share knowledge with everyone.
However if that was always the case, that would be too good to be truth, right? Hence not surprisingly, on a rainy day the unicorns often turn into goblins! It’s a fact. When that happens they become hyper critical, think they know best in any situation and they are convinced that they are surrounded by imbeciles!
When that happens, you don’t want to be around. As they can tell you things that are not very nice. I call it a “goblin talk”.
When I started my journey with UX, I got some of that “goblin talk” from senior UX designers on several occasions. And I’m not kidding you, that made even question my career choices at the time.
For that reason, today I want to play back some of those comments and provide a bit of my own perspective on what was said to me and as I discovered many years later, was not true. I hope this helps some of you separate the reality from “goblin talk” and stop doubting yourself. Let’s begin. Here are my top discouraging things I was told in the beginning of my UX career.
- “You are not a UX Designer if you come from UI background” NOT TRUE. Look, I’m not going to lie to you. If you come from a pure UI background, learning and adding UX methodologies is going to require some re-wiring of your brain. But, knowing both UX and UI is beneficial on many levels. For example, in my experience you are a more desirable candidate when it comes to hiring. Think about it – if they hire you, they get 2 for a price of one UX and UI. Great deal. Who doesn’t like that?
- “When you start in UX you have to work for free for a very long time.” NOT TRUE. When it comes to paid jobs the market looks pretty good. As I’m writing this post, average Junior UX salary for 2019 is around £27k (an increase of £5K for the same period in 2018 according to IT JobsWatch. Note this could be higher in London). Obviously the hardest bit is to get that first gig. So you may have to accept a lower rate at first. But after 6-12 months you can leave and ask for more money if you are unhappy.
- “You will never get a good job if you don’t have big clients in your portfolio.” Again, Goblin talk! The UX portfolio is mainly a visual communication of your process and personality. So if you have a clear and interesting case study of your personal project, nobody will question it. Some of the best interviews I had were around my personal projects, rather than those I have delivered for big clients. Why? When we talk about personal projects we speak with a lot of passion and make it an interesting story to tell. We make ourselves more memorable, hence we increase our chances to get that dream job. Conversely, if we fail to engage with the other person, even big brands will not save the situation.
I hope this little read helps some of you deal with “goblin talk”. Or if you hadn’t experience it yet – you know what you could expect and why to just ignore it. But let’s realise one thing. We all have “goblin moments” in our life. It’s just a part of being human. So let’s be understanding and kind to each other. Always.