I recently saw a post on Linkedin from a recent bootcamp graduate about 4 things they have learned in their attempt to get a job and 4 habits they are going to begin to help achieve better results. I wrote a response to the individual, but because I couldn’t send it on LinkedIn without either adding them as a connection OR upgrading and paying money… I’m going to post it here.
I saw your post and I wanted to write you and let you know you are heading on the right track. I’ve either worked with or been directly responsible for hiring 3 people from GA, so I know the experience well enough to shed some of my insight into your points.
Solely graduating from a bootcamp doesn't necessarily impress employers.
No, finishing a boot camp course is not impressive in itself. All it tells me is you know the language and have an interest in UX or UI design. UX design is about problem solving, not the ability to create wireframes. It is about how to structure research inquiries, not if you know what an affinity map is. It is about your ability to gather requirements, not “redesign yahoo’s homepage.” My girlfriend has no idea what a radio button is or when to switch from a radio button to a single select dropdown, yet she has a better understanding of how to solve problems than 75% of the GA portfolios I have reviewed. Hiring from GA is about finding the person who was already ready to be a UX designer before they took the course and used the course to get the knowledge/portfolio to be considered.
Being able to explain your design process is more important than visual design skills.
Are you applying to be a visual designer or UX designer. They are two separate things. If someone is interviewing you for an in-between position. They are likely looking for a UX designer with some UI skills. Always lead with your best skills and sell yourself based off your skillset, not what you think the company is looking for.
Portfolio should have projects that demonstrate actual results driven for a company not just good design.
‘Good design’ is not a real thing. Something can be well designed, but if it solves no problems… who cares? Something can be ‘mediocre design’, solve a single problem, and make hundreds of millions of dollars (cough JIRA cough). The issues at hand is does your design address a legit problem and solve it. It doesn’t have to be ground-breaking, but it has to be more than “They asked for 100 pieces of information during onboarding and we cut it down to 5”
Maintaining a high level of confidence and perseverance while going through setbacks and failures is a must.
This field is tough and it is filled with rejections. I still have never heard back from all the times I have applied to google. I was rejected by FB, by amazon, by IBM, by Stash, by frog, by Digitas, by lots of organizations. It only takes one person believing in you to get your foot in the door. You will find them. (remember you are not a shoe-in just because they are small, their design sucks, or you already have experience/knowledge in that vertical).
Build credibility within the industry by taking massive action and demonstrating my passion for what I aspire to do.
Yes, passion is important. But it is only part of the equation. Indulge your life and bring those experiences to the table. If you like fitness, use fitness apps and find out how the experiences differ and how they capture the specific user needs. Or try it for cooking. Maybe you love knitting, how do knitting apps’ UX differ from e-commerce?
Read case studies and books about UX/UI design daily.
Yes, I love to hear you will be reading. Start with Design of everyday things and don’t make me think. Remember that these case studies are not x=problem, y=solution. It is x=problem, y=solution, because of z. There are many ways to solve true UX problems and your job is to understand why it works, not how to replicate the solution.
Talk to more senior level designers about how they managed to drive results and replicate that success in my own way.
Take everything with a grain of salt, we are biased to our own habits. You can trust me because I am unbiased in this opinion, 100% right, and really awesome.
Never stop believing that you can accomplish any goal you desire
Be inspired and never stop trying.